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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 119: Share a Single Printer Between Computers

Level Medium

Platform Windows and Mac

Cost Free

You’re typing a letter on the laptop in the living room and you want to print it — except that the printer’s in the bedroom. Sharing a printer connected to a PC on your home network and printing to it from any other computer, even over a wireless connection, is a breeze. Whether you want to print from a Mac or another PC, here’s how to share a single printer for use by any computer on your home network.

NOTE If every computer on your network runs Windows 7, you can use the HomeGroup feature to share your printers without all the hassle. Just open the HomeGroup dialog in the Control Panel, create a new HomeGroup if you haven’t already, and make sure Printers is checked. After the new HomeGroup is created, use the automatically generated password to join your HomeGroup from other computers. The HomeGroup feature makes sharing files, printers, and media between Windows 7 PCs simple, but if you need to share your printer with other, non-Windows 7 PCs, you need to follow these instructions.

Share the Printer

First, you have to make the printer connected to the computer available for other computers to use. Here’s how:

1. On the PC where the printer is connected, powered on, and working correctly, open the Control Panel and navigate to the Network and Sharing Center. In the sidebar, click Change Advanced Sharing Settings and ensure that File and Printer Sharing is turned on. If it’s ...

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