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How to share a printer? A comprehensive printer sharing guide

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If you are using a printer at home or in your office and looking for a way to get the much desired ability to access your peripheral from a remote computer, then you've come to the right place. In this guide, I’ll highlight the simplest ways to share your printer for remote access. The good news for Windows users: you can do this with the help of the built-in HomeGroup feature working across LAN. The even better news: if you’d like to go further than your local network and share a printer over the Internet, there are efficient software apps that can help you easily achieve this. Plus, the dedicated programs will let you share printers from not only Windows but also Mac, Linux, and Android. Read on to learn more.


Sharing printer over the Internet with the software

As I’ve already mentioned, the standard Windows options allow you to connect your printer to network only within a local area. So, I’ll start the write-up with more versatile solutions like FlexiHub and USB Network Gate. These third-party tools work across any distance and make it possible to redirect printers over the Internet.


FlexiHub

If you don’t know which solution to choose to share a USB device over IP, you may use an efficient printer sharing software - FlexiHub. It allows access and helps to share a printer on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android platforms.

FlexiHub

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
4.8 Rank based on 78+ users

FlexiHub easily connects any remote printer no matter where it is.

FlexiHub

Share printer with FlexiHub

Step-by-step guide:
1
Register a free FlexiHub account here or directly in the app later.
 Register a free FlexiHub account
2
Start a FlexiHub demo by choosing the number of connections
 Start a FlexiHub demo
3
Install and open the software on both machines participating in the connection. To log in enter your registration e-mail and password.
 Install and open the software
4
In the FlexiHub interface find the printer you are going to connect to and click the "Connect" button.
 Find the printer you are going to connect
5
That’s it! You may manage the printer like it is plugged to your computer directly!
 printer sharing last step
6
Your printer will be redirected to the machine, and you can use it as if it were connected physically to the computer.

icon pros Pros.

  • The app works via wireless network;
  • All connections are protected with advanced encryption;
  • The app enables you to share any USB and Serial devices – scanners, web cameras, projectors, mobile phones, etc.

icon cons Cons.

  • Free version doesn't allow to access remote devices;
  • The software has to be installed on all of your machines which will connect to the remote printer.

USB Network Gate

Looking for an easy and effective way to share a printer over the network? USB Network Gate is specifically designed to provide remote access to USB devices, and will certainly help with sharing a printer over network in a couple of clicks.

Few easy steps:

  1. Download and install USB Network Gate. Install it on other computers as well.
  2. Once you install it, the printer to be shared will be displayed in the Devices window. If you need to change the port, add encryption into the connection or encipher data transfer – press the gearwheel icon next to Share. Once the setup is complete, click Share. Now the printer can be seen on all machines with USB Network Gate.

USB Network Gate

Windows XP and later, OS X 10.9+, Ubuntu 14.04+, Android 5.0+
4.9 Rank based on 179+ users

Looking for an easy and effective way to share printer over LAN? USB Network Gate is specifically designed to provide remote access to USB devices, and will certainly help with sharing a printer over network in a couple of clicks.

USB Network Gate

icon pros Pros.

  • 14-days trial version has a complete functionality;
  • App is available for Mac and Linux also;
  • Licensing works as standard software – you will only have to pay once;
  • Unlike FlexiHub, it is capable to share printers over LAN as well.

icon cons Cons.

  • Once the trial period is over you will need to buy a license for $159.95;
  • The app has to be installed on every computer that needs access to the printer.
Sharing printer over network

How to share a USB printer over the network in Windows 10

Windows 10 has a feature that allows you to share a USB printer over the network. With its help, a printer plugged into one of your networked machines can be accessed from any other PC in your LAN or Wi-Fi. The set-up is somewhat similar to the one we’ve talked about in the article on how to share a printer in Windows 7, yet, in Windows 10, there are a few small differences. Please, keep on reading to find out more about the details.

