This article was first published on 2007-07-25. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
So you just got a new Mac and you are wondering whether you need a new printer too. Maybe you can just use your old printer on a network hooked up to your PC or Mac. Let’s take a look at a couple ways to get both computers printing from the same printer.
For many switchers that want to keep their PC around, there are a few ways to share one USB printer between both of their computers.
Admittedly, this task can be quite daunting at first, especially if you choose to leave the printer connected to the PC. Doing a quick Google search can leave you with many different tutorials on how do to this, leaving you clueless. Hopefully we’ll be able to explain to you an effective solution, soon.
To get started, you have to ask yourself one key question. Where do you want to leave your printer connected, the Mac or PC? If you bought a Macbook, for example, you most likely would want to leave it connected to your PC (assuming it is a desktop) so you can roam your house and print freely – not being stuck with an ugly black USB cable jetting out from the side of your new Mac, going to the printer.
With this decision made, please continue to the following sections accordingly.
I want to connect the printer to my Mac.
Lucky for us, Apple provides a great technology built into all Macs called Bonjour. (Formerly Rendezvous) Using this technology, networking your computers (Mac & PC) becomes a piece of cake.
Go to the Mac you intend to leave the printer connected to.
Note: We’ll assume the Mac can already print okay with the supplied printer. If not, please refer back to the instructions that came with your printer or to the manufacturer’s website for help setting it up on your Mac.
Open System Preferences by selecting the apple in your menu bar and clicking on “System Preferences”.
Click on “Print & Fax” and then select the “Sharing” tab. Now we’re going to check off the “Share these printers with other computers” box. In the list just below that, find your printer and make sure the selection box is checked off, if not, do so now.
Now we are ready to go onto the PC we would like to share our printer with.
Please visit this link and download the supplied piece of software, “Bonjour for Windows”. Next, run this software and follow the instructions.
Assuming the Mac & PC are on the same network, wireless or wired, the Bonjour software should see the shared printer and add it to your printer list in Windows. The Bonjour software walks you through the process and therefore shouldn’t need explanation.
One downside to this is the Mac will have to be turned on in order for the printer to be accessible. Assuming all is well – congratulations on your success.
I want to connect the printer to my PC.
Unfortunately, this process may take a bit longer so please bare with me.
Go to the Windows based computer and log on.
Note: We’ll assume the PC can already print okay with the supplied printer. If not, please refer back to the instructions that came with your printer or to the manufacturer’s website for help setting it up on your PC.
Click on Start > Control Panel > My Network Places > Network Connections.
In the task bar on the left of the window, you should notice a button that says “Change Windows Firewall Settings”. In the new window, click on the “Exceptions” tab.
We’ll need to make sure the Windows Firewall isn’t going to interfere so we’ll need to click on “Add Port”, entering “Shared Printer” (or something you choose) in the Name field and “515” in the Port field. Leave everything else the same and choose “Ok”.
Back in the Control Panel, click on “Add or Remove Programs”. On the left, click on “Add/Remove Windows Components”, double clicking on the “Other Network File and Print Services” in the new window. Ensure “Print Services for Unix” is checked, if not, check it.
Now, continue the setup till it has been installed successfully. You may need your Windows install disk to complete the setup. Now you can go close out all the current windows and go back to your desktop.
We’ll need to open up Control Panel once more. Back in the Control Panel, you’ll need to see if on the left it says “Switch to Classic View” and click it. If you have “Switch to Icon View” instead, you are already in Classic and do not have to do anything.
In Classic View, click on Administrative Tools > Services. Now click on the “Extended” tab and look for the TCP/IP Print Server, turning it on and telling it to automatically do so from here out.
We’re almost done on the Windows computer – don’t worry. Open up the Control Panel once more and click on “Printers and Faxes”. Hopefully you should see your printer in the list. Right click it, and then on “Properties”. Click on the “Sharing” tab in the new window and set the “Share Name” something short & w/o spaces.
Now you can close out the windows after saving your changes. The last step on the PC is to open up the “Start Menu” and click on “Run”. In the small box that appears, type in “cmd”.
A black window will open up and you will need to type in “ipconfig”, then hit enter. You’ll need to note the IP address of the computer which we’ll use a bit later. (It usually is 192.168.x.x)
Almost done, stick in there. Now we need to head over to the Mac and open a Terminal window. Terminal can be found by clicking on the Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.app. A white window should open up, this is Terminal. (a bit similar to the command prompt in Windows)
Now we need to type in the following, exactly.
Now hit enter and then type in the following, once again.
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/smbspool smb
You will be asked for an administrative password, which you will have to enter.
Open up “System Preferences” by clicking on the blue apple in the menu bar, and clicking on “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu. In the new window, click on “Sharing” (3 rows down) and then check off “Printer Sharing” under the “Services” tab.
Note: If you already had “Printer Sharing” powered on, you’ll need to turn it off then on again for this to work.
Open up your web browser and type in http://127.0.0.1:631, selecting “Manage Printers”, then on the new page, “Add Printer” towards the bottom left.
Note: Sometime during this process you may be asked for an administrator’s account name and password. This is your Mac’s username & password.
Type in a name (mine is “Shared”), location, and a description. (None of which matter too much) Clicking “Continue”, look down in the drop down box for “LPD/LPR Host or Printer” which we will need to select, then clicking continue.
The “Device URL” is in the following format. Please type this in, filling in all the appropriate information.
For Example: lpd://192.168.x.x/hpprinter
Clicking “Continue”, you will now need to choose the make & model of your printer.
Note: If your printer isn’t listed – don’t panic. Use a printer similar to yours. (I have an HP PSC1510, not listed, and used an HP Deskjet series driver – works great)
Now you can try printing something from your Mac and it should work fine. As in the Mac section, you will need to keep your Windows PC powered on in order to keep the printer accessible. Find Toner Cartridges at 247InkToner.com as well as other printing essentials. Good luck!
Kevin Schaefer is a hobbyist photographer and can be found on the internet at KevinSchaefer.net.
Whew! Was that too much or could you follow along? Have you found an easier way to share a printer between a Mac and PC? Let us know in the Comments section below.