If you have a network where multiple devices and operating systems are used, you might not be able to use the Homegroup for easy network sharing. In such scenarios, you need to share your folders and devices using different procedures. For example, sharing a printer with the network involves a different and lengthier set of steps. Here's how it works, both in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
How to Share the Printer with the Network, in Windows
First, open the Devices and Printers panel. There you will see a list with all external devices installed on your PC. Go to the Printers section and select the printer you want to share.
Right click on it and select Printer properties. If you have a multifunctional printer installed that works also as a fax and/or scanner, then you may be asked to choose which kind of properties you want to select. Select the printer properties. In my case, I use a Canon Pixma MX410 multifunctional printer and I selected Printer properties -> Canon MX410 series Printer WS.
The printer's Properties window is opened. Depending on the printer model and its drivers, you will see different tabs and options.
Go to the Sharing tab, which is common to all printers.
Here you can share the printer with the entire network. Check the box which says "Share this printer". Then, you can edit the share name of the printer, in case you don't want to use the default provided by Windows.
Rendering all print jobs on client computers can help keep performance levels up on the computer where the printer is plugged in, especially when big printing jobs are ordered. Check the "Render print jobs on client computers" box if you want this feature enabled.
When done, click on OK. The printer is now shared with the computers on your network, indifferent of the operating systems they are using.
Now that your printer is shared with the network, you are done with the easy part. Next, you need to install it on the computers that need to use it. Below you will find some useful recommendations, that are worth reading.