Google Search


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Setting Up a Print Server for Your Wireless Home Network

The most common shared peripheral is a printer. Setting up a printer for sharing is easy, and using it is even easier. You may have several printers in your house, and different devices could have different printers — but they all can be shared. You may have the color laser printer on your machine, a less expensive one for the kid's computer, and a high-quality photo printer maybe near the TV set plugged into a USB port of a networkable A/V device. Each of these can be used by a local device . . . if properly set up.

Enabling printer sharing

Your first task is to enable the printer sharing within the Windows OS of the computer to which the printer is attached. This is the same process as sharing a folder and is available by default in Windows 2000/XP.

Windows 95/98/Me shares the printer drivers for that printer. It's the same as sharing a folder. Because most people will be using a workgroup type of network, having the printer drivers easily accessible makes adding those shared printers to your other computers a lot simpler.

In the shared folder that you create, copy the printer software that came with your printer. These days, most printers have their software on CD-ROM. The simplest way to make that accessible is to share the CD-ROM drive of the computer that the printer is attached to. Now you have full access to the printer's software without having to use up space on one of your hard drives.

Setting up sharing for the installed printer

After you enable printer sharing, it's time to . . . can you guess? . . . share your installed printer.

Windows 95/98/Me

To share a printer on Windows 95/98/Me, just follow these steps:

1. Go to your Printers folder by choosing Start --> Settings --> Printers and then right-clicking the printer that you want to share.

2. From the pop-up menu that appears, choose the Sharing option.

3. Select the appropriate radio button to share the printer and then consider adding some descriptive words in the Comment field like Photo Printer in Living Room.

Note that there is an eight-character limit for device names.

Just as in file sharing, you can set a password at the same place where you activate sharing in the Sharing dialog box. Generally, printers don't need a password, but you may want to consider one for printers (like photo printers) that have high consumables costs (photo paper often costs more than a buck per sheet). This is likely one of the reasons why Windows 2000/XP carries its security policy to printers as well as files.

4. Click OK.

Your printer is shared. Didn't we tell you that this was simple?

Windows 2000/XP

Windows 2000/XP are more sophisticated operating systems and subsequently have a server type of print sharing. In other words, they offer all the features of a big network with servers on your local machine. These features include the ability to assign users to manage the print queue remotely, embed printer software for easier installation, and manage when the printer will be available based on a schedule that you define.

To share a printer on Windows 2000/XP, follow these steps:

1. Choose Start --> Settings --> Printers and Faxes (or simply choose Start --> Printers and Faxes, depending on how your Start menu is configured).

2. Right-click the printer in the Printers folder and choose Properties from the pop-up menu that appears.

3. On the Sharing tab of the dialog box that appears, click the Additional Drivers button.

4. Select which operating systems you want to support to use this shared printer and also select the other types of drivers needed for your other computer systems and devices; then click OK.

5. When prompted, insert a floppy disk or CD-ROM and direct the subsequent dialog boxes to the right places on those devices to get the driver for each operating system that you chose.

Windows finds those drivers and downloads them to the Windows 2000/XP's hard drive. Then, when you go to install the printer on your other computers, the Windows 2000/XP machine, which is sharing the printer, automatically transfers the proper printer drivers and finishes the installation for you.

Remotely installing the printer on all network PCs

The third step is done at every other PC in the house. Basically, you install the printer on each of these computers, but in a logical way — logically as opposed to physically installing and connecting the printer to each computer. You install the printer just like any other printer except that you're installing a network printer, and the printer installation wizard will search the network for the printers that you want to install.

The process that you'll use will vary depending on the operating system that you use and the type of printer that you're trying to install. In every case, read the printer documentation before you start because some printers require their software to be partially installed before you try to add the printer. This requirement is common with multifunction printers that support scanning, copying, and faxing.

With Windows, the easiest way to start the installation of a printer is to look inside Network Neighborhood (or My Network Places), find the computer sharing the printer, and double-click the shared printer. This starts the Add Printer Wizard, which takes you through the process of adding the printer. This wizard works like any good wizard — you'll make a few selections and click Next a lot. When asked for the printer drivers, use the Browse button to direct the wizard to look in the shared folder or CD-ROM drive where you put the printer software on the computer that the printer is attached to.

You have two options for installing a network printer:

  • From your Printers folder: In Window 95/98/Me, choose Start --> Settings --> Printers to see the Printers folder where your installed printers are shown. Double-click the Add Printer icon.
    In Windows 2000/XP, choose Start --> Settings --> Printers and Faxes (or simply Start --> Printers and Faxes, depending how your Start menu is configured).
  • From Network Neighborhood or My Network Places: From within Network Neighborhood in Windows 95/98/Me (or My Network Places in Windows 2000/XP), double-click the computer that has the printer attached. An icon will appear showing the shared printer. Right-click it and then choose Install from the pop-up menu that appears.

Either route leads you to the Add Printer Wizard, which guides you through the process of adding the network printer.

Don't start the Add Printer Wizard unless you have the disks or CDs for your printer handy. The Add Printer Wizard will install the printer drivers (software files that contain the info required for Windows to talk to your printers and exchange data for printing). The wizard gets these from the CD that comes with your printer. If you don't have the CD, go to the Web site of your printer manufacturer and download the driver to your desktop and install from there. And don't forget to delete the downloaded file(s) from your desktop when done with installing them on the computer.

Note also that the wizard will allow you to browse your network to find the printer that you want to install. Simply click the plus sign next to the computer that has the printer attached, and you should see the printer below the computer. (If not, then recheck that printer sharing is enabled on that computer.)

At the end of the wizard screens, you have the option to print a test page. Do print the test page. You don't want to wait until your child has to have a color printout for her science experiment (naturally she waits until ten minutes before the bus arrives to tell you!) to find out that the printer doesn't work.

No comments: