How can I set up a home network to share files and printers?

Jonathan Mould May 26, 2011

I want to be able to share files and printers across a home network.

Currently I have this set up:
1x desktop PC with Windows XP,
BT homehub router connected to desktop,
HP printer connected to desktop,
two laptops: one with Windows XP, one with Windows 7, both connected wirelessly to router.

  1. Jonathan Mould
    May 31, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for the comments guys, I'm gonna get a usb hub. Anyone know of a good one?

  2. Bruce Epper
    May 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    If you have the right model printer, you may be able to connect it directly to your router either wired or wireless.  By doing this, your desktop does not need to be running constantly for the other computers to be able to print.

    May 27, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Hello, first step you should take is making sure all devices belong to the same workgroup.
    The default name for workgroup when using windows is WORKGROUP.  You can keep that name or personalize it.  To change or check your workgroup name do the following:

    -- click on windows key + Pause/Break key at same time
    -- on menu/box that pops up click on computer name option
    -- if you want to keep WORKGROUP as your group click on ok, if not
    -- click on the change option
    -- type a new name on the workgroup box and click ok
    -- a box will pop up greeting you to the new group
    -- select restart computer
    -- if you change the workgroup name, change it on all the computers on your network

    The next you have to do is check that all the computers have the client for microsoft network checkmark and the File and Printer sharing for Microsoft Network checkmarked on the network connections.  To do so, these are the steps:

    -- click on start
    -- click on control panel
    -- Network and Internet connections
    -- click on network connections
    -- make sure that client for microsoft network and file and printer sharing for microsoft network is checkmarked.
    --  click on ok

    To share your printer with the other computers on your network, make sure to go to the printer configuration utility and share the printer by following the steps on one of the links provided on the first answer to the question.  Keep in mind that if you want to send something to print from any of the other computers to the shared printer, the desktop where the printer is attached to has to be on.  If your printer is attached to xp, as I am assuming, when you try printing from a windows 7/vista  computer and it is recognized on the network as shared, it will try to install the drivers for you.  Give the links on the first answer a read and those links should be able to provide any answers to any question you might have.  If not, post feedback if there is any problems.

  4. Anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 1:01 am

    There are many, many ways....these should help you get started:


    Each of those are excellent, detailed articles that should walk you through the process. I hope that's what you were looking for!