Add a Network Printer to Windows Vista or Windows XP

Now days the average household has more than one computer and share available resources over a home network. No-ones wants their house cluttered up with unnecessary office equipment, and this is exactly the reason why we need to use a network printer. For example if you have three computers on your home network you would only need one printer for them all. Windows XP, Vista, and now windows seven, allow you to use computer hardware that is connected to another computer on your Network. the following article shows you how to how to add a Network Printer.

This is referring to a normal printer that is not network enabled. To see how to connect a network printer or a wireless network printer please see more information about how to add network printing.

What do you need to add a network printer?

  1. A network printer can be a printer that is already installed on one computer in your home or office network. It does not have to be anything special.
  2. You need to know the actual computer name that the printer is installed on. How to find the Computer Name?
  3. Printer Sharing has to be enabled. (Go to Control Panel>Printers Settings Icon>right click on the printer icon and choose sharing. Also create a simple name for your printer here.)
  4. The share name of you shared printer. It usually is the brand of the printer which could be cannon bj3000, however I like to rename it just printer.

Now days a printer will come with wireless networking capabilities or at the very least an Ethernet port to easily connect to your home network. This tutorial is for a printer without any of these options available.

How to add a network printer onto your home network:

  1. Go to the control panel which can be found by clicking the start button.
  2. In the left bar click on switch to classic view.
  3. Then click on the Printer and Faxes Icon.
  4. Choose to Add Printer in the left sidebar.
  5. A dialog box will appear. You can choose to add a network Printer. Then ask the computer to find it. If it does find it your done.
  6. When the computer does not find your network printer manually type it in yourself.

find a network printer

  1. I have written serverprinter$ then I pressed Next. Server is the name of the computer that has the printer installed on it, and Printer$ is the name I gave my printer when I enabled printer sharing.

add a network printer

network printer

Advantages and disadvantages if you add a network printer?


  • You only need one printer for your entire network.
  • You save money on office equipment.
  • You save space.
  • You can turn an old printer into a network printer.


  • If another user is printing hundreds of pages on the network printer you will have to wait for them to finish printing.
  • The computer the network printer is attached to must be on for the printer to function. On the other hand if you have a true network printer then you only need the printer to be powered on the use network printing.
  • If another user is printing hundreds of pages on the network printer you will have to wait for them to finish printing.  Consider utilizing an online printing service if there is a large printing job.

Luckily you can now buy a network printer ready to connect to your network, however if you are trying to make use of an older type printer this tutorial can be helpful.


  1. Robert says

    These directions are great but I was unsuccessful in connecting to a printer on a WinXP computer from my Win7Pro computer. I was able to “see” the WinXP printer but not able to connect to it from Win7. The message was “Unable to connect to Windows Printer. Access denied”. Any suggestions?

  2. romit says

    don’t visible the current printer when i am going to control panel but show when i am printed some documents

  3. Khabar says

    Again the problem exists. It says:windows can not connect to the printer. The server print spooler service is not running.Please restart the spooler on the server or restart the server machine.

    How can I overcome such constraints.

  4. MarkS says

    Excellent, thank you……I had difficulty connecting a wireless networked PC in my daughter’s room running Vista Home basic onto my wife’s netwoked PC with Shared printer.

    Search wouldn’t find the printer in Vista…but manually entering the address sorted it. Thanks.

  5. Shashank says

    I have a printer & I want to make this printer as a network printer. Can anyone tel me the steps?

  6. don says

    Wow! I found your information regarding adding a shared printer on a Windows XP computer. Your example regarding printer name, etc. saved the day. Well done.

  7. Shondrea says

    Great information, and easy to follow, I used both instructions, adding my existing printer to a network and sharing the network. I am in college and my son just started, we have two desktops and a recently purchased net-book. It would have been overwhelming buying additional printers, thanks for all your help this saves us so much time and energy:)

  8. robin says

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, I need them for my new job, as the matter of fact I need all the help I can get because I never handled a printer before all by myself.