How to Share a Printer on a Windows 7 Network?

Sharing a printer on your Windows 7 network allows multiple computers to access a printer over the local area network (LAN). This eliminates the need to have separate printers for every computer, saving money and desk space. Setting up printer sharing only takes a few minutes.

How to Share a Printer on a Windows 7 Network?

Benefits of Sharing a Printer on a Windows 7 Network

Some key benefits of sharing a printer in Windows 7 include:

  • Cost Savings: Sharing one printer with multiple computers saves money as you only have to purchase one device.
  • Convenience: Users can print from any computer on the network rather than being restricted to using the computer directly connected to the printer.
  • Flexibility: Printers can be located anywhere on the network instead of right beside the computer.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sharing a Printer in Windows 7

Follow these steps to start sharing your printer with other computers on the network:

  1. Enable File and Printer Sharing – Go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center. Click on “Change advanced sharing settings” and turn on file and printer sharing.
  2. Connect Printer to Network – Plug your printer’s Ethernet or wireless adapter into your router so other computers can see it on the network. USB-connected printers must have networking capabilities to enable sharing.
  3. Install Printer Drivers – Install the latest drivers for your printer model on your computer. This enables Windows to properly communicate with your printer.
  4. Open Printer Properties – Go to Devices and Printers then right-click your printer and select “Printer properties.”
  5. Navigate to Sharing Tab – Select the Sharing tab in your printer’s properties window. Check the box labeled “Share this printer.” Give your printer a unique share name.
  6. Install Printer on Other Computers – Have other users browse the network to find your shared printer by its share name and install it on their computer.
  7. Set Permissions (Optional) – If needed, set user permissions to control who can access the shared printer while it’s being shared.

Once complete, your Windows 7 printer should now be accessible over the home or office network. Start sharing to allow simpler printing workflows and management.

Key Benefits of Sharing Printers on Windows 7

Here’s a quick recap of the major perks:

  • Share one printer with many users to avoid unnecessary costs and desk clutter.
  • Print from any networked computer for improved efficiency.
  • Position shared printers anywhere there’s a network connection.
  • Manage user access to valuable printing resources with configurable permissions.

In summary, enabling printer sharing makes at-home or small office printing much simpler by allowing users to print from many devices to a single networked printer using built-in Windows 7 functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What network types support Windows 7 printer sharing?
    Windows 7 allows printer sharing on wired networks or wireless home networks. The printer and computers must connect to the same LAN.

  2. Can I share a wireless printer on Windows 7?
    Yes, Windows 7 can share wireless network printers as long as the printer itself includes built-in networking capabilities.

  3. Can I share a printer without networking?
    No, the Windows printer sharing feature requires that both the host and client computers connect to a local network.

  4. Does the network have to use a router or switch?
    All machines only need to connect to the same local network. This could be through a router, switch, or simple peer-to-peer network.

  5. What about sharing through the Internet?
    Sharing over wider networks is generally more complex and insecure. Windows 7 printer sharing works best for simple local networks only.

  6. Can Macs or Linux share a Windows 7 network printer?
    Yes, with additional configuration non-Windows users can also access a shared Windows printing device.

  7. Where should I place a shared network printer?
    Anywhere there’s a network jack or consistent Wi-Fi connectivity to allow all devices to connect to the printer.

  8. What drivers do client PCs need?
    The host PC automatically shares his installed drivers with client PCs for easy remote printing.

  9. Can I share multiple printers on my network?
    Yes, you can share any number of compatible USB or networked Windows 7 printers to authorized users.

  10. How do I check a printer’s sharing permissions?
    Right-click the printer, select “Printer properties”, and navigate to the Sharing tab to view and modify sharing permissions.

  11. Why does my shared printer show access denied errors?
    The host PC has likely restricted permissions to only certain usernames or groups, which can be modified in the Sharing menu.

  12. How can I restrict access for my shared home printer?
    Set custom permissions in the Sharing tab allow listing or deny access to selected user accounts.

  13. Why is my shared printer offline for some users?
    Ensure the client PC is on the same network and has the proper drivers installed. Also check power, network connectivity.

  14. Can I view who’s printing to a shared device?
    Yes, enable printer permissions recording or connect to the print server to monitor printing activity.

  15. How do I disable printer sharing if I no longer want to share?
    Just uncheck “Share this printer” in the printer properties Sharing tab and confirm removal.

  16. My business printers aren’t showing on client PCs correctly?
    You may need advanced server software for larger deployments with many users and specialized enterprise printer features.

  17. Does sharing impact printer performance?
    Sharing uses very minimal network bandwidth unless many large jobs print concurrently across multiple PCs.

  18. Is Windows 7 printer sharing secure?
    Shared home printers have minimal security but enterprise networks should use encryption and user authentication.

  19. Can printer sharing work wirelessly or remotely?
    Yes, Wi-Fi capable printers can be shared but may have limited range. Sharing over Internet requires advanced VPN configurations.

  20. What troubleshooting steps fix most sharing issues?
    Check power, network/WiFi connectivity for host and client PCs, update printer drivers, disable firewalls temporarily, and confirm sharing is enabled in settings.


Windows 7 includes reliable printer sharing capabilities that simplify home and office document handling by allowing users to print to centralized printers around the network. The platform streamlines installing and accessing shared printers from many devices with just a few configuration steps for the print host device. To troubleshoot issues, carefully check connectivity, power, drivers, client access, and sharing settings. With these fundamentals understood, any Windows 7 user should feel confident sharing devices across small networks for easier print resource management.


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