XP Networking Tutorials

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 demonstrate both methods with examples.

We have two ways of printer sharing in windows XP network.

  • Automatic sharing via network setup wizard
  • Manual sharing via device and printer manager

How to share printer in workgroup

For this article we assume that you have a functional workgroup network. If you haven’t setup a workgroup or looking for a way to setup the new workgroup we suggests you to go through the previous articles of this category. This category is organized in start to finish way. In starting tutorials we explained how to setup a new workgroup. In middle articles we present a way to add new computers in workgroup. In this article we will describe the method of printer sharing in workgroup.

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

Network set up welcome window

We have explained Network setup wizard in previous article.


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 mange. 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.

How to share printer 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 connected physically 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. Follow these steps on the computer that has 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 you choose a share name more than 8 characters, it may 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 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 exist 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 will alert us 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 turst. In our case we know that this printer belongs to our workgroup netwrok. Click Yes to confirm the action.

network printer driver alert

Click Finish to close the wizard.

network printer wizard finish

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

xp network printer

In this article we shared a printer in Windows XP workgroup network. In Next article we will share Internet on windows XP workgroup network.