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Please bear with me folks, I'll try and be as concise as possible. I'm admittedly not the brightest or most experienced IT person on the block, but I'm as close as our small non-profit medical office can get. I wasn't able to identify a solution thru a forum search.

We have a simple P-P network with four Windows XP machines- three Pro SP2 (\\PC1, 2 and 3) and 1 Home SP2 (\\PC4). We have an HP laser printer on PC2 and an HP color laser on PC3, both connected via USB. We use a cable ISP and a Buffalo wireless router/DHCP server. Apps and usage for all machines is pretty basic- email, web and MS Office.

The problem we have involves printer sharing, though our local network connectivity is pretty reliable. Specifically, both printers are shared, but not available to all machines using the Add Printer Wizard. For example, PC1 & 2 can see only PC2's printer, PC3 can see both printers, PC4 can see neither (both printers are always available to their host machines). The AP Wizard is unable to find network printer(s) either by browsing or by specifying \\computer name\printer name. Additionally, when a target printer IS found, a Windows login ID & password must be entered before the printer can be installed(!?). I've never had to do this with my home network- 3 XP PC's & 2 HP printers.

I've checked the obvious stuff on all four PC's:

  • Same workgroup name on all four.
  • Printer device and share names are unique and less than 8 alphanumeric only characters (no $'s).
  • Printer sharing is enabled and set for 'always available'.
  • Windows File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is installed and checked.
  • NetBEUI and IPX/SPX are uninstalled, subnet mask on all machines is set to 255.255.255.0.
  • All Windows accounts are Admins.
  • Windows firewall (no other fw installed) and AV disabled.


Any thoughts? I'm stymied- any light that could be shed on this would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Last Post by HoustonIT
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Do the user names and passwords match on all PC's? Windows can act flakey when you setup a workgroup with different usernames and passwords on each box.

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Do the user names and passwords match on all PC's? Windows can act flakey when you setup a workgroup with different usernames and passwords on each box.

Thanks for the response!
The only Windows ID common to all is my own, which uses the same PW on all machines.
I generally try to install stuff under the particular user's account, but perhaps I should be doing this under my own?

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If your account is universal I would log into it on say PC1 and try to access the shares on each other pc. If that resolves the problem then the easiest way to proceed would be to create matching accounts on each PC.

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If your account is universal I would log into it on say PC1 and try to access the shares on each other pc. If that resolves the problem then the easiest way to proceed would be to create matching accounts on each PC.

Thanks, I'll give it a try!
-55d

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Tried common accounts on all machines, but without substantial improvement. In one instance I no longer had to enter ID/PW on the target box, but XP returned a "network path could not be found" error.

A friend recommended Pure Networks' 'Network Magic' software. I usually avoid apps that promise to fix things for me, but in desperation I installed the app on all machines.

Fantastic!! Just like that all printers are seen on all machines, and sharing printers or files is a one-click process. It's a simple little app designed for home or small office networks with 8 or fewer PC's. It has a clean, non-techie oriented UI, and a cool graphical 'Newtwork Map' feature.

PC Nerds may see it as unnecessary, but it worked for us- Microsuck printer sharing now works as it's supposed to, in mixed XP Home/Pro/MCE and Vista networks.

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