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Share a Printer on Your Network from Vista or XP to Windows 7

The other day we looked at sharing a printer between Windows 7 machines, but you may only have one Windows 7 machine and the printer is connected to a Vista or XP computer. Today we show you how to share a printer from either Vista or XP to Windows 7.

We previously showed you how to share files and printers between Windows 7 and XP. But what if you have a printer connected to an XP or Vista machine in another room, and you want to print to it from Windows 7? This guide will walk you through the process.

Note: In these examples we’re using 32-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista, and XP on a basic home network. We are using an HP PSC 1500 printer, but keep in mind every printer is different so finding and installing the correct drivers will vary.

Share a Printer from Vista

To share the printer on a Vista machine click on Start and enter printers into the search box and hit Enter.

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Right-click on the printer you want to share and select Sharing from the context menu.

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Now in Printer Properties, select the Sharing tab, mark the box next to Share this printer, and give the printer a name. Make sure the name is something simple with no spaces then click Ok.

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Share a Printer from XP

To share a printer from XP click on Start then select Printers and Faxes.

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In the Printers and Faxes window right-click on the printer to share and select Sharing.

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In the Printer Properties window select the Sharing tab and the radio button next to Share this printer and give it a short name with no spaces then click Ok.

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Add Printer to Windows 7

Now that we have the printer on Vista or XP set up to be shared, it’s time to add it to Windows 7. Open the Start Menu and click on Devices and Printers.

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In Devices and Printers click on Add a printer.

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Next click on Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer.

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Windows 7 will search for the printer on your network and once its been found click Next.

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The printer has been successfully added…click Next.

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Now you can set it as the default printer and send a test page to verify everything works. If everything is successful, close out of the add printer screens and you should be good to go.

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Alternate Method

If the method above doesn’t work, you’ll can try the following for either XP or Vista. In our example, when trying to add the printer connected to our XP machine, it wasn’t recognized automatically.

If you’re search pulls up nothing then click on The printer that I want isn’t listed.

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In the Add Printer window under Find a printer by name or TCP/IP address click the radio button next to Select a shared printer by name. You can either type in the path to the printer or click on Browse to find it.

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In this instance we decided to browse to it and notice we have 5 computers found on the network. We want to be able to print to the XPMCE computer so we double-click on that.

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Type in the username and password for that computer…

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Now we see the printer and can select it.

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The path to the printer is put into the Select a shared printer by name field.

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Wait while Windows connects to the printer and installs it…

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It’s successfully added…click Next.

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Now you can set it as the default printer or not and print a test page to make sure everything works successfully.

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Now when we go back to Devices and Printers under Printers and Faxes, we see the HP printer on XPMCE.

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Conclusion

Sharing a printer from one machine to another can sometimes be tricky, but the method we used here in our setup worked well. Since the printer we used is fairly new, there wasn’t a problem with locating any drivers for it. Windows 7 includes a lot of device drivers already so you may be surprised on what it’s able to install. Your results may vary depending on your type of printer, Windows version, and network setup. This should get you started configuring the machines on your network—hopefully with good results. 

If you you have two Windows 7 computers, then sharing a printer or files is easy through the Homegroup feature. You can also share a printer between Windows 7 machines on the same network but not Homegroup.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/4/10

Comments (33)

  1. Jake

    Hi Geek! Everything goes fine until the last step – Instead of getting “You’ve successfully added HP PSC 1500 series on XPMCE ” I get “No driver found Windows can’t find a driver for hp LaserJet 1320 PCL6 on the network. To locate one manually, click OK. Otherwise, click Cancel and consult your network administrator or the printer manufacturer’s website.”

    I tried downloading a Win7 driver to manually select but the only one I could find was for the PCL5 and it had 10 inf files on it – none of which seemed to work.

    Other XP computers connect just fine to this printer. I’m having problems with Win7 only.

  2. Compmam

    I also have long going problem with my Lexmark printer, which is located on an xp machine. I think I will upgrade that computer to win7.

  3. HJ

    I also have a problemwith my Dell A10 924 connected to xp. Win 7, on laptop, successfully found it & then downloaded & installed a windows update, I assume a driver. When I click next, at that stage, I get the message “Windows cannot connect. Operation failed, error 0x0000000d.
    Any help appreciated

  4. JL

    I too get this message,”No driver found Windows can’t find a driver for Canon PIXMA iP4000 on the network. To locate one manually, click OK. Otherwise, click Cancel and consult your network administrator or the printer manufacturer’s website.”
    I was on the phone for over an hour with the Canon rep. and we were not able to fix the problem as it ultimately is with Windows 7.
    My main computer has WindowsXP, my new laptop has Windows7, I want to network between them to use the Canon PIXMA iP4000 as I could with the old laptop (had WindowsXP). Any solutions????

  5. Toad791

    Thank you you rock

  6. Joe Fuller

    I have tried all your steps above and can’t connect to my printer. It always comes up with: Windows cannot connect to the printer.
    Details
    Operation failed with error 0x0000000d.

  7. Shane

    I have tried all your steps. The Windows 7 machine shows the printer (HPC5380) as default, but wont print. I couldn’t find where to tell Win 7 the workgroup.

