Network Printing from XP to a Windows 7 Printer

Did you ever try to set up to print from XP across your network to a Windows 7 computer with the printer attached?

If you’ve tried this, you already know it’s not fun, and to call it frustrating would be generous. With some help from online research, I found a solution that worked, to my shock. It’s not something you would guess—ever— so prepare to follow the instructions and be delighted at the results. And it’s NOT in the on-screen instructions in Add-Printer!

After many frustrating hours of trying to connect our XP computer to our HP 2200D printer, which is connected to the newly upgraded Windows 7 computer, I discovered some unusual instructions online which worked perfectly. In fact, I found them in more than one place.

I realize that this is a rather obtuse post since we’re usually talking about home design software. But really, if you can’t print, what good is the software!

I’m posting this for anyone else who has had trouble getting network printing in order.

If you have a mix of Windows OSs, especially Windows 7 with XP, you are looking at some frustrating challenges if you try to install the Windows 7 printer at the XP machine following the normal instructions. In other words if you follow the instructions in add-printer, it will not work. (a most unusual occurance when following Microsoft instructions, right?), it will ask you to locate drivers (for the XP computer) but will not tell you the names of the drivers you need, nor where to find them. You get a little browse dialog that will take you anywhere you want to go to find that elusive .inf file. But even if you found it, you wouldn’t know that you found it because you don’t know its name. So it might be right in front of your face. But what good will it do. So succeeding with the ostensibly easy wizard instructions will only end in frustration. Forget that and follow along below. You’ll be glad you did.

In our circumstances, Windows 7 initially led me into the installation for the HP 2200D and it installed the Microsoft driver (I’m pretty sure). And the printer works fine from Windows 7. [As an aside, I later installed some HP Universal drivers and they were much more limited than the Microsoft driver, so I through them out–no duplexing there.].

Be sure to share the printer in Windows7 and give it a share name that doesn’t have spaces. (Spaces in the share name may or may not cause problems. But we are trying to avoid and solve problems here, not cause more, right.)

Make sure your network connections are working. I won’t get into networking issues here. Just be sure that all of the computers belong to the same workgroup. And that you can see all of the shared items from one computer to another. This means you can see the shared printer on the Windows 7 computer from the XP machine (even though it’s useless at this point for printing).

Here’s how to do it and you will wonder how it can work. But it does, and in the end I din’t really care how.

Here’s a quick run through of all the instructions.

1. Be sure that the printer on the Windows 7 computer is shared. For this example, let’s say the share name is THEPRINTER.

2. From the XP computer, browse your network and make sure you can see THEPRINTER.

3. On the XP machine, select to add a printer. At the first dialog, choose to “add a LOCAL printer” NOT a printer on the network. (This is just temporary and will be changed.) Add it at port LPT1. And continue through the wizard. Yeah, this is really weird since there is no printer attached to the XP. So lie to the wizard. (Wizards lie all the time anyway, right?)

4. Go back into the printer’s Properties (right-click on the printer), select Properties, then select Ports, and add a NEW port for the printer and put it in this form and call it \\nameofwindows7computer\THEPRINTER.

XP will load some drivers.

Print a test page and you’ll be cheering with glee. To be honest I was dumbfounded as I heard the printer rumbling in the next room! Yea me!

Note: from the Windows 7 computer you control the printer permissions for the remote computer (print, change printer settings, etc.) At first the XP only had permission to print. I changed this so that the XP has other permissions so that user can control the output a bit more. Double click the printer in Windows 7, click Customize Your Printer, click the Security tab click Everyone and set the permissions you want to give to Everyone.

Have you gone through this before? LMK!



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