Wireless Printing from Mac OS X to Windows XP

Software619 words3 minutes to read

Now, I feel like a bit of a bonehead for not figuring this out earlier considering how much networking I’ve done over the last few years, but I’m thrilled that I finally figured out how to print a document from my wireless Powerbook to the printer connected to my Windows XP desktop.

First off, here’s how everything was setup and configured, before I tweaked it all to do what I wanted it to:

  1. The phone cord comes out of the wall, and into the DSL modem (well, duh). The modem has a built-in, non-configurable IP of

  2. The DSL modem plugs into my 4-port wired Linksys router, which then splits the internet signal. The router’s address is, and that keeps things simple.

  3. From the router, slot 1 plugs into my desktop PC running Windows XP, and assigns an IP (range of - via DHCP.

  4. Slot 2 is a loose wire that plugs into my laptop when I’m sitting at my desk. This also gets assigned an IP within the same range listed above (of course).

  5. Slot 3 is connected to a cable that runs from my bedroom where my PC is into the living room where I keep my TV, video games, surround sound system, and namely my Airport Express, which allows me to listen to my music on my surround sound system, and gives me a better wireless signal when I’m in that part of the house. The Airport Express is manually assigned, and spits out IP addresses in the 192.168.1.x range.

Most things worked great. I could get on the internet all right, I could connect to my printer, as well as my PC’s share when I was plugged in with the loose cable from slot 2, but not when I was wireless. It’s been kind of a pain at times, but nothing too huge.

This weekend, I found myself needing to print something from the living room, but couldn’t, and didn’t feel like disconnecting my printer from the back of my PC and plugging it into my Mac. So I decided to do some fiddling.

To tell the truth, I’d’ve probably just left it alone had I not had an idea of what to do (you like my double-contraction there, don’t you? “I’d’ve.” You know you do…). I got tipped off by reading somewhere about iTunes playlist sharing, which I do at work regularly. <gloat>Well, really, most people share from me as I have the largest MP3 collection at work so far with over 5000 legit songs.</gloat> But what I read was that it used to work via any IP, but because some people were irresponsible with it (stealing music), Apple restricted this functionality to those network users on the same subnet.

Hmmm… now I know that it isn’t exactly the same as having subnet, but what if I changed the settings on my Airport Express to assign IP’s in the same range (192.168.0.x) as my wired router? I figured I’d give it a try, and sure enough, it worked. After setting my Airport Express to assign IP’s in the - range, I was (finally) able to see my PC’s shared resources without having to manually type in a specific IP address. I added the shared printer with no problems, and am finally able to print wirelessly from my Mac to my PC’s desk printer.

So kids, that’s the trick. If you’re at home with 254 or less IP-needing devices (I believe that is reserved for something or another), you can tell your routers to assign certain ranges of IP’s all in the same happy little group.

I hope this can help at least one person out there someday.

Ryan Parman

Ryan Parman is an experienced software engineer, open source evangelist, and passionate user advocate currently living in Seattle. He is the creator of and , and worked on DevOps and Security at . He is now bringing learning into the digital age as an Engineering Lead and Site Reliability Engineer at . Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than .