We will continue our series on home networking topics with an article about how to install a network printer shared by a computer with almost any operating system on a Windows Vista computer. Before going to the installation process, make sure you check the recommended prerequisites so that you don't run into issues.
Before you start, make sure you have connected, turned on, and installed the printer on the computer which you use most often. Once done, share it with your network. If the computer to which the printer is connected has Windows 7 installed, check our guide on How to Share a Printer with Your Network.
Next, download the Windows Vista printer drivers on your Windows Vista computer and unarchive them, if needed. Make sure you download the drivers for your specific printer model and your Windows Vista version: 32-bit or 64-bit.
Even if Google might find many drivers and download locations, to be sure you find the correct and latest driver, go directly to the website of your printer's manufacturer.
Also, make sure you are logged on as an administrator. Otherwise, you cannot install any network printer.
Installing the Shared Network Printer
First, you need to open the Control Panel and go to 'Hardware and Sound'. There, you can either click on the 'Add a printer' found in the Printers section or you can click on Printers and then on the 'Add a printer' button.
The 'Add Printer' wizard will now start. Double-click on 'Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer' or click on it and press Next.
Windows Vista will now start searching for network printers. Select the one you want to install, from the list of discovered printers and click Next.
Windows Vista will now try to connect to the selected printer. This can take a few seconds.
When done, Windows Vista will either install the drivers automatically or notify you that it can't find the correct drivers for it. The second scenario is the one most likely to happen. When you see a message similar to the one below, click OK.
Windows Vista will now ask you to browse to the location where it can find the correct printer drivers. Click on Browse.
Navigate to the location where you unarchived the printer drivers. Now there are several options. You can find only a file with any name and the extension '.inf'. If that's the case, select it and click Open. If you find many files with the '.inf' extension, select the one with the name autorun and click Open.
Windows Vista will now start to install the printer. This will take a while, so be patient. Also, if you receive an UAC (User Account Control) prompt, click on Continue.
When done, you will see the window with the Printer name. Check if you want to set it as your default printer and click Next.
You are now done. You can either print a test page to confirm it works or you can click Finish and the process will end.
As you can see from this tutorial, the process of installing a network printer in Windows Vista is not that difficult. If you want to learn how to install a network printer in other operating systems, such as Windows XP, Mac OS X, or Ubuntu, check the articles recommended below.