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Windows 7: Add a local vs add a network printer -- What does this mean exactly?

24 Aug 2015   #1

Windows 7 64-bit
Add a local vs add a network printer -- What does this mean exactly?


I'm puzzled as to how "add a local printer" and "add a network, wireless or bluetooth printer" are different.

Under "Add a local printer", I can use an existing port or create a new port, under which I can set a TCP/IP address to connect to shared printer over network. What's the difference between existing port and new port? How is this port local when I can set IP address to printer shared over network?

And how does "add a network, wireless or bluetooth printer" function differently than the former? I'm trying to distinguish the nature between the two so I can get a better understand for troubleshooting purposes. I appreciate any help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2015   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

user0x12, if you install a local printer on your computer and share it out, that printer will be physically plugged into your computer and your computer will act as a print server, therefore it would need to be on in order for any one else to print to that printer. A printer installed as a networked printer is physically connected to a dedicated server or a network switch/router device and anybody mapped within the network and given permissions will print directly to the printer.
Wireless and bluetooth are a little different and can be set-up like a local on each computer but no wires are involved so it's less clumsy.
Hope that helped.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2015   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Windows' term 'local printer' in the context of a printer connected via the network can be misleading.

As said above, a network printer is one attached to a server (possibly internal, possibly a windows server) which handles job queuing and caching, security, etc. for mulitple users. The server makes the printer available on the network as a network printer (more than just a shared printer) and a client PC connects to the server to use the network printer.

A network-connected local printer is a printer that simply connects to a PC through the network, instead of USB or parallel interfaces. The protocol allows many PCs to be connected to this printer as their local printer, each with the same setup with a tcp/ip port created for the printer. It's not necessary for any PC to share such a printer out because each PC can be configured to talk directly to it.

Think of local in this instance as meaning a printer that is locally (i.e. on this PC) configured and controlled, rather than handing that off to a server and printing to that server.

The existing ports are other local interfaces such as serial, parallel, and possibly others. You need to create a new local tcp/ip port for a local network-connected printer because the PC has no idea what IP address and other settings the printer might need, wheras it knows how to talk to a printer on a parallel port, for example. USB printers never need any of this because it's all done automatically.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Add a local vs add a network printer -- What does this mean exactly?

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