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Old 10-08-2012, 05:24 PM
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My laptop can't find my network printer - how do I open its eyes?

When I go through "Add a Printer," I get to a spot that says "browse for a printer" and when I click that, it doesn't find the printer that's attached to my desktop. I have checked to enable sharing on that computer, but even though it's available, it's not being detected, so that I never get a list of available printers that would include that one. It used to work, but now it doesn't. Anything I can try to hook this thing back up? Thanks, Dopers. xo, C.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:38 PM
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Is there a setting or switch, either on the printer or in the printer's software settings, that enables Wifi sharing? Is it only the laptop that doesn't see the printer or do other wireless devices also fail to connect?

ETA, Is it plugged in? ;-)

Last edited by Flander; 10-08-2012 at 05:39 PM. Reason: I'm just asking...
Old 10-08-2012, 05:41 PM
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The desktop computer is connected by wire to the printer. In the past, I could print something from the laptop to the printer. I don't know how. Both computers are connected to a wireless network for internet.
Old 10-08-2012, 06:12 PM
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Ok, on the desktop open the printer, and check that Sharing is enabled - it may have turned off.

Check the network settings on the two computers - they should be in the same Workgroup, otherwise they won't see each other.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:44 PM
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I should say I'm still with XP. I don't have any "workgroups" in my network settings. The laptop and the desktop are just in the same wireless network. I must be so stupid that I'm overlooking something significantly major. Oh, well.
Old 10-08-2012, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CC View Post
In the past, I could print something from the laptop to the printer. I don't know how. .
What has changed since you were able to do that? Check for any updated printer drivers online.
Old 10-08-2012, 07:36 PM
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If all else fails, you can often add a printer manually. With my Brother printers, clicking three times on the "Start" button on the printer will print a set of diagnostic pages. One of them includes both the current IP address and network name. Typing in the name seems to keep the laptop able to talk to the printer without any future problems.

This may not be the most elegant solution, but I find it a lot easier than troubleshooting the rest of the features.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:16 PM
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If I had to guess, and for now, I do have to guess, the printer has been getting an IP address on your network via DHCP, and that process recently changed the IP.

I've set static IP addresses on all of my printers and wired devices so there's no messing with things getting new IPs every few days. It's a bit of a minor hassle at the start of what could otherwise be "plug and play" but it helps avoid future headaches.

If your router is like 99% of them, your network is using addresses that start as 192.168.1.x - you should be able to assign 192.168.1.120 to the printer. Exactly how to do this will depend on your particular brand and model of printer.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:19 PM
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Ah, the old changing IP address thing - whatever the hell that means. I love how much I've learned over the years at the SD. Just now, for instance, I learned that I need to get my friend, Phil, over here to help me fix this goddammed computer. Thank you one and all.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:24 PM
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You (IIRC) need to specifically enable sharing for the printer via the printer setup menu under XP not just the computer attached to the printer.

Also, generally I've found it's far easier for wireless PCs to find printers if the printers are setup and connected as a TCP-IP network devices and hooked to the wireless router hub network port via an Ethernet cable vs trying to access them as devices hooked via USB cables to the desktop computer. This also allows access to the printer even if the desktop PC is off.

