purposes of sharing files and peripherals, the standard Users group provides
all the access that any individual on the network would normally need.
To add users to your network, follow these steps:
1. Choose StartāŖSettingsāŖControl Panel and double-click the Users and
This brings up the Users and Passwords dialog box.
2. Click the Add button to launch the New User Wizard and add users to
216 Part IV: Using a Wireless Network
3. Follow the wizardā™s onscreen prompts to enter a name, logon name,
description, password, and then which group the user will be part of.
New users should always start as part of the Users group (also referred
to as the Restricted Access group), which is the lowest possible access
level. Starting users at the lowest possible access level is the best way for
you to share your files without compromising your networkā™s security.
Accessing shared files
Whether drives, folders, or single files are set up for sharing on your wireless
home network, you access the shared thing in pretty much the same way. On
any networked PC, you simply log onto the network, head for Network
Neighborhood (or My Network Places, as the case may be), and navigate to
the file (or folder or drive) that you want to access. Itā™s really as easy as that.
Just because you can see a drive, folder, or file in Network Neighborhood,
however, doesnā™t necessarily mean that you have access to that drive, folder,
or file. It all depends on set permissions.
Be Economical: Share Those Peripherals
Outside of the fact that there is only so much space on your desk or your
kitchen countertop, you simply donā™t need a complete set of peripherals at
each device on your network. For instance, digital cameras are becoming
quite popular, and you can view pictures on your PC, on your TV, and even in
wireless picture frames around the house. But you probably only need one
color printer geared toward printing high-quality photos for someone to take
home (after admiring your wireless picture frames!).
The same is true about a lot of peripherals: business card scanners, backup
drives (such as Zip and Jaz drives), and even cameras. If you have one device
and itā™s network enabled, anyone on the wireless network should be able to
access that for the task at hand.
Setting up a print server
The most common shared peripheral is a printer. Setting up a printer for
sharing is really easy, and using it is even easier.
Chapter 11: Putting Your Wireless Home Network to Work
You might have several printers in your house, and different devices might
have different printers ā” but they all can be shared. You might have the
color laser printer on your machine, a less expensive one (with less expensive
consumables like printer cartridges, too) for the kidā™s computer, and a high-
quality photo printer maybe near the TV set plugged into a USB port of a net-
workable A/V device. Each of these can be used by a local device . . . if properly
Here are the steps that you need to take to share a printer:
1. Enable printer sharing within the operating system of the computer to
which the printer is attached.
2. Set up sharing for the installed printer.
We say installed printer because we assume that youā™ve already installed
the printer locally on your computer or other device.
3. Remotely install the printer on every other computer on the network.
We describe remote installation in the aptly named section āRemotely
installing the printer on all network PCs.ā
4. Access the printer from any PC on the network!
Throughout the rest of this section, we go through these four general steps in
much more detail.
Enabling printer sharing
Your first task is to enable the printer sharing within the Windows OS of the
computer to which the printer is attached. This is the same process as shar-
ing a folder (see the earlier section āSharing a document or folderā) and is
available by default in Windows 2000/XP.
Windows 95/98/Me shares the printer drivers for that printer. Itā™s the same as
sharing a folder. Because most people will be using a workgroup type of net-
work (see the earlier section āSetting up a workgroupā), having the printer
drivers easily accessible makes adding those shared printers to your other
computers a lot simpler.
In the shared folder that you create, copy the printer software that came with
your printer. These days, most printers have their software on CD-ROM. The
simplest way to make that accessible is to share the CD-ROM drive of the
computer that the printer is attached to. Now you have full access to the
printerā™s software without having to use up space on one of your hard drives.
218 Part IV: Using a Wireless Network
Setting up sharing for the installed printer
After you enable printer sharing, itā™s time to . . . can you guess? . . . share your
To share a printer on Windows 95/98/Me, just follow these steps:
1. Go to your Printers folder by choosing StartāŖSettingsāŖPrinters and
then right-clicking the printer that you want to share.
2. From the pop-up menu that appears, choose the Sharing option.
3. Select the appropriate radio button to share the printer and then con-
sider adding some descriptive words in the Comment field like Photo
Printer in Living Room.
Keep in mind the eight-character limit for device names that we mention
Just like in file sharing, you can set a password at the same place where
you activate sharing in the Sharing dialog box. We canā™t see a reason to
add a password for a printer, but you might want to because some print-
ers (like photo printers) have high consumables costs (photo paper often
costs more than a buck per sheet). This is likely one of the reasons why
Windows 2000/XP carries its security policy to printers as well as files.
4. Click OK.
Your printer is shared. Didnā™t we tell you that this was simple?
Windows 2000/XP are more sophisticated operating systems and subse-
quently have a server type of print sharing. In other words, they offer all the
features of a big network with servers on your local machine. These features
include the ability to assign users to manage the print queue remotely,
embed printer software for easier installation, and manage when the printer
will be available based on a schedule that you define.
To share a printer on Windows 2000/XP, follow these steps:
1. Choose StartāŖSettingsāŖPrinters and Faxes (or simply choose
StartāŖPrinters and Faxes, depending on how your Start menu is
2. Right-click the printer in the Printers folder and choose Properties
from the pop-up menu that appears.
Chapter 11: Putting Your Wireless Home Network to Work
3. On the Sharing tab of the dialog box that appears, click the Additional
4. Select which operating systems you want to support to use this shared
printer and also select the other types of drivers needed for your
other computer systems and devices; then click OK.
