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Sharing and Working with Devices in Your Network

In this chapter from Network Your Computer & Devices Step by Step, you will learn how to share a printer with the network or Homegroup and how to stop sharing it when you no longer need to use it as a network printer. Then, you will learn how to share a removable disk drive and how to transfer files between your mobile phones and your Windows 7 computers using Bluetooth.

Chapter at a Glance

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In the previous chapter, you learned how to share libraries, folders, and files with the computers on your home network. Fortunately, the list of things you can share on your network does not end here. You can also share some of the devices connected to your computer, the most common being the printer. Other devices include scanners, removable disk drives (such as USB memory sticks), or external hard disk drives.

Another positive is that you can connect yet more devices to the computers on your network and transfer files between them. One great example is your mobile phone. With the use of Bluetooth technology, you can connect your laptop or notebook with your mobile phone and exchange files among them (photos, short videos, music, and so on).

In this chapter, you will learn how to share a printer with the network or Homegroup and how to stop sharing it when you no longer need to use it as a network printer. Then, you will learn how to share a removable disk drive and how to transfer files between your mobile phones and your Windows 7 computers using Bluetooth.

Sharing a Printer with Computers on Your Home Network

In Chapter 1, we talked a lot about Device Stage and how this feature allows you to interact with all the external devices attached to your computer. This feature comes in handy, especially when working with printers. Your printer is accessible in the Devices And Printers panel. From here, you can perform all the configuration tasks, including sharing it with the other computers on your home network.

In this exercise, you will learn how to share a printer with your network in Windows 7. The exercise and illustrations were created using an HP Photosmart C5280 printer, but the same steps apply to any model of printer.

  1. Open the Start Menu and click Devices and Printers.

    The Devices And Printers panel opens, in which you can access all the external devices connected to your computer, including your printer.

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  2. Select your printer and right-click it.

    The contextual menu for the printer opens.

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  3. Click Printer properties.

    The Properties window for the selected printer opens.

  4. Click the Sharing tab.

    Here, you can see whether the printer is already shared.

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  5. Click the Change Sharing Options button.

    The sharing fields can now be edited.

  6. Select the Share this printer check box.

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  7. By default, the Share name of the printer is its model name. If you want to change it, type a new share name.

  8. If you want a negligible performance increase on your computer, check Render print jobs on client computers.

    When this option is enabled, printing jobs are no longer rendered on the computer to which the printer is attached but on the computers ordering the printing jobs. This prevents any performance impact on the host computer when the client computers start printing large files. However, modern computers are very powerful and the performance impact of this setting is negligible. It is up to you whether you want this setting enabled.

  9. Click OK.

    The printer is now shared with the computers on your network and they can install it and use it.