How to add a printer in a home network that is connected to a computer with another version of Windows?

Two similar questions. Question 1:
I have a Dell laptop with Windows XP SP3, and I wanted to add a Samsung printer (ML-1630) that is connected to my wife's new Sony laptop. So I added her printer through our home network (DLink). I have done this 30-40 times so I know what to do, and nothing exceptional happened during the installation, so I thought it was OK. An hour later I got a "blue screen", and when I restarted my computer I got a "blue screen" shortly after the logon screen was displayed. In other words, it was not possible to logon to the computer. I solved this by starting in safe mode and making a system restore. After this the printer disappeared from the "Printers and Faxes" window.

I wondered why this happened, but after a while I realised that my wife has Windows 7 in her new computer, and I installed a printer driver for Windows 7 into my XP computer. Is it possible to connect my XP computer to the printer connected to her laptop with Windows 7? According to other questions it seems like it is not possible. The printer has to have an IP address, and the only way to connect to it is through a USB cable. This cable is connected to a computer with Windows 7 Home Edition.

Related question:
I might instead buy a new laptop with Windows 7, and if I do so I will need to connect that computer to an XP computer in our home network that has a Minolta-QMS printer (Magicolor 2200 DesLaser) connected to it. Then, I guess, I would have to install a printer driver for Windows XP into a computer with Windows 7. Will it be possible add this printer into a Windows 7 computer? I definitely do not want to get another blue screen.
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If you have a file and printer sharing enabled, you can share the printer on the main computer by right-clicking it going to properties and sharing tab.
Then from the second computer go to the first one by going to start -> run -> \\[computername. If everything is successful, you'll see printers folder.Inside by double-clicking you can install the printer.
There's no reason for bsod.

The best thing you can do to install printers without risking to have automatically installed wrong drivers from external sources, is to first install the right printer driver on the PC that needs to be connected to the shared resource, then install the printer using a bit tricky procedure.

(XP) You need to start a regular printer installation fron the control panel or start menu (after having installed the proper drivers),disable the Plug and Play installer automatic option, leave the LOCAL option as good and click next, inthis dialog you see as default tha menu to choose a parallel port, on the upper side, choose the lower option to set up a new port and select standard tcp/ip port from the menu.

CLick next and a dialog will ask you the path to the printer, you have to write the IP address asigned to the host PC if static, otherwise give the name of the host PC,  give a name to the port (am not totally sure you can give the name of the host PC, it should work as logic, but try it, I do not have way to test it right now).

Click next and in a new dialog you will be able to pick the right drivers choosing from a list of producers and drivers present in the system, follow the suggestions up to the end of the installation and test the printer.

With this method you are 100% sure to have set up the proper driver for your OS, there will be no installation of wrong drivers coming from newer OS.

The same thing should be done if you do want to connect a windows 7 to a XP, the procedure might be formally a bit different, but the concept is identical.

Write us if this worked out well, if you then try it on 7 and do not find the way we can look for some tips for this specific OS procedures.

Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
I'd mix the 2 suggestions above up a bit, but slightly simpler...

Download latest Win7 driver, and install it on the laptop.  Avoid the CD version if possible to get the most bug-fixed version.  Connect the printer via USB in the normal way as part of the install.  Remove printer cable, and reboot.

Make sure the Printer is Shared on the XP Printer.  Connect to it via \\<PCname>, and you should see the printer.  

When you doubleclick to install, it'll see the remote model, realise it has a local driver already available, and use that.  Job Done.

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Agreed, usually the latest from the manufacturer's website, not the shipped CD, is best.

On XP you'll install the XP diver.
On Win 7 you'll install the Win 7 driver.

Usually what happens (under the blankets unbeknownst to you) is it actually installs the matching windows version driver to make the printer work locally, AND also puts on the drivers for other Windows versions in a special printers share so that when you try connecting to the printer from other machines with other Windows versions it copies the appropriate platform version of the driver (that mostly works, but not always)  Thus, the suggestion to install locally on the computer, then put it back on the other machine and just change the Port on the Port tab of the properties to point to the printer over the network is even more likely to get everything on correctly.

One hitch is multi-function printers.  The printing part will work over the network but usually scanning or faxing is only available on the locally directly connected machine.

The one BIG hitch is if Win7 (or Vista) is 32-bit or 64-bit.  Only the 32-bit version works on 32-bit, ONLY the 64-bit works on 64-bit.  

You can check on the Win 7 site like here  Pick the right printer, the free downloads usually take you to the manufacturer's site anyway.

See if your Minolta printer has 64-bit drivers in case the laptop you buy comes with 64-bit windows, which is highly possible.

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Swede99Author Commented:
1. OK: On XP I can install an XP driver. Great.
2. It seems like my old (and good) Minolta printer does not have a 64-bit Win 7 driver. Not your fault, but your answer has helped me to decide that I will not buy a new computer. I want to be able to use my Minolta printer.
One other possibility you might consider.  If you get Windows 7 then MS offers Virtual PC for free on certain editions (Pro, Ultimate) and what people do is they run Windows XP inside Windows 7 just for those things that only work under XP.  I'm pretty sure you could install your Minolta printing inside the virtualpc (anyone dispute that?), so on a new Win7 laptop with powerful 64-bit processor is not out of the question just get Professional edition not Home edition.  Then also be able to run XP and access and print the documents as you like from in there.  Nice.
Swede99Author Commented:
VirtualPC is interesting, but how does it work? If I have to start the XP environment like a remote PC, so Word, Excel, Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer etc. have to be invoked in a special XP environment working under Windows 7, it is not encouraging. It will be like simulating a PC in a Mac. I want the printer driver, and just the printer driver, to work in “XP mode”, and I want to use the full 64-bit processor for all applications, without having to do special things every time I want to print.
If a driver is not existing for the 64 bit 7 version there is no way to have one unless the producer does release one, which normallz does not happen if the printer model is outdated.

By the waz depending on the windows version you have it might be possible to install the 32 bit driver to be used in windows xp mode, a retro comaptibility layer Microsoft includes in the higher windows 7 versions if I am not wrong should be so, check on microsoft site.

Depending on the kind of prints you need you can work on whatever computer you desire, send a  file to the pc capable to use the printer and from there launch the print itself, this is a quite good workout if there is no way to drive a specific printer from certain workstations.

If you settle up a network you can create shared folders and a VNC channel to the pc having the drivers, in this way without changing seat you can controlo all computers on the network and with some extra step you can work from and on each of them being able to control from your desktop each other one, you get a full control of any pc.

Try to look at ultraVNC fort this.

As I stated in my previous post following that procedure you can install any printer conected to any computer, of course drivers must be available for the corresponding OS, if the driver does not exist you have to accept that from those OS you will not be able to directly drive the printer, unless you do not use a virtual machine as suggested above (or the embedded Microsoft retro compatibility XP mode which of course is a far well more transpearent system, if included in your 7 seven version of course, check this).

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