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Wireless laptops can't access shared printer

I have one Windows XP Pro desktop and two Windows XP Pro laptops on a Linksys wireless network at home. The desktop is directly connected to the Linksys wireless router and an HP Printer, which is shared. It had been working for a couple of years, but now both wireless laptops can't access the desktop for printing and I get an "Access Denied" error. Despite this error, the desktop can still access resources on both laptops. I know that it is a permissions issue, but I don't know how to resume shared printing. File and print sharing is enabled on all machines and they are all on the same ip subnet. What should I do?

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The first thing I would look into is user names and permissions. My wife has a laptop which runs Windows 2000 Workstation, and my machine is a Windows XP Professional computer which shares out a printer for our entire household. After I reinstalled XP on my machine, she couldn't print even though I had the printer shared out and ready. It turned out that she was logged in on her machine as Administrator, and there was a credentials conflict between our two machines. I set up a local user account for her under her name, created a limited-user account on my machine with the same username and password, and all is well. If something like this was suddenly failing, that might imply that user permissions on either the shared computer or the notebooks have gone awry.

This was first published in September 2006

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