  8. Doug

    I have gone through all of the steps but my win7 laptop keeps saying “Cannot connect to Printer”.

  9. Anne

    I have exactly the same problem. I can see the printer but it needs a driver on the network as there is a missing “inf” file. Downloaded the Canon Windows 7driver to my XP machine but it still won;t work wirelessly, although it connects fine with the usb!

  10. Nick

    I am having problems connecting to my printer (whish is on an XP machine) from my new Windows 7 machine. I have set up both so that I can file share and can each machine from the other. I have followed the steps above to connect to the networked printer but I get the following message “Windows cannot conect to the printer. Access is denied”. I assume this is an access rights/properties issue somewhere – But where? Any help greatly appreciated.

  11. Dick

    I also tried the following. Installing the printer by connecting it directly. W7 found basicdrivers through his update program, and the printer works. then i put it back on the sharing XP machine, and tried to install the shared version, asuming now W7 had the right drivers already loaded as Wxp does. But no, again i got the message no drivers found. Frustrating, but what does one expect. It is a Microsoft product. Hoping to find or hear a solution

  12. Roger

    It looks like I’m one of many having the same issue. I have an HP 2015 and an HP 7600 attached to my home XP computer and can’t print to it from my Windows 7 laptop. I can see the printer on the network but get the “Driver not found” message even though there’s a driver on HP’s website. Have tried manually installing driver to no avail and also copied all the .inf files to no avail. Would be very happy to hear if anyone has a solution to this

  13. NickR

    Nicely written how-to, but it did not help me because my Windows 7 laptop is a 64 bit machine and Canon does not seem to have a suitable driver for the i560 printer that I have connected to an XP pc.
    Any suggestions?

  14. internet fax

    Hi,

    Hey it’s good to install HP on Vista! I have installed it using your guide… thanks for being helpful

    Thanks,
    Peter

  15. Barre Hall

    This guide was VERY helpful. Thanks.

  16. Tara

    I have the same problem that many others seem to be having- instead of getting a successfully installed message I get “No Driver Found” and when I try to add one manually, it asks for an “inf” file, which I have no idea what it is and cannot find one. Any help would be greatly appreciated before I start ripping out all my hair.

  17. Roy Zuniga

    I had a problem with a vista desktop connected to the printer and I could not find the printer from a vista laptop. I tried everything until I went to Mcafee and noticed that it said that my laptop had tried to connect to my desktop and wanted to know if it should allow it to connect. It listed my laptops ip address. I clicked on allow this ip address to my desktop. That fixed the problem.It turned out that my internet security suite was not allowing my laptop to access my desktop. I hope this helps someone because I had looked for a solution for more than a month.

  18. Roy Zuniga

    I left out one small detail in my recent comments , When I went to my internet security suite(Mcafee) and looked at the log viewer , on the left side under internet & security I clicked on inbound events it showed on the bottom righthand side the information I alluded to in the recent comments.

  19. theo

    problem: win7 (64) does not see the printers in an exisitng network

    I have a network with 3 XP computers, 2 printers, one linksys server with 2 HDD, connected to the web via a Fritzbox router.
    This works perfectly: I can print on both printers from all XPcomputers and all XPcomputers have access to each other, to the server and to the internet.

    For reasons of compatibility, the Brother DCP 7025 printer is directly connected to the Fritzbox router.
    This router connects to a D-links switch and this switch connects with the Deskjet 720C printer, the Linksys server and the other computers.

    Now I wanted to add a brandnew Acer laptop with Windows7 (Home Premium 64-bit) to this perfectly working network.
    After a few hours of experimenting all the computers are now connected to each other.
    All the printers are shared on the “XP network”

    Yhe next step is teh problem: you write
    Windows 7 will search for the printer on your network and once its been found click Next.
    BUT: the printers are nowhere to be seen. Hence I cannot follow your advice: To share the printer on the Windows 7 machine go into Devices and Printers from the Start menu and double click on the printer icon.
    Because Win& does not find the printer, I also cannot follow your advice: Next select “Connect to this printer…” and type in the path for the printer connected to the Windows 7 machine and click next.

    Your alternative method is to browse to it.
    In this instance we decided to browse to it and notice we have 5 computers found on the network. We want to be able to print to the XPMCE computer so we double-click on that.
    Problem: win7 does not find them probably because they are not directly connected to a computer but on the net. How can i find them? What could be the path.

  20. theo

    I just added a brandnew windows 7 computer (Acer) to an existing Ethernet with 3 XP computers.
    This network has been working well for 3 years: I can print on both printers from all XPcomputers and all XPcomputers have access to each other, to the server and to the internet. Everything is shared for everyone.

    The Acer does not find the printers. When I click on network on the Acer, it shows all the XP computers on my network, the router and the server, BUT NOT THE TWO PRINTERS.

    I managed to find the networkprinter going through one of the other computers, and can print, but if that computer is off, I cannot print.

    I have a network with 3 XP computers, 2 printers, one linksys server with 2 HDD, connected to the web via a Fritzbox router.

