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Setup Several Computers to Share One Printer

How to have several computers share one printer is a common question that comes up in the work place all the time. It makes no sense to have a different printer for every computer in an office or at home. First, it is a waste of money. Second, printers take up a lot of space. Third, why have several printers when one will serve the purpose.

Standalone print server

One way to use one printer from multiple computers is with a standalone print server. When we say standalone print server, we are talking about a print server networked with a number of computers to share a printer. Print servers are devices that connect computers to printers over a network. A print server takes print commands from computers and sends them to selected printers. Print server devices support protocols or industry-standards such as JetDirect, Netware, Microsoft Network Printing Protocol, Internet Printing Protocol, Line Printer Daemon protocol, and NetBIOS/NetBEUI.

Print Servers are inexpensive devices; they cost less than $200. Some printers have built-in print servers. If you are thinking of purchasing a printer, maybe you may want to go for printers with built-in print servers.

Integrated Ethernet/Wi-Fi printer

This is the most convenient way to share a printer. Many computers have a built-in Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection.

Integrated Print Server on network routers

Some routers have a built-in server. Network router owners may want to check their router manuals to see if they have a built-in print server. Supporting routers usually have USB ports to connect computers.

Windows Printer Sharing

This is a built-in feature in Windows. In Windows XP and Vista, it is called Windows printer sharing; and HomeGroup in Windows 7. Some people may not like this method of printing files because the source computer must always be plugged into the printer while sharing is taking place.

To share a printer, simply go to the specific printer properties, click on the “sharing” tab, and then click the radio button that says “Share This Printer”. Save your changes and you will be all set. Keep in mind you will have to find this printer on the network when attempting to print.

Whether you have one, two, or more computers, you can print from a single printer – no matter what computer you are using. All of the above methods are superb ways of sharing a single printer using several computers. They are different and each method has its own pros and cons. Look to see which is best for you.

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