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2,793 Tutorials

How to enjoy faster, safer networking

Wireless networking made easy

Disappearing printers

If your shared USB printer seems to come and go with a mind of its own, ensure the PC it's attached to isn't hibernating. If possible, connect your printer to a desktop PC rather than a laptop and leave it switched on.

To cut back on power consumption, allow the display to go into sleep mode.

In XP, verify that File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is installed for all network adaptors. This way, switching between wired and wireless networks won't kill printer sharing. Go to Control Panel, Network Connections and, for each network adaptor, right-click the device and select Properties. If you don't see File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, click the Install button to add it.

Better yet, set up a print server so you don't have to worry about working through a host PC. Some routers have built-in USB printer ports; standalone print servers plug into your router. If you use a multifunction device for printing, choose a print server that supports scanning, such as D-Link's USB RangeBooster G Multifunction Print Server.

Quick links:

Wi-Fi: nail the basics

Wi-Fi: disappearing printers

Wi-Fi: the importance of names, and the difference Vista makes

Wi-Fi: how to beef up security

Wi-Fi: cover the airwaves and avoid hotspot hijacks

Wi-Fi: speed up transfers

Wi-Fi: preventing interference, and what to expect from draft-n networking

Wi-Fi: better backups and cross-platform networking

For more information on network security, our sister site Techworld has a comprehensive network security resource page.

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