How to Print on a PC Printer from a Mac

Before I switched to a Mac, I had a home network set up so that I could print and share files without many problems. Having a networked printer is great for anyone with a laptop. My wife’s computer at home is a PC (not for long, though) and the printer is hooked up to it. We do have a network set up and we constantly transfer files back and forth between our computers.

I want to be able to print at home without disconnecting everything from her computer and connecting it to my MacBook. I have heard that it is super easy to add printers in OS X, but haven’t tried to add one on a network yet. I have, however had excellent success adding printers anywhere else, especially if they are IP printers.

It started off well enough, I selected “add new printer,” then chose “more printers” and chose Windows printing.

Network Neighborhood worked instead of Workgroup for our XP network. I connected to the network, authenticated, and then tried to print. No dice.

I didn’t know what to do, and I couldn’t find any helpful resources on the internet. So, I decided to try turning on file and Windows sharing in the sharing preference pane.

I will spare you the frustrations that entail when adding the printer 15 times and authenticating with different passwords. Let me digress here and say that I am shocked that when I was trying to add my printer, there was no search box that allowed me to type in part of the printer number and narrow the search down. Instead, I had to scroll through that list for a long time trying to find the browser. And, besides, nobody owns or uses the things at the top of a long list. People always use what is the third or fourth one from the bottom (maybe I should start looking at the bottom, instead of the top).

What finally worked was authenticating through the add printer dialog as my wife’s username and password. Well, at least I thought that would work. That spit out 20 blank pages and 5 gibberish pages. But at least the connection was not refused as it had been so many times before.

Back to the drawing board. Another search led me to Gutenprint, so I tried to add the printer again after installing that. That worked! Kind of.

Gutenprint only kind of worked because it didn’t have my printer model number: HP PSC 2355xi all-in-one. I had to choose a lower model number (HP PSC 2210) and that one printed out my document correctly.

I decided that I would try to install the specific printer driver again, and see if that worked. I had already done this, but for some reason, my specific printer model never showed up. I installed it, and my printer driver never showed up. So, I guess that I will have to stick with a lower model number than my printer’s model number. I can live with that.

I still had a question, though, what about Windows sharing? I know that is for Windows users to be able to print to a printer connected to my Mac. I disabled that and file sharing and it worked just fine.

This took me a long time to figure out, and it was very frustrating. I am happy to say that it is pretty much the only frustrating thing that has happened since I switched to a Mac. Frustration was a weekly theme when working with my PCs in the past.

So, in summary, to add a printer via the network your Mac that is connected via USB to a PC on your network, download Guten-print and be sure to authenticate as a real user of that PC.


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