    For reasons of compatibility, the Brother DCP 7025 printer is directly connected to the Fritzbox router.
    This router connects to a D-links switch and this switch connects with the Deskjet 720C printer, the Linksys server and the other computers.

    you write
    Windows 7 will search for the printer on your network and once its been found click Next.
    BUT: the printers are nowhere to be seen. Hence I cannot follow your advice: To share the printer on the Windows 7 machine go into Devices and Printers from the Start menu and double click on the printer icon.
    Because Win& does not find the printer, I also cannot follow your advice: Next select “Connect to this printer…” and type in the path for the printer connected to the Windows 7 machine and click next.

    Your alternative method is to browse to it.
    In this instance we decided to browse to it and notice we have 5 computers found on the network. We want to be able to print to the XPMCE computer so we double-click on that.
    Problem: win7 does not find them probably because they are not directly connected to a computer but on the net. How can i find them? What could be the path.

  21. Deb

    I have connected a Windows 7 computer to my work network and the printer is hardwired to an XP machine. When I network and go through all the above steps, I can see the printer and it lets me select it but when I do a print test page it acts like it prints but nothing ever prints. What am I doing wrong? Someone please help me.

  22. gkp4jesus

    If you have a printer with ethernet capabilities then you can use it with the 64 bit machine. Most you can plug in to the network, go to menu to get the ip and use that for sharing. If you have questions google “printer using ip address on network” or something similar

  23. Gail

    Windows 7 64 bit cannot simply connect to shared printers on Windows XP. The way to do it is to create a local port on the Windows 7 computer, with the \\host\sharename. See: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/282842

  24. Vincent Tyndall

    Using a Dell Inspiron with Windows 7 I was able to connect to Win XP and HP 1200 Series printer. The XP and printer were both old. I spent a lot of time researching how to do it and went down a lot of blind alleys and finally found this site. It was amazing. After getting ready to throw in the towel, this tutorial excellent. Thanks for the effort. Vincent Tyndall, Springfield MO.

  25. Graham

    I had the same problem as many of you when trying to install my DeskJet3745 (that was hooked up to my XP system) onto my windows 7 laptop.

    I would get so fare then get the message that windows could not find a driver, and when I tried to select the driver manually it was not listed

    This is what worked for me. I unplugged the printer from the xp system and plugged it directly into my laptop. then installed it this way. Now windows was able to find the driver and install it. Then I unplugged the printer from the laptop and returned it to the xp system…

    Then I tried to install the printer again this time it found the driver and worked ok
    I can’t off hand remember now if it found it automatically, or if i had to pick the driver manually. I do know that since doing this that driver is now listed when i look at hp drivers and it wasn’t before i did this.

    hope this helps someone

  26. shalini

    Thanks a lot.. this has worked perfectly for me!!

  27. Andrew

    Answer …. to some of the above.
    I have a new windows 7 laptop and had the same printer issues.

    I upgrade the printer driver on the XP machine with a driver that supports windows 7 and this allowed the windows 7 machine to print on the XP machines printer.
    I used a generic samsung print driver it worked so i havent tried the correct driver

  28. Imran

    What should i do for the network printer hp laserJet 1010 on XP machine and my lap top is Windows 7.

  29. Christina

    Thank you so much for your help! I had been trying for months to connect my laptop (Windows 7) to my printer which is connected to our XP desktop. I found your instructions today and followed the steps – and it worked! Thank you!!!

  30. roe

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Friggin Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been trying to do this for DAYS!!!!!!!! I have bookmarked this website and i’m telling EVERYONE!!! :) Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Frank

    What about the other way round, My samsung clp 610 is connected directly to the W7 computer the sharing protocols are all set and no passwords are required. This prints fine and dandy. But can I get any of my XP machines to even see this printer over the network…guess what… NO!
    Any ideas.

  32. George

    Great directions re XP desktop (Epson CX8400 printer attached) and W7 desktop, but can’t make laptop Vista talk to printer. Practically tore my hair out!!!

  33. Anthony

    I seem to have a much different problem then everyone else here, Please read carefully as to what my set up is like.

    I have a Home network consisting of two router. Main router is running under gateway 192.168.1.1 and the second one on 192.168.0.1

    Computer set ups looks as Follow;
    192.168.1.A (Windows 7 Home Premium)
    192.168.1.B (Windows XP Home Premium)
    192.168.0.A (Windows 7 Home Premium)
    192.168.0.B (Windows XP Home Premium + Printer HP Deskjet F4400 series. Share name: F4400) (used as a HomeServer *or trying to*)

    I was Successful in installing and Running all Printer Drivers for 192.168.0.B and was able after a little bit of tinkering to share with 192.168.0.A.
    Although I seem to be completely unable to Find the Printer and the shared Server from either 192.168.1.A and B.

    I tried all of the Solutions here but no luck. My only guess of the issue would be due to use of two Routers. But it’s seems far fetch as I am able to see and access both files from 192.168.1.A and 192.168.0.A from two different XBOXs and 2 Different PS3s that also have one of each on both gateways.

    I’m quite lost. Please Help
    Anthony.M

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