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.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+