While network printers are becoming more common these days, many people still prefer to use printers that are directly connected to an individual PC, typically by a USB cable. Although you could temporarily unplug these printers and plug them into a different PC, an easier way is available. You can share these printers so that other PCs on the network can access them. For this to work, the PC to which the printer is connected must be turned on, and not asleep, in hibernation, or shut down. You don't need to leave it logged on with a particular user account. In windows 7, you share printer via Homegroup sharing. To do this follow the following procedure.
When you setup a computer running Windows 7 and are connected to a home network, the setup program creates a homegroup automatically if one doesn't already exist on you home network. Setup won't create a homegroup if it detects an existing homegroup or if you computer is connected to a domain. You can create a homegroup or join you computer to an existing homegroup at any time. To do so, however, the computer's network location must be set to Home.
To change the computer's network location and configure basic homegroup operations follow these steps:
- Click Start→ Control Panel → Network and Internet → Network and Sharing Center.
- The Network and Sharing Center appears, showing the current network type. If the current network type is Work or Public and you are actually connected to a home network, click the “Work Network” or “Public Network” link. When prompted to select a location for the network, click “Home network”.
- Windows will then start the Create a Homegroup or Join a Homegroup Wizard. (If you were a member of a homegroup in the past, Windows will rejoin that homegroup.)
- After your computer is part of a homegroup, one of the easiest way to share printer is simply to enable it under “Shared Libraries and Printers”.
- If “Prints” is checked under Shared Libraries and Printers, you can print from any PC of your homegroup network.