Here is a quick guide on how to share a printer:

  1. Before proceeding to share a USB printer on the network, make sure said printer is hooked up to a computer, connected to a power supply, and turned on.

  2. Open the Devices and Printers tab. To do that, click on the Start icon, and go to Settings→Devices→Devices and Printers.

  3. In the invoked tab, find the printer you want to share, right-click on its name, and pick Printer properties from the pop-up menu. printer properties
  4. Go to the Sharing tab and tick the box Share this printer. share this printer

Note: If you plan to share a USB printer with both Windows 32-bit and Windows 64-bit machines, be sure to tick the box Render print jobs on client computers to avoid problems with installing the printer on a client-side.


render print jobs on client computers

How to access a shared USB printer over the network in Windows 10

Now that you know how to share a USB printer between two computers (or more, as required), it’s time to learn how to access the said printer from a remote machine. There are two different ways to do that and you're the one who has to decide which one you like more.

Method 1:

  1. Open the Devices and Printer tab, then click Add Printer.
  2. In the invoked window, click the lint that says The printer that I want isn’t listed.
  3. You’ll see the next tab with the list called Find a printer by other options. On this list, you need to choose the Select a shared printer by name option.
  4. Click the Browse button and find the printer you want to access. printer you want to access
  5. On the invoked dialog window, click the Install driver button. Then click Next. install driver

Once the installation is completed, you'll be able to see the shared printer on the remote machine’s Devices and Printers tab.

Method 2:

  1. Launch the File Explorer.
  2. Go to the Network folder.
  3. Right-click on the computer you’ve shared the printer from, and pick Connect from the drop-down menu. connection

There you are.
The best part about having your printer shared through Windows 10 network is providing access to the printer for all machines in your network at a time. This means, you can avoid emailing your files to a PC connected to the printer directly.
Also, it’s worth noting that there are specifically developed software applications for those who need to share a printer over the Internet.

Wireless Printer

One of the most useful capabilities you may find in a modern printer is the built in networking. More and more current-day printers come with support for Wi-Fi, Ethernet or both. This is very convenient, as you don’t need to have your PC turned on to be able to access the printer. Now, you can connect to the printer directly over the network.

There’s no a general instruction on how to configure the networking option on your printer, as the set up depends on the type of the printer you have. But if you are sure that your device supports this feature just check the manual that came with your printer or the manufacturer’s website for information.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Register For The FlexiHub Free Demo

  2. Select The Number Of Connections

  3. Install And Run FlexiHub On Both Computers (Login Using Registration Email/Password)

  4. Locate Your Printer And Hit “Connect
  1. Make Sure Both Computers Are Ethernet-Compatible (If Not, An External Adapter Is Required)

  2. Connect Both Computers Together With Your Ethernet Cable

  3. Go To: “Network & Internet” > “Change Advanced Sharing Settings” > “Turn On File And Printer Sharing” > “Save Changes

  4. Open The File Explorer On The Second Computer And Locate The System Sharing The Printer You Want To Access
  1. Connect Your Printer To One Computer Using An A/B USB Cable

  2. After Installing The Printer Drivers (Software) Navigate As Follows: “Start Menu” > ”Control Panel” > ”Hardware And Sound” > ”Devices And Printers

  3. Locate Your Printer, Right-Click And Select “Printer Properties

  4. Click The “Sharing” Tab And Check The Box Beside “Share This Printer

  5. Go To: “Control Panel” > “Network And Internet” > “HomeGroup” And Create A HomeGroup (Write Down The Provided Password, You’ll Need It Later)

  6. On The Second Computer, Go To: “Control Panel” > “Network And Internet” > “HomeGroup” > “Join Now” And Follow Instructions

  7. Go To “Devices And Printers” > ”Add A Printer” > ”Select A Shared Printer By Name” > ”The Printer I Want Isn’t Listed

  8. Double-Click Your Shared Printer Then Hit “Next” And Follow The Instruction To Complete
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