Want to have another pc share my printer

i live at my sis’ house.

here’s what our network (be it ever so humble) looks like:

no winxp disc :o or she can’t find it. i have win98se. so when i tried to do the windows home network thing a few months ago for another reason, it asked for a disc which i didn’t have. and they have no floppy drive so i can’t use that option either.

i want it so she can print stuff off my new printer, which is connected by usb. any suggestions like freeware that can do this?

Windows is set up to let you do it without any 3rd party software. It only asks for the disk if you’re trying to use the wizard to do it.

Assuming the system w/the printer is running XP and the other is running 98, you go to the XP machine and open the printers folder. Right click on the printer you’re concerned with and share it. You will have to provide a name for it. If you don’t already have it turned on, it should prompt you to turn on File and Printer Sharing. You will also have to allow F&P Sharing in the Windows Firewall. The two systems have to be in the same workgroup, and I would suggest changing the computer names to something that’s not a long string of random letters and numbers.

Go to the 98 machine’s printers folder and choose to add a printer. You should be able to select a network printer, then either browse the network or type in the printer name manually (which would be something like \xpmachine\myprinter). You will also (sorry, forgot about this) need to install the printer DRIVER on the 98 machine. The only way to do that is going to be to go to the website for the printer manufacturer and download their driver for 98. I really should have mentioned this first because most modern printers don’t work in 98. Anyway, the point is that the driver has to be installed on both machines.

This SHOULD be a fairly simple process, but printer sharing is one of those things that only works about half the time even when everything appears to be set up right. You should be able to find plenty of better (read: with pictures) step-by-step guides for printer sharing across Windows versions.

Russ, does your sister have windows xp? if so, you should connect your printer to her machine. It may be easier for your windows 98 computer to access resources on her windows xp computer than the other way around.

Oh, shit. I read your situation backwards. I just assumed you had the newer OS. Yeah, Roger’s right. Also, I didn’t say anything about 3rd party firewalls, but they will have to be set up to allow the printer sharing.

Windows XP firewall also disables file/printer sharing, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I mentioned that in my first post (briefly).

The alternative is to get a Print Server. This sounds intimidating but it isn’t: cheapie print servers can be had for $30 and are configured so that they act simply as usb-to-Ethernet IP adapters. You plug the printer’s usb cord into it instead of a computer, plug it into your router/switch, and voila: an instant network printer at the print server’ IP address, accessible from any computer on the subnet, and you don’t have to faff around with firewalls or printer sharing or leaving a computer on all the time.

The is a big downside: The printer will no longer be able to “report back” to your computer. This isn’t usually a problem in practice, as data can go just fine to the printer. I use it on a quite fancy Canon inkjet, and have no trouble at all using advanced features like borderless printing and ink saturation controls. But you might get “printer not reponding” warnings even if it’s working just fine, misreported ink levels in the config dialog, that kind of thing.

I went a got one of these as a direct response to the unmitigated horror caused by trying to share a printer over a two-computer network with one XP machine and one 98se machine, exactly like yours.

For 30 bones, you might be better served getting a total network software package like Network Magic. I have it on my home network. It’s occasionally a little hinky (be sure to install it and build the network with all PCs at the same time, and decide which PC will be the “server” PC and install it on that one first; however, adding an external HD was a snap), but it makes building and managing your network a snap. File/Folder sharing is like a 3-click process. Shared folders can be password-protected, and the software creates an URL for you, so you can access your shared folders from any PC anywhere is you want. If you put it on a laptop, it has a feature that disables shared folders temporarily if the laptop is not connected to the home network. It tracks would-be bandwidth hijackers and kicks them.

Oh, heh, and the software lets you set up shared printers easily. You don’t even have to use a print server, but you do have to have the PC the printer is connected to on as well as the drivers installed on any PC that you would want to print from - but the printer functions exactly like it would if it were connected to the PC. Just remember to change the default printer to the networked one and you’d never know the difference. My work PC is on during all waking hours, so it’s groovy for me.

Of course, there’s always the utilities that come with Win OS’s, but with your dueling versions, this might be an easier way to go.