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Sharing a Printer Over a Small Network: Pros and Cons

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 4/17/2009

Instead of incurring avoidable expenses by purchasing a printer for each system, every computer on a network, whether wired or wireless, can share a single printer with other users.

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    Printers are extremely useful devices connected to the computer to provide printed copies of any information the user needs. However, printers can be a source of annoyance if the other computer users in the network all rush at the same time to a certain computer to print the wanted material. It would largely help if every computer in the network could print directly without transferring files to a single computer

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    Methodology for sharing setup

    Having several computers in one’s home or office need not mean one has to buy as many printers as there are computers. If the computers are connected through a wired network or a wireless network, the user can share them by turning on Sharing in Windows.

    • Select your computer with printer plugged in. Open Control Panel and go to Printers and other Hardware and select it.
    • View printers that are installed or look for fax printers, and click on the printer you have chosen.
    • Go to Printer menu, locate sharing option and click Share this printer, followed by clicking OK.

    On each of the other PCs in the network:

    • Go to Control Panel, open it > Look for Printers and Faxes and click the tab which says ‘Add a printer’.
    • View Wizard to find the printer that was shared previously.
    • Try to go to the Local Network Printer Page by clicking Next. This may take time but continue clicking it until you get the desired page.
    • Next step is to choose "A network printer’. You willbe able to select a printer connected to another computer. Click Next and Proceed.
    • Look for Browse for a printer" and click it. Then click Next.
    • Click on the previously shared printer and then click on Next button.
    • You will get your driver automatically installed. You can make this printer your default printer
    • Now - hit Finish.
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    Merits of sharing printer

    Printing is an indispensable business function, for it may not be sufficient all the time to view different reports and other necessary documents on the computer monitor. Instead of wasting money purchasing a printer for each system, it is prudent to share a single printer over the entire network. Every computer on a wireless can share a directly attached printer with other users. This will result in an enormous saving of capital expenditure and running printer maintenance costs.

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    Problems with sharing printer

    It is a fact that the computer that is sharing the printer with other computers facilitates data buffering. So, if you want to reboot your PC System while a user at the other end is performing a printing operation, the print job can become tedious for you or you may even lose the print job. Likewise, while performing some potentially critical operation related to printing, the printer will claim those extra requirements that are needed to buffer the print data incorporated.

    Sharing a printer may not be the right solution if there are more than ten users in the network and all of them have frequent printing requirements. In such cases, it may be necessary to invest in a print server. One can efficiently do all the print jobs with a print server which has built-in printer sharing options provided by the operating system of the user’s desktop.

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    General tips

    It may be useful to have the driver disc handy when adding a printer. It is suggested that the printer is installed in a central location. For shared printers, you do not necessarily need a network-ready printer. In fact, you just need a computer that is connected to a computer on the wireless or wired network. Finally, a word of warning when sharing the printer – it is advisable to set up security on the network to limit access.



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