Share a printer with a USB hub?

Posted on 2005-04-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have:
1 x PC
1 x USB printer
1 X laptop that I want to occasionally print with.

Goal - simplest way to print from the two.

Can I hook the Printer up to a 4 port hub and print from both the PC and occasionally the Laptop?
I want to avoid Networking the Laptop/PC


Question by:worded
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    No, a USB hub is a single-host device that allows it to use multiple devices; it cannot be shared.  You would need a print server for the printer with a USB connection and hook it up to a network hub, then attach your laptop to the network hub.  Otherwise, unplug the printer from the pc and connect to the laptop.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Hello worded,

    Yes you can connect the printer to the USB hub, provided that the printer has a USB port, then connect the PC , and the Laptop to the hub as well.

    Then you install the printer on the PC, and on the Laptop, I am assuming that you will connect the laptop and the PC via USB cable to the Hub right?

    Try it, and let me know how you did.

    Thank you,

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment


    That would be a neat trick if you actually managed to do that.  As far as I know, USB hubs are not like network hubs and can't have two hosts.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I agree with Callandor. You cannot use a USB hub as a network hub. May be possible with firewire. But then again I have never seen a firewire port on a printer.
    Use a Cat5 crossover cable and network the 2 computers together. Share the printer on the computer that the printer is connected to.

    Expert Comment

    I agree, simplest method is to plug the printer into the PC and share the printer.  The if you want to print from the laptop, plug a network cable between them and in the laptop, point to the shared printer on the PC.  Second easiest method:  plug the printer into whichever one you want to print from.  USB cables are about the easiest of all connectors to plug and unplug.  It's even OK to do it with everything powered up.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    If you really dont want to network the two pc's, you can get a USB sharing device.  They let you do what you want and are under $20 most places.

    Something like this would work for you:
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    First, most modern HP printers do not work through a USB hub, period, and must be connected directly to a USB root port on the computer.  You didn't say if this was an HP printer, and even if it is this isn't absolutely universal, but it's definitely something to keep in mind (which might also apply to some non-HP printers).

    Second, as almost everyone else has noted, that's not the way that USB works, and even if the printer worked through a hub, I would not expect it to work this way for two computers connected to the hub.

    Third, networking the two computers is the "right" way to do this and it's easy and it's inexpensive, $20-$35 range or less, tops, even if you have no existing network, even if you don't even have Ethernet ports on either PC.  Definitely the way to go for the desired result.

    Accepted Solution

    how about the most simple. An A/B switch.

    Author Comment


    Thanks to everyone who helped

    The Goal - simplest way to print from two PCs to one usb printer & I want to avoid Networking the Laptop/PC

    So An A/B USB switch wins - I never knew such a device existed.

    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    ????   I don't want to point out the painfully obvious.... but that's exactly what I suggested a full day before joey1395...

    A different make/model, yeah, but it's exactly the same thing, mentioned a full day prior to the accepted answer.

    Why did you accept that answer?

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