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How to Share Your PC’s Printer in Windows Vista

Windows allows you to share a printer that is connected to your computer with other computers on your network or within your workgroup. To share a printer attached to your Window Vista PC with other computers on the network, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose the Printer link beneath Hardware and Sound.

  3. Right-click the printer icon.

  4. Choose Sharing from the pop-up menu.

  5. Click the button Change Sharing Options, and then type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

    Because you’re sharing one of the computer’s hardware resources and it affects all users on the computer, you need administrator access to share the printer.

  6. Choose the option Share This Printer.

  7. (Optional) Type a share name.

    Be descriptive. The name Larry’s Color Laser is a good description, as is Mom’s Inkjet in the Den.

  8. Click OK to share the printer.

Shared printers sport a tag on their icon in the Printers window. The icon looks like a man and a woman.

  • Some types of printers, such as PDF printers or Fax printers, cannot be shared on the network. Windows bluntly tells you so when you make the attempt.

  • A shared printer is available only when the computer it's attached to is turned on.

  • You cannot print on a shared printer when the computer it’s attached to is in Sleep mode or Stand By mode. Likewise, because Hibernation turns a computer off, you cannot use the printer attached to a hibernating PC.

  • You can print to any printer directly attached to the network, though that printer must be turned on as well.

  • The computers you share your printer with can be running any version of Windows, not just Vista.

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