Print From a Mac to a Shared Vista Printer Step-By-Step

Print from Mac to Shared Windows Printer

Setting up a printer to print directly from a computer is a no-brainer these days. Just connect the cable between the computer and the printer and your computer does the rest. You may have to tell the computer where the drivers are, but it will finish the setup. In a few minutes you are up and running and can print just about anything. But wait, what if you wanted to print to a printer on another computer on the same network? No problem. Enable the sharing capability of the printer and you are good to go. It doesn’t matter whether you are on a PC network or a Mac network. But wait – again!

What if you wanted to print from a Mac to a Windows PC that has a stand-alone printer attached? Oh, if that’s what you wanted then that doesn’t seem to work very well. At least if you search Apple’s support websites and Microsoft’s support websites there is only generic information on how to connect to the ‘other side’, no step-by-step guides. So after a few days of search and research on the net, I finally got it working. Here is a step-by-step procedure to print from a Mac to a shared Vista printer connected onto the same network.

Starting on the Vista workstation side, where the printer is attached to, there are a couple of things you need to make sure work first. For one, see whether this PC can browse the internet. If it can, the IP address is set up properly. Next, for the printer that is connected to it, make sure that you can print to it.

Then follow these steps:

1) Go to Control Panel – Programs and Features

2) Click on Turn Windows features on and off

3) Scroll through the list of features and look for the Print Services; make sure they are all checked and save your changes

4) Go back to Control Panel – Printers

5) Click on your printer, then right-click and in the pop-up menu click on sharing

6) Make sure that Share this printer is checked. Also, keep the share name one word; for e.g. I made Canon Inkjet i850 into Canoni850. Make note of this share name for the Mac procedure coming up in the next section.

7) Go back to Control Panel – Network and Sharing Center

8) I turned on the following things: Network Discovery, File Sharing, Public Folder Sharing, and Printer Sharing. Password Protected Sharing and Media Sharing are both off.

9) Click on Apply and OK as appropriate to save your changes and exit from Control Panel.

10) Make note of this PC’s IP Address. If you need help finding this, see the Procedure to Find Windows IP Address at the end of this post.

Now go over to the Mac side. The latest version of Mac OS X 10.6.x includes the CUPS printer drivers. These are Unix printer system drivers. As a caveat, this crossover platform printing will not work without these CUPS drivers. You may lose some functionality, but for the most part it should work. The CUPS drivers are updated periodically. Chances are your mainstream printer should be supported. There may be the possibility that the CUPS drivers do not include your particular model. In that case, see whether there is a more updated version of the drivers by going to the Gimp-print sourceforge net website. You can do a search on CUPS drivers mac on Google for the exact URL.

Then follow these steps on the Mac:

1) Click on the Apple icon – System Preferences – Print & Fax

2) Click on the (+) button

3) While holding down the control key click on the top of the Add Printer window, then click on the Customize Toolbar option

4) Drag the Advanced gear wheel between the windows and search textbox; click done

5) Then click the Advanced gear wheel icon; some processing will occur

6) You should have three lines: Type, Device, and URL at the top half of the Add Printer window

7) For Type select Windows from the drop-down

8) Leave Device at the default entry

9) At the URL, you should see smb:// Next to that type in your windows IP address/printerShareName. For e.g. it should look something like this: smb:// If you need to find your windows IP address see the Procedure to Find Windows IP Address at the end of this article.

10) The Name field will fill in automatically with the IP address; replace the contents of the Name field with a more familiar name like Canoni850. Leave location blank

11) In the Print Using: box click on the drop-down box and choose Select Printer Software

12) Another dialog box should appear. Choose the model that most closely matches your printer and click OK

13) Then click the Add button

14) Next open TextEdit and type something in a page and print it to your newly added printer.

15) You should now be up and running with a printer.

Procedure to Find Windows IP Address

1) At the windows workstation click on the World icon at the bottom left corner. Then in the start search line open a DOS command line window by typing in cmd and hit Enter

2) In the DOS window type in ipconfig and hit Enter

3) You may need to scroll, but you should be able to find the four octet address in the screen. It will be labeled something like Ipv4 Address or IP Address

Note: If you power on the Vista workstation everyday, there is a chance that the IP Address may change if it is dynamic. And, if it does change, the printer you configured on the Mac will also have to change to continue to work.