Windows XP Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to a share printer in Windows XP workgroup network step by step with examples including how to install a local and network printer.

Windows XP has an inbuilt setup wizard for printer sharing. Either we can use this setup wizard for easy and hassle free sharing or we can use manual method for more customized sharing. In this tutorial we will learn both methods with examples.

For this tutorial I assume that workgroup is properly setup in network. To learn how to setup a workgroup in network, see the following tutorial.

How to setup and join workgroup in Windows XP

Sharing printer via Network Setup Wizard

Sharing via network setup wizard is the easiest way of printer sharing. All we need to do is install a local printer and turn it on when the Network setup wizard is run. Rest will be done automatically by this wizard. First window of network setup wizard also indicates the same thing.

Network set up welcome window

No additional settings are required on other computers of workgroup. If workgroup is properly setup, they will get access on shared printer automatically.

All local and shared printers can be managed from Printers and Faxes manager. From here we can add new printer, remove existing printer, change printer status, share printer and list all network printers.

To access the Printers and Faxes click Start button and click Printers and Faxes

printer and faxes

Printers and Faxes manager will list all detected printers including local and shared. For example following figure illustrates a shared printer.

xp default share printer

Sharing printer via network setup wizard is an automatic process. It is easy to setup and manage. Along with automatic process of printer sharing, Windows XP also supports manual process of printer sharing. Manual process requires a little bit technical knowledge. Next section of this tutorial presents a step by step guide for manual printer sharing.

Manual printer sharing in Windows XP

We have two types of printers:-

Local printer: - Printer that is physically connected with this system.

Network printer: - Printer that is not physically connected with this system.

Sharing has a simple rule; we can share what we have. We cannot share what others have. Accordingly we can share only local printer.

Perform following steps on the computer that have local printer installed.

Click Start button and click Devices and Printers

printer and faxes

Select the printer which you want to share and do right click. From right click context menu click Sharing

printer sharing

Select the Share this printer checkbox and type a share name. This name will be used to access this printer from network. Click OK to apply the change.

xp share this printer

If we choose a share name more than 8 characters, it will show following alert message. As we don’t have any system lower than Windows XP in our network, we can use this name. Click Yes.

long sharing name alert xp

Once printer is shared, an indicating icon will appear.

xp shared printer

If workgroup is properly setup, this printer will be automatically installed in member computers. If it does not install automatically, use following steps on other computers of network.

Open Printer and Faxes and click Add a printer. It will launch an Add a printer wizard. Click Next.

xp add printer

We are installing a printer that is not attached with this system physically. So it will be a network printer for this system. Select A network printer, or a printer attached to another computer and click Next.

select network printer

We have three options to locate the network printer.

Browse for a printer: -

Windows allows us to browse the entire workgroup network for printer.

Connect to this printer: -

If we know the exact location of printer, we can specify it in this option.

Connect to a printer on the internet or on a home or office network: -

A little more advance option that allows us to connect with internet printer.

Select first option and click Next button.

xp network printer browse option

Browse through the network and select the shared printer and click Next

network printer browse network

Windows alerts for network printer. If we click Yes, it will install this printer driver in our system. It is a security feature from windows XP.

We should not install anything that we don't trust. In this case we know that this printer belongs to our workgroup network. Click Yes to confirm the action.

network printer driver alert

Click Finish to close the wizard.

network printer wizard finish

Once we successfully installed a network print, we can access it from any program through the print dialog box. It works exactly same as printer that is directly connected to our system.

xp network printer

That’s all for this tutorial. In next tutorial we will learn how to share Internet in Windows XP workgroup network.