5. When prompted, insert a floppy disk or CD-ROM and direct the sub-
sequent dialog boxes to the right places on those devices to get the
driver for each operating system that you chose.
Windows finds those drivers and downloads them to the Windows
2000/XPā™s hard drive. Then, when you go to install the printer on your
other computers (see the next section), the Windows 2000/XP machine,
which is sharing the printer, automatically transfers the proper printer
drivers and finishes the installation for you. Darned sweet if you ask us!
Remotely installing the printer on all network PCs
The third step is done at every other PC in the house. Basically, you install
the printer on each of these computers, but in a logical way ā” logically as
opposed to physically installing and connecting the printer to each computer.
You install the printer just like any other printer except that youā™re installing
a network printer, and the printer installation wizard will search the network
for the printers that you want to install.
The process that youā™ll use will vary depending on the operating system that
you use and the type of printer that youā™re trying to install. In every case,
read the printer documentation before you start because some printers
require their software to be partially installed before you try to add the
printer. Weā™ve seen this a lot with multifunction printers that support scan-
ning, copying, and faxing.
With Windows, the easiest way to start the installation of a printer is to look
inside Network Neighborhood (or My Network Places), find the computer
sharing the printer, and double-click the shared printer. This starts the Add
Printer Wizard, which takes you through the process of adding the printer.
This wizard works like any good wizard ā” youā™ll make a few selections and
click Next a lot. When asked for the printer drivers, use the Browse button to
direct the wizard to look in the shared folder or CD-ROM drive where you put
the printer software on the computer that the printer is attached to.
You have two options for installing a network printer:
From your Printers folder: In Window 95/98/Me, choose
StartāŖSettingsāŖPrinters to see the Printers folder where your installed
printers are shown. Double-click the Add Printer icon.
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In Windows 2000/XP, choose StartāŖSettingsāŖPrinters and Faxes (or
simply StartāŖPrinters and Faxes, depending how your Start menu is con-
From Network Neighborhood or My Network Places: From within
Network Neighborhood in Windows 95/98/Me (or My Network Places in
Windows 2000/XP), double-click the computer that has the printer
attached. An icon will appear showing the shared printer. Right-click it
and then choose Install from the pop-up menu that appears.
Either route leads you to the Add Printer Wizard, which guides you through
the process of adding the network printer.
Donā™t start the Add Printer Wizard unless you have the disks or CDs for your
printer handy. The Add Printer Wizard will install the printer drivers (soft-
ware files that contain the info required for Windows to talk to your printers
and exchange data for printing). The wizard gets these from the CD that comes
with your printer. If you donā™t have the CD, go to the Web site of your printer
manufacturer and download the driver to your desktop and install from there.
And donā™t forget to delete the downloaded file(s) from your desktop when
done with installing them on the computer.
Note also that the wizard will allow you to browse your network to find the
printer that you want to install. Simply click the plus sign next to the computer
that has the printer attached, and you should see the printer below the com-
puter. (If not, then recheck that printer sharing is enabled on that computer.)
At the end of the wizard screens, you have the option to print a test page. We
recommend that you do this. You donā™t want to wait until your child has to
have a color printout for her science experiment (naturally she waits until 10
minutes before the bus arrives to tell you!) to find out that the printer doesnā™t
Accessing your shared printer(s)
After you have the printers installed, how do you access them? Whenever
your Print window comes up (by pressing Ctrl+P in most applications), you
will see a field labeled Name for the name of the printer accompanied by a
pull-down menu of printer options. Use your mouse to select any printer ā”
local or networked ā” and the rest of the printing process remains the same
as if you had a printer directly plugged into your PC.
You can even make a networked printer the default printer by right-clicking
the printer and then choosing Set as Default Printer from the pop-up menu
Chapter 11: Putting Your Wireless Home Network to Work
Sharing other peripherals
Sharing any other peripheral is quite similar to sharing printers. You need to
make sure that youā™re sharing the device on the computer that itā™s attached
to. Then you need to install that device on another PC by using that deviceā™s
installation procedures. Obviously, we canā™t be very specific about such an
installation because of the widely varying processes that companies use to
install devices. Most of the time ā” like with a printer ā” you need to install
the drivers for the device that youā™re sharing on your other computers.
Note that some of the devices that you attach to your network have integral
Web servers in them. This is getting more and more common. Dannyā™s
AudioReQuest (www.request.com) music server, for instance, is visible on
his home network and is addressable by any of his PCs. Thus, he can down-
load music to and from the AudioReQuest server and sync it to his other
devices that he wants music on. Anyone else in the home can do the same ā”
even remotely, over the Internet. We talk more about the AudioReQuest
system in Chapter 13.
Danny has also set up a virtual CD server in his home to manage all the CDs
that his kids have for their games. This server is shared on the home network.
By using Virtual CD software from H+H Zentrum fuer Rechnerkommunikation
GmbH (www.virtualcd-online.com/default_e.htm; $75 for a five-user
license), Danny has loaded all his CDs onto a single machine so that the kids
(heā™s got four kids) can access those CDs from any of their individual PCs
(heā™s got four spoiled kids). Instead of looking to the local hard drive for the
CD, any of the kidsā™ PCs looks to the server to find the CD ā” hence the name
virtual CD. Now those stacks of CDs (and moans over a scratched CD!) are
Sharing between Macs and
We could tell you about all sorts of ways that you can get files from Macs to
PCs ā” as well as kludgey ways to send them via FTP from computer to com-