Printer Sharing - Vista to Mac OS X 10.5

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Printer Sharing - Vista to Mac OS X 10.5 Overview

Printer Sharing - Vista Printer Sharing With Mac OS X 10.5
You can share a printer that's connected to your Vista PC with your Mac. Courtesy of Dell Inc.

Printer sharing is one of the handiest features of both the Mac OS and Windows. By sharing an existing printer between multiple computers, regardless of the operating system in use, you not only save the cost of additional printers, you also get to wear a networking guru hat and show off your technical skills to your friends and family.

You’re going to need that hat when it comes to sharing a printer that’s connected to a computer running Windows Vista. Getting Vista to share a printer with Mac or Linux computers can be a bit of a challenge, but you’re up to it. Put on your networking hat and we’ll get started.

Samba and Vista

When the host computer runs Vista, printer sharing is a bit more work than if it runs Windows XP, because Vista disables the default authentication that Samba (Server Message Block) uses to establish a connection when sharing a printer with a Mac or Unix computer. With authentication disabled, all you’ll see when you try to print from your Mac to a Vista-hosted printer is a “Waiting for authentication” status message.

There are two methods of enabling authentication, depending on whether you’re using Vista Home Edition or one of the Business/Enterprise/Ultimate Editions. I’ll cover both methods.

What You Need

  • A working network, either wired or wireless Ethernet.
  • A printer that’s directly connected to a PC running Vista.
  • A common workgroup name for the PCs and the Mac network.
  • About half an hour of your time.
02
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Printer Sharing – Enable Authentication in Vista Home Edition

Printer Sharing - Vista Printer Sharing With Mac OS X 10.5
The Registry allows you to enable the proper method of authentication. Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation

Before we can start setting up Vista for printer sharing, we must first enable the default Samba authentication. To do this, we need to edit the Vista registry.

WARNING: Back up your Windows Registry before you make any changes to it.

Enable Authentication in Vista Home Edition

  1. Start the Registry Editor by selecting Start, All Programs, Accessories, Run.

  2. In the ‘Open’ field of the Run dialog box, type regedit and click the ‘OK’ button.

  3. The User Account Control system will ask for permission to continue. Click the ‘Continue’ button.

  4. In the Registry window, expand the following:
    1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    2. SYSTEM
    3. CurrentControlSet
    4. Control
    5. Lsa
  5. In the ‘Value’ pane of the Registry Editor, check to see if the following DWORD exists: lmcompatibilitylevel. If it does, perform the following:
    1. Right-click lmcompatibilitylevel and select ‘Modify’ from the pop-up menu.
    2. Enter a Value data of 1.
    3. Click the ‘OK’ button.
  6. If the lmcompatibilitylevel DWORD does not exist, create a new DWORD.
    1. From the Registry Editor menu, select Edit, New, DWORD (32-bit) Value.
    2. A new DWORD called ‘New Value #1’ will be created.
    3. Rename the new DWORD to lmcompatibilitylevel.
    4. Right-click lmcompatibilitylevel and select ‘Modify’ from the pop-up menu.
    5. Enter a Value data of 1.
    6. Click the ‘OK’ button.

Restart your Windows Vista computer.

03
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Printer Sharing – Enable Authentication in Vista Business, Ultimate, Enterprise

Printer Sharing - Vista Printer Sharing With Mac OS X 10.5
The Global Policy Editor allows you to enable the proper method of authentication. Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation

Before we can start setting up Vista for printer sharing, we must first enable the default Samba authentication. To do this, we must use Vista's Group Policy Editor, which will result in a change to the Registry.

WARNING: Back up your Windows Registry before you make any changes to it.

Enable Authentication in Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise

  1. Start the Group Policy Editor by selecting Start, All Programs, Accessories, Run.

  2. In the ‘Open’ field of the Run dialog box, type gpedit.msc and click the ‘OK’ button.

  3. The User Account Control system will ask for permission to continue. Click the ‘Continue’ button.

  4. Expand the following objects in the Group Policy Editor:
    1. Computer Configuration
    2. Windows Settings
    3. Security Settings
    4. Local Policies
    5. Security Options
  5. Right-click the ‘Network security: LAN Manager authentication level’ policy item, and select ‘Properties’ from the pop-up menu.

  6. Select the ‘Local Security Settings’ tab.

  7. Select ‘Send LM & NTLM – user NTLMv2 session security if negotiated’ from the dropdown menu.

  8. Click the ‘OK’ button.

  9. Close the Group Policy Editor.

    Restart your Windows Vista computer.

