Sharing a Printer With Windows XP

Access printers that don't have built-in sharing or wireless capability

Father and son setting up printer with computer on table

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Windows XP has been deprecated since 2014. Upgrade to Windows 10 because Windows XP no longer receives security updates from Microsoft, nor does it obtain feature enhancements. These instructions are for those readers who cannot upgrade their XP computers.

Even if your printer does not have built-in sharing or wireless capability, you can enable it to be accessed from other devices on your local network. Follow these instructions to share printers connected to a Windows XP computer. These steps assume your computer is running the latest operating system Service Pack.

How to Share a Printer in Windows XP

To activate printer sharing:

  1. On the computer that is wired to the printer—called the host computer—go to the Start menu and open Windows Control Panel.

  2. Double-click the Printers and Faxes icon. In the Category View for Control Panel, access the Printers and Other Hardware category to find this icon. In Classic View, scroll down the list of icons to find the Printers and Faxes icon.

  3. In the list of printers and faxes in the Control Panel window, click the icon for the printer you want to share.

  4. From the Printer Tasks pane on the left side of the Control Panel window, click Share this printer. Alternatively, right-click the selected printer icon to open a pop-up menu, then choose Sharing. In both cases, a new Printer Properties window appears. If you receive an error message starting with "Printer Properties cannot be displayed," this alert indicates the printer is not currently connected to the computer. You must physically connect the computer and printer to complete this step.

  5. In the Printer Properties window, click the Sharing tab and select Share this printer. In the Share name field, enter a descriptive name for the printer that serves as an identifier that is shown to other devices on the local network when they make connections. Click OK or Apply to complete this step.

  6. The printer is now accessible to other devices on the local network. Close the Control Panel window.

To test that sharing is configured correctly for this printer, access it from a different computer on the local network. From another Windows computer, for example, open the Printers and Faxes section of Control Panel and click the Add a printer task. The shared name chosen above identifies this printer on the local network.