I am assuming that you know how to and have made the necessary share permissions on the computer which is hosting the printer.
To share a network printer being hosted by a computer running a 32 bit operating system with another computer running a 32 bit operating system, Vista or XP, you would go to Control Panel > ‘Printers’ > ‘Add Printer’ > ‘Add a network printer’. Apologies to any of you who consider that I am stating the obvious. In fairness, it is obvious.
Sharing a printer being hosted by a computer running 32 bit Vista or XP with a computer running 64 bit Vista is not obvious, because if you use the above method, it will not work.
So how? First, you need to know the name of the computer which hosts the printer, and the name of the printer to be shared.
Sitting at the host computer: The procedure is the same for Vista and XP
Start > My Computer > Properties > Computer Name tab > Change button. Write down the name that you see here because this is the computer name.
Start > Settings > Printers and Faxes > Right click on the printer to be shared > Properties > Sharing tab. Write down the name that you see here because this is the printer name.
OK. Now sit in front of the Vista 64 computer:
Start > Control Panel > Printers > Add printer > Add a local printer > Click on ‘Create a new port’ > ‘Local Port’ > ‘Next’.
The port name will look like this: \\Computer name\printer name
So enter the names already retrieved, ensuring that you use the same format, then click ‘OK’.
At this point, you will be presented with the ‘Add New Hardware’ process. You can either select the make and model of your printer from the lists or insert your printer installation disk if you can’t find yours. The printer will be added, and you should be able to print a test page.
Another solution is to use a print server. There are three options if you take this route.
- Replace your router with one which includes a print server. This is the most expensive option.
- Acquire a wired print server unit and connect it to your existing router. Beware the cheapest units as they will invariably be USB 1.1 compliant only.
- Acquire a wireless print server. Setup may not always be straightforward, but the printer can be moved around.
The benefit of any of the three options above is that the printer is available all of the time, not being reliant on a host computer’s power state, but they all cost $$$ or more.