Connecting to Shared Network Printers

While most users are familiar with XP’s Printers and Faxes tools, there are many ways to connect to and use a network-based printer beyond using the Add Printer Wizard. Although the Add Printer Wizard is still the standard method used to connect to (and install the drivers associated with) network printers, both My Network Places and the command line can also be used to connect.

Connecting to a network printer from the command line involves issuing one of the very useful NET USE commands. In effect, using the NET USE command to connect to a printer allows you to map an LPT port (such as LPT2) to a network printer by specifying a UNC path to the printer in the form \\printservername\printername. Using My Network Places to connect to a printer is even easier – just browse for the computer to which the printer is attached, and then right-click on any available printer icons and select Connect. It’s really that easy.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.