Last edited by astro; 10-08-2012 at 08:25 PM.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CC View Post
I should say I'm still with XP. I don't have any "workgroups" in my network settings.
Yes, you do have work groups in Windows XP. Right click on "Computer", select "Properties", then left click on the "Computer Name" tab; you will see the Workgroup name here.. The workgroup is probably "MSHOME" or "WORKGROUP"; make sure both computers are the same.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 10-08-2012 at 08:27 PM.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:27 PM
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Even before seeing the printer, can the laptop see the desktop? Any chance they're not joining the same workgroup at login? If so, they wouldn't be able to see each other. If the laptop can't see the desktop, it's not going to see anything the desktop thinks it's sharing.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
If I had to guess, and for now, I do have to guess, the printer has been getting an IP address on your network via DHCP, and that process recently changed the IP.
This is a shared printer, not a network printer. Shared printers don't have their own IP address.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:44 PM
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This is a shared printer, not a network printer. Shared printers don't have their own IP address.
Many laser printers these days, even cheap ones, have ethernet ports.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
Many laser printers these days, even cheap ones, have ethernet ports.
I'm just going by what the OP said. It's a shared printer connected to a computer on the network.
Old 10-08-2012, 09:03 PM
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Or, just carry the laptop to where the printer is and plug the printer directly into the laptop, but I'm kind of a Luddite at times.
Old 10-09-2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Yes, you do have work groups in Windows XP. Right click on "Computer", select "Properties", then left click on the "Computer Name" tab; you will see the Workgroup name here.. The workgroup is probably "MSHOME" or "WORKGROUP"; make sure both computers are the same.
Ah, you learn something every day. Ok, I DO have a workgroup, and both computers have the same one. At some point, the computer asks me to tell it what computer to attach to and it asks for a URL. I put in the IP address, but that didn't work. How do I figure out the specific URL of my desktop? Maybe that will work. Jeezus, how do they let people walk out of a store with one of these things without their having the foggiest idea of how to work them?
Old 10-09-2012, 11:59 AM
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Jeezus, how do they let people walk out of a store with one of these things without their having the foggiest idea of how to work them?
Home Depot will happily sell you a hammer, saw, nails, and lumber, those dont include "how to build a house" lessons, no matter how much you buy from them.
Old 10-09-2012, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
Home Depot will happily sell you a hammer, saw, nails, and lumber, those dont include "how to build a house" lessons, no matter how much you buy from them.
I can't get my hammer to properly connect with the nails I just purchased. The hammer sees the nail, and the nail sees the hammer, but when I attempt to actively connect the two, hammer is somehow redirected and connects with my thumb.
Old 10-09-2012, 03:50 PM
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Jesus, you guys - I was just confessing to my own ignorance, not suggesting that there be a test before you purchase the thing. Jeez.
Old 10-09-2012, 04:02 PM
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Jesus, you guys - I was just confessing to my own ignorance, not suggesting that there be a test before you purchase the thing. Jeez.
Touch of a sore spot...I get customers calling back pissed off because they cant figure out how to make their 12 year old printer to work and wonder where the floppy drive is so they can load the DOS program that they run their whole business on.

and this is apparently my fault even though they never mentioned anything beyond I want a computer.
Old 10-09-2012, 05:13 PM
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Here's the way I would do it. On your laptop, click Start -> Run and then type in "\\desktopname or IP address" and hit OK. A window should come up showing the folders and printers being shared from the desktop. You should be able to double click the printer and then it should map the printer on your laptop.

This gets harder when they OSes are different because you would be using different drivers, but since both machines are XP, you should be OK.
Old 10-09-2012, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Aestivalis View Post
Here's the way I would do it. On your laptop, click Start -> Run and then type in "\\desktopname or IP address" and hit OK. A window should come up showing the folders and printers being shared from the desktop. You should be able to double click the printer and then it should map the printer on your laptop...
Boy, this sounded promising, but when I typed in the IP address of my desktop and hit OK, I got a message saying, "No network provider accepted the given network path." I double checked the IP address by going to a number of sites that will report to you what your IP address is. (I don't know another way to determine that.) But thanks.
Old 10-09-2012, 06:49 PM
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Boy, this sounded promising, but when I typed in the IP address of my desktop and hit OK, I got a message saying, "No network provider accepted the given network path." I double checked the IP address by going to a number of sites that will report to you what your IP address is. (I don't know another way to determine that.) But thanks.
you would need to go to the desktop

Start
run
cmd
a black dos prompt box will pop up
type ipconfig

the ip address of your machine will be there

the way you are doing it give your internet ip, not your machine IP address on your network

your interent ip might be 66.123.145.77
the address of your router is probably 192.168.1.1, 192.168.1.254, or 10.1.10.1

your machines would have addresses with a higher number for the last digit.

Last edited by drachillix; 10-09-2012 at 06:51 PM.
Old 10-09-2012, 06:55 PM
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If you would like I can do a remote session with you and see if its something I can fix quickly. No charge, but tips highly encouraged
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