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Some think remote printing is hard, and it sometimes is. However, it does not always have to be that way. Remote printing is basically a simple matter of printing to a machine placed down the hall, or even on the other side of the globe. Following are some simple steps to accomplish this. Don’t worry; we’ve made sure these are the easiest ones out there, and which require little to no professional help from your IT guys.
The fact that you print does not mean you need a separate printer which is linked to every PC in the house. Most new printers happen to be network machines capable of connecting to your Wi-Fi network. Once the setup is in place, you only need to add the right driver software on each of the PCs, and then all of them can print to the Wi-Fi printer as long as they are on the network.
This is not like sharing a local printer with Windows; there is no need to leave the main PC running—all you require is that the printer stays on, and anything can be printed directly to it. The thing about such printers is that you can only print to them over a network that is local, which means if the printer driver is unavailable, or if you want to try something over the internet, then you will need to try a few other tricks.
In Windows, it’s easy for you to share printers among computers on a local network. This works well if the local printer links to the computer through a USB connection. After printer sharing is set up, the machine works almost the same way as a networked printer. You need the connected computer to be powered on though, and as long as that is the case, any other PC with authorization can send print jobs successfully.
This is most easily done with a Windows 8 or Windows 7 Homegroup feature. You need to do little besides arrange a Homegroup and then select the Printers option, and this would share the connected printers on the network. Joining other PCs on the Homegroup would enable you to see in them the same networked printer on a list. Again, the computer that is sharing the printer needs to be online at the time.
This option too works only on a local network. That means while you do get to share printers between PCs in different Homegroups, it is just easier to stick to the same one for simplicity’s sake.
This is a remote-printing solution from Google, for which many new printers carry built-in support. If Cloud Print support isn’t there in your printer, you can still set it up the using Google Chrome. After you configure a printer to work this way, it gets linked to your Google account. Then you get to remotely access that printer using your credentials. One of the printers can also be shared with another account, which means the chance for people to print remotely to your PC with the same ease as sharing files through Google Drive.
Google Cloud Print is relatively new, and not something you can use with all printers. Google Chrome comes with support for Cloud Print; plus, you can use related apps on other platforms like iOS and Android as well. Google did release a recent Google Cloud Printer service meant to run on Windows desktop. You just need to install this, and you will be able to get the same print dialog when you try to remotely print something from, say, Microsoft Office, or a desktop app.
If you are looking for a way to access a standard network printer which is shared over Windows networking when you happen to be far off from the local network, it is possible to do that using a virtual private network. Connecting to a VPN means you computer sets up a secure tunnel to the VPN server on that remote network. All of your traffic gets sent via this tunnel, and your PC behaves the same way as it would if it had been in the same room as the remote network. It would be able to access locally shared printers and other network resources.
After connecting to a VPN, the printer becomes available, in that you can print to it the same way as on a local network. A lot of businesses set up VPNs in order for their employees to be able to remotely connect, which means you can sometimes do the same using an existing connection. While the setup is more complicated than the use of Google Cloud Print, it can be done as long as you follow the steps correctly.
That was on how to print remotely using various methods. All of them work well for most new computers and printers. If you see a printer offline error getting in the way, or need help troubleshooting printer issues, call us and we can give you the assistance you need.