So you bought that new laptop with Windows Vista, set it up, got on the Internet, downloaded some updates, checked YouTube for the latest video of someone miming a boy band song, and bumped your ex-girlfriend from your Top 8. Now you want to print something across your home network through a shared printer. That printer happens to be shared on a Windows XP machine. You never had a problem before, but this new laptop keeps sending you an error message: Windows cannot connect to the printer. Access is denied.

If you are like me, you begin troubleshooting to figure out what is going on and start by downing a caffeinated beverage. You check UAC, permissions, reinstall the printer, and finally REBOOT. None of your tactics worked.

After research and struggling with the same problem, here is what I have come up with. Give thanks to Melonhead on TechNet for inspiring my streamlined solution to this printer problem that will become an issue for many users. I recreated the scenario and 60% of the time the following solution works every time.

  • Install the Windows Vista printer driver on the new Windows Vista computer
  • Open Control Panel and double-click on Printers
  • Remove all of your previous attempts at adding the printer
  • Click on Add a printer and Choose to Add a local printer
  • Select Create a new port and Type of port: Local Port
  • Enter a port name (the port name is in the format of
    “\\{computer name}\{printer name}”)

  • Verify installation by viewing the port settings in the printer properties window