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What is the easiest way to create this setup:

WiFi internet router separate in one room.

Study room: Laptop with USB printer connected with wifi.

My room: Laptop connected with wifi.

I want to be able to print from the "My room" laptop to the "Study room" printer, and also share files between them.

What is the easiest way to do this? Note, the wireless router needs to be in a separate room for both laptops to be able to connect to it.

I've tried configuring homegroups and stuff to do with IP addresses that I found on the internet but have had no success.

I'm not an expert with PC's but I've tried hard so there is probably just some trick to do it. If someone can help that will be great.

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Which version of Windows do each PC run? – CJM Nov 16 '11 at 8:26

There are plenty of step by step guides about this on the web, but I can't point you to any until we know exactly which flavours of Windows you have. The mention of Homegroups suggests Windows 7 - are both PCs the same? If not, Homegroups are not an option.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that both PCs are part of the same workgroup. Typical workgroups names will be 'workgroup' or 'mshome'. It doesn't really matter what the work group name is, providing the router and both PCs all belong to the same one.

For printer sharing, right-click on the locally-installed printer and choose Printer Properties. In there, you will likely find a 'Share' tab where you can enable printer sharing, and can name your shared printer. On the other PC, add a new printer, choose Network Printer, and then browse for this printer. Alternatively, you can specify the printer directly: '\PC1\MyPrinter\'. Windows will try to download and install appropriate drivers for this printer. If you have any problems with this, you can explicitly download and install the drivers for your printer, BEFORE you try to connect to the networked printer.

For file-sharing, you need to decide what you want to achieve. Is one PC the master PC, thus you want create a shared folder in this? Or do you want a shared folder on each PC?

In Vista and Win7, you have the option of Public Folders, but you can always explicitly share specific folders. Rt-click on a folder, choose properties, and the go to the Share tab to enable sharing on that folder.

An alternative, if you have a good web connection, is to use an online service, such as Dropbox, to create a single resource that you can access from both PCs and that doesn't depend on one or the other PC being switched on. In addition, the same benefit can be achieved by buying a NAS box (a networked hard disk, in effect).

Before I can give any more help, I need more specific information, and using the information above, I need to know what you have tried so far, and how far you got.

EDIT: How to attach to a homegroup...

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Hi. The laptops are both windows 7 home premium. I don't know what a "workgroup" is or how to check the name - could you assist me with that? Ok so I've created a homegroup on the one laptop but the other one doesn't "see" this laptop - it doesnt give an option to connect, only to start a homegroup. I've shared the printer but once again the other laptop doesn't "find" the printer on the network. Also "My Computer > Network" only shows the one laptop. Iow I just haven't been able to get the two laptops to find each other through the router. How can I do this? Thank you so much for the help. – Jacques Nov 16 '11 at 9:14
I managed to find the homegroup in system properties. Both say "WORKGROUP" as their workgroup. – Jacques Nov 16 '11 at 9:21
I've added a link to a video demonstrating how to connect to a homegroup. Presumably, your 2nd machine can see the first under Homergoups? – CJM Nov 16 '11 at 11:02
No, my second machine doesn't see the other machine under homegroups or network or anywhere - that is exactly my problem... ? – Jacques Nov 16 '11 at 11:11
In Windows Explorer, type in \\MyOtherPcName\ in the address bar and press return - this should show shared resources on this machine (e.g. printers). If it doesnt work, open a command prompt and type 'ping' (substituting the IP address of your other pc) - if this command responds with a timeout message, it means there is a connectivity issue. – CJM Nov 16 '11 at 11:46

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