Microsoft's Windows 10 April 2018 Update made several significant changes to the operating system, including new data privacy protections, better security protocols, the addition of artificial intelligence APIs, and virtualization improvements. But the update also included many smaller changes that you may not notice right away.
For example, it removed the HomeGroup application, something you or your small home-based office may not notice until you try to print a document. That's because one of HomeGroup's primary functions was to facilitate the sharing of printers on a small network without resorting to Wi-Fi or router configurations. Small networks can still share a printer after the April 2018 Update, but it requires some convoluted setup.
This how-to tutorial will show you how to share a printer connected to a PC with the rest of a small local network now that HomeGroup is gone. Note: The PC to which the printer is connected must be on and logged in before any sharing can take place. This technique for sharing a printer can be effective for small home-based networks with printers that are not Wi-Fi enabled.
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Sharing a printer
Before you can do any printer sharing, you must first enable it. While sharing may be on by default for your computer, it's best to check it first so it won't cause problems later.
Open the Windows Setting screen by right-clicking the Start Menu and selecting Settings. Click the Network & Internet link and then click Sharing Options to reach the screen shown in Figure A.
Be sure both the Turn On Network Discovery and the Turn On File And Printer Sharing radio buttons are set to On. Save any changes, close out the screen, and navigate back to Windows Settings.
Now, click the Devices link and use the navigation menu on the left to find the Printers & Scanners section, shown in Figure B. Find the printer you want to share, or add it if it is not listed, and left-click it to reveal your options.
Click the Manage button and then click Printer Properties to reveal even more options (Figure C). Click the Sharing tab and then click the Change Sharing Options button. You'll need administrative access to make any changes.
The next screen, shown in Figure D, will indicate your intention to share the specified printer, how print jobs will be rendered, and whether you will make additional drivers available. In most cases, the default settings will be adequate. Click OK to save your settings and close the screen.
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The printer is now being shared to other computers in your local network, but those other computers may not automatically connect to it as is intended. You may have to manually connect the printer through the settings screen.
To check the connection, on another computer connected to your network, do as before and open the Windows Setting screen by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Settings. Then click Devices and use the navigation menu on the left to find the Printers & Scanners section (Figure B).
If you're fortunate, the printer will be found and will be able to access the shared device.
However, in some cases you may be required to provide the full printer name and its location. If so, click the Add Printers & Scanner button to allow Windows to search for your shared printer (Figure E).
If it doesn't find it, click The Printer That I Want Is Not Listed. Then clickSelect A Shared Printer By Name, as shown in Figure F, and add the name of the computer and the connected printer manually. Click Next to complete the process.
Note: If you have a computer connected to your local network that has not received the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and it's still running the HomeGroup application, it may not be able to see the shared printer at all. To connect using the new system, you will have to force the April 2018 Update installation.
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- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: Problems knock users but adoption still soars to 50% (ZDNet)
Did the removal of HomeGroup impact your ability to share printers? Join the discussion below and tell your peers at TechRepublic about your experiences.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.