Get a print server and use that. Shared printing with Windows has it's quirks. It does sound as if the problem isn't so much with the printer as with the network all getting connected. There are a lot of things that can cause this. Even just turning on another PC later while others are happily running and connected can cause the network to drop out. I can't explain it because I can't figure it out but there's something about a "voting" process that takes place with peer-to-peer networks to select the master browser that keeps track of the network shares. There's a protocol that's used...sort of a "pecking order". Until the PCs end their squabbling over who's in control of the network, it doesn't work. Go figure.
I have had the following problem countless times and i have troubleshooted it each time without real technicians help, but i would really like to know how to prevent it from happening over and over.
We have four PC's in our house all connected via a wireless router from Verizon. 1 laptop and 1 PC are wireless and the other two PCs are wired. Our printer has been connected to the laptop for ever and has been shared to the other computers through a home network that I made through the windows network wizard. For some reason though every once in a while the other computers cant print because the printer cant be "seen" or connected to. How I fix the problem, since it has happened so many times, is delete the printer on all the computers except on the laptop that the printer is connected to with a usb cord. Then I go to "Add a printer" and follow the wizard to connect to the laptop through the home netowrk, and hope that it works. But its never that easy because most of the time not all the computers "see" each other in the network. I name each computer through the network wizard and make them on the same workgroup name and enable file and printer sharing, then restart the computer. But when I go to "My Network Places" and then click "View Workgroup Computers" I cant see the laptop computer with the printer attached to it. Or I can see it on the other computers but when I double click on it I get this infamous error message(because I always get it): ---\\Sandy is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. The network path was not found. --- What I usually do is keep fiddling around with settings on each commputer until it finally works, but im tired of beating around the bush. I want to know the exact problem as to why the network just drops randomly. On the last time this happened I tried to research this error message online and found the exact problem and somebody posted a possible solution and it worked. They said that it was something with Norton Antivirus or Internet Security or its Firewall, i cant remember but i know it was Norton's stupid and useless services. They said to disable it on any computers while I tried connecting the computers to the printer on the laptop. But this time its not working. The Norton on the laptop was recently updated and I cant find for the life of me the option to disable Norton or turn it off. I cant even turn it off by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and looking in the processes because i dont know which one it is. Only one other comptuer besides the laptop has an earlier vversion of Norton (2006 it is), and the 1st other computers has Mcaffee Security Center(version8.1), Mcaffee Virus Scan(version12.1), and Mcafee Personal Firewall(version 9.1) AND the last computer has the latest free version of avg antivirus and using windows firewall.
Sorry this was so long, but to wrap it all up, my problem is that I cant connect all computers together on my home network, not all of them can see each other. This problem leads to the problem that i cant connect all computers to the laptop which has the printer wired to it. And also the laptop computer never gets disconnected to the printer, its always working, just the others sometimes get disconnected to the shared printer on the laptop and all at the same time. When one stops working all others stop working excpt for the laptop.
Thanks in advance to any help given.