How can I turn my old Windows XP desktop into a print server for a wired network with Vista and XP machines?
April 18, 2008 2:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I turn my old Windows XP desktop into a print server for a wired network with Vista and XP machines?

I've tried plugging in an old machine, installing two USB printers, and sharing the printers, but the other machines on the network can't seem to connect. I'm running everything through an old Linksys router. Even with the firewall down on the machines, I still can't seem to connect. Are there compatibility issues with XP print sharing with Vista and should I just install some flavor of linux? And if so, how should I do that? I really appreciate your help!
posted by abkadefgee to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
I don't specifically know of XP/Vista issues. However, I do know from experience that there's difficulties sharing printers and drives between various other Windows versions.

Have you made sure, though, that all of your computers are in the same "Workgroup" and have different names?

Have you tried accessing a computer's network share directly, rather than via the "network neighborhood" or whatever it's called these days? For example, open Windows Explorer and type in \\192.168.1.[whatever ip address] .. (might be

If that works - just add the printer that way from each computer and you'll be set.

Also, dumb thing, but have you made sure in the Network drivers that "Windows File and Printer Sharing" (name may vary) is in there?
posted by twiggy at 2:32 PM on April 18, 2008

Twiggy is correct- have to have the correct services on, have to open the XP firewall to file and print sharing, have to have the same workgroup, have to set the rights on the printer object to allow it to be shared to everyone.

But you also have to have a printer that is capable of being shared. Some cheap printers' drivers do not allow sharing. I think it's because it does all the formatting on the PC rather than in the printer.

As twiggy said, try to get the workgroup and file sharing stuff set up and working, and then add the printer. Otherwise it will drive you nuts.
posted by gjc at 3:45 PM on April 18, 2008

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