Sharing your Windows 7 printer with your Mac is a great way to economize on computing costs for your home, home office, or small business. By using one of several possible printer sharing techniques, you can allow multiple computers to share a single printer, and use the money you would have spent on another printer for something else, say a new iPad.
If you're like many of us, you have a mixed network of PCs and Macs; this is especially likely to be true if you're a new Mac user migrating from Windows. You may already have a printer hooked up to one of your PCs. Rather than buy a new printer for your new Mac, you can use the one you already have.
Printer sharing is usually a pretty easy DIY project, but in the case of Windows 7, you'll find that conventional sharing systems just won't work. Microsoft has once again modified how the sharing protocol works, which means we can no longer use the standard SMB sharing protocol we normally use with older versions of Windows. Instead, we have to find a different common protocol that both the Mac and Windows 7 can use.
We're going to return to an older printer sharing method that's been around for ages, one that both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard support: LPD (Line Printer Daemon).
LPD-based printer sharing should work for most printers, but there are some printers and printer drivers that will simply refuse to support network-based sharing. Luckily, trying the method we will outline for printer sharing has no associated cost; it just takes a little of your time. So, let's see if you can share the printer attached to your Windows 7 computer with your Mac running Snow Leopard.
What You Need for Windows 7 Printer Sharing
- A working network, either wired or wireless.
- A printer that's connected directly to your Windows 7 computer.
- A common workgroup name for the PC and Mac.
- A few minutes of your time.