04
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Printer Sharing – Configure the Workgroup Name

Windows Vista uses a default workgroup name of WORKGROUP. If you haven’t made any changes to the workgroup name on the Windows computers connected to your network then you’re ready to go, because the Mac also creates a default workgroup name of WORKGROUP for connecting to Windows machines.

If you have changed your Windows workgroup name, as my wife and I have done with our home office network, then you’ll need to change the workgroup name on your Macs to match.

Change the Workgroup Name on Your Mac (Leopard OS X 10.5.x)

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking its icon in the Dock.
     
  2. Click the ‘Network’ icon in the System Preferences window.
     
  3. Select ‘Edit Locations’ from the Location dropdown menu.
     
  4. Create a copy of your current active location.
    1. Select your active location from the list in the Location sheet. The active location is usually called Automatic, and may be the only entry in the sheet.
       
    2. Click the sprocket button and select ‘Duplicate Location’ from the pop-up menu.
       
    3. Type in a new name for the duplicate location or use the default name, which is ‘Automatic Copy.’
       
    4. Click the ‘Done’ button.
       
  5. Click the ‘Advanced’ button.
     
  6. Select the ‘WINS’ tab.
     
  7. In the ‘Workgroup’ field, enter your workgroup name.
     
  8. Click the ‘OK’ button.
     
  9. Click the ‘Apply’ button.
     

After you click the ‘Apply’ button, your network connection will be dropped. After a few moments, your network connection will be re-established, with the new workgroup name you created.

05
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Printer Sharing – Set Up Windows Vista for Printer Sharing

Printer Sharing - Vista Printer Sharing With Mac OS X 10.5
Use the 'Share name' field to give the printer a distinctive name. Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation

Your now ready to inform Vista that you would like to share an attached printer.

Enable Printer Sharing in Windows Vista

  1. Select ‘Control Panel' from the Start menu.

  2. Select ‘Printer’ from the Hardware and Sound group.

  3. A list of installed printers and faxes will display.

  4. Right-click on the icon of the printer you wish to share and select ‘Sharing’ from the pop-up menu.

  5. Click the ‘Change sharing options’ button.

  6. The User Account Control system will ask for permission to continue. Click the ‘Continue’ button.

  7. Place a check mark next to the ‘Share this printer’ item.

  8. Enter a name for the printer in the ‘Share name’ field. . This name will appear as the printer’s name on your Mac.

  9. Click the ‘Apply’ button.

Close the printer’s Properties window and the Printers and Faxes window.

06
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Printer Sharing – Add the Windows Vista Printer to Your Mac

With the Windows printer and the computer it’s connected to active, and the printer set up for sharing, you’re ready to add the printer to your Mac.

Add the Shared Printer to Your Mac

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking its icon in the Dock.

  2. Click the ‘Print & Fax’ icon in the System Preferences window.

  3. The Print & Fax window will display a list of currently configured printers and faxes that your Mac can use.

  4. Click the plus (+) sign, located just below the list of installed printers.

  5. The printer browser window will appear.

  6. Right-click the printer browser window's toolbar and select ‘Customize Toolbar’ from the pop-up menu.

  7. Drag the ‘Advanced’ icon from the icon palette to the printer browser window’s toolbar.

  8. Click the 'Done' button.

  9. Click the ‘Advanced’ icon in the toolbar

  10. Select ‘Windows’ from the Type dropdown menu. It may take a few seconds before the dropdown menus become active, so be patient.

    The next step is to enter the shared printer’s device URL, in the following format:

    smb://user:password@workgroup/ComputerName/PrinterName
    An example from my home network would look like this:

    smb://TomNelson:MyPassword@CoyoteMoon/scaryvista/HPLaserJet5000
    The PrinterName is the ‘Share name’ you entered in Vista.

  11. Enter the shared printer’s URL in the ‘Device URL’ field.

  12. Select ‘Generic Postscript Printer’ from the Print Using dropdown menu. You can try using one of the specific printer drivers from the list. The drivers most likely to work are labeled ‘Gimp Print’ or ‘PostScript.’ These drivers usually include the proper protocol support for shared network printing.
  13. Click the ‘Add’ button.
07
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Printer Sharing – Using Your Shared Vista Printer

Your shared Windows printer is now ready to be used by your Mac. When you’re ready to print from your Mac, simply select the ‘Print’ option in the application you’re using and then select the shared printer from the list of available printers.

Remember that in order to use the shared printer, both the printer and the computer it’s connected to must be on. Happy printing!