Join Two Computers to One Printer

Dear Computer Lady,

I recently purchased an Asus laptop and would like to set up my printer to it though it is now hooked up to my desktop (HP)….

Is it possible to have two computers joined to one printer and if so, please send specific instructions on how to do it.

many thanks, Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

It is possible to use your printer from multiple computers in your house, however, you would not physically hook the printer to both computers at the same time.

There are several different options, lets look at a few.

If you keep your printer connected to your desktop, you can network the two computers together, and share the printer on the network. This is a common setup in many offices, but if you have two different operating systems on your two computers, it is sometimes tricky to set up. It is not possible to give specific instructions because there are so many variables.

You can purchase a usb device designed to share a printer between two devices. I have never set one up, but they are sold online for about $20.

If your printer has an Ethernet port on the back, plug it directly into your router, and use it over the network. This is the ideal setup. It is easy to setup following the printer manufacturer’s instructions, you can print from any computer on your network, even wirelessly from your laptop.

If your printer doesn’t have an Ethernet port, you can purchase a print server to connect it to your network. I have found print servers very difficult to set up, but not impossible.

You can get a new printer with wireless printing. These are very popular right now, and somewhat easy to set up. You would have to follow the directions supplied by the manufacturer as it varies from one model to the next.

Hopefully, one of these options will work for you. If you find yourself needing to purchase new equipment in order to print from multiple computers, my first choice would be a printer with an ethernet port. Easiest to set up, and stays connected the best.

Elizabeth

 

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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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