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NETWORKING WINDOWS 7- HOMEGROUP OR WORKGROUP OR DOMAIN?

Last response: in Networking
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March 1, 2013 10:39:48 PM

My windows7 machine is connected to a corporate domain. I access the corporate domain via my home network.
I also have a windows xp machine connected to the home network. It is part of a local WORKGROUP, and does not belong to a corporate domain.

I want to share a printer attached to the XP machine with the windows 7 machine. But the windows7 machine can't see the XP machine because it is not part of WORKGROUP, it is part of a corporate domain.

How can I make the XP machine (which is part of WORKGROUP) visible to the Win7 machine (which is part of a corporate domain) when both are connected to the same home network?

Thanks,
a b $ Windows 7
March 3, 2013 5:57:50 PM

how are you connecting to the Domain? VPN?
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March 4, 2013 4:16:46 AM

Emerald said:
how are you connecting to the Domain? VPN?


Yes, via VPN. However, if I shut down the tunnel (which is my usual mode of operation), the domain computer still can't see the workgroup computer.

The issue, as I see it, is that there is no way to force a computer which is part of a domain, to recognize a computer which is part of a workgroup. I'm just trying to understand if I have that right or not.
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March 4, 2013 7:23:56 PM

You have that more or less right. Although both computers are physically on the same network, they are logically on different networks that don't necessarily have a trust relationship between them.

You mention that the XP computer has the printer attached, which tells me no WiFi connection on it, which is pretty dated. Even cheap printers from Walmart have WiFi and support eprint, which is what I would probably do...

Upgrade your printer to a model that supports eprint, then you don't have to have a computer running at all in order to get access to the printer.

This also assumes that your corporate network doesn't firewall the ports you need off...
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March 4, 2013 7:54:33 PM

This is great, I thought that upgrading the printer is possible. Good thing I saw this post. wee! Thank you so much @dbhosttexas . Big help :) 
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March 11, 2013 9:31:26 AM

Thanks for the confirmation of my theory and for your feedback, but throwing out a high capacity laser printer just to get wireless capability on the printer might be one possible solution, but unfortunately it doesn't seem very practical to me. Better, IMHO, would be if MSFT could simply get its stuff together and make it possible to do the things that one would want to do on a network. I know, I'm dreaming.

dbhosttexas said:
You have that more or less right. Although both computers are physically on the same network, they are logically on different networks that don't necessarily have a trust relationship between them.

You mention that the XP computer has the printer attached, which tells me no WiFi connection on it, which is pretty dated. Even cheap printers from Walmart have WiFi and support eprint, which is what I would probably do...

Upgrade your printer to a model that supports eprint, then you don't have to have a computer running at all in order to get access to the printer.

This also assumes that your corporate network doesn't firewall the ports you need off...


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March 11, 2013 11:27:56 AM

There are certainly other options out there. But you failed to give us any indicator of just what type of printer, and what sort of communication ports it has, that you are dealing with...

The problem isn't necessarily one of Microsoft not doing things right. And make no mistake, I am no Microsoft apologist. They release plenty of garbage software just like everyone else in the business. It is a security issue. By connecting to your corporate network via VPN, you effectively take your computer off of your network, and put in on a separate network, with its own security rules and protocols.

I bet if I could get some insight into the firewall configurations that are in play, and access to the various hosts, firewalls, proxies etc... that are in use I could get both ends to play nice. Odds are that isn't likely to happen. Thus you need a different answer.

That is where ePrint enabled printers come into play.

Since you haven't posted up specs such as make / model of your printer, for all I know, your printer is eprint capable. If not, it MAY be possible to add an eprint compatible wireless print server. (Not sure, never looked to see if such a device is on the market at this point). Another option is to host the printer on a Linux / BSD / Solaris box and share it out via CUPS, which in turn will allow it to be printed to from the internet... (You can / do get control over user access to the device of course!).

PGrun said:
Thanks for the confirmation of my theory and for your feedback, but throwing out a high capacity laser printer just to get wireless capability on the printer might be one possible solution, but unfortunately it doesn't seem very practical to me. Better, IMHO, would be if MSFT could simply get its stuff together and make it possible to do the things that one would want to do on a network. I know, I'm dreaming.

dbhosttexas said:
You have that more or less right. Although both computers are physically on the same network, they are logically on different networks that don't necessarily have a trust relationship between them.

You mention that the XP computer has the printer attached, which tells me no WiFi connection on it, which is pretty dated. Even cheap printers from Walmart have WiFi and support eprint, which is what I would probably do...

Upgrade your printer to a model that supports eprint, then you don't have to have a computer running at all in order to get access to the printer.

This also assumes that your corporate network doesn't firewall the ports you need off...




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March 11, 2013 12:13:55 PM

I really appreciate your helpful replies. I didn't give any indication of the type of printer or its connectivity because my question wasn't about the printer, it was about accessing a shared printer via Windows XP. You helped me to understand, as I had suspected, that that isn't apparently possible (or at least not easy.

As for the VPN, as I mentioned above, I have the ability to take my Win7 machine off the corporate network by shutting down the VPN, but that doesn't really help as far as I can tell because it and the WinXP machine are still in separate domains (i.e. one is part of a workgroup but the other thinks its part of the corporate domain).

You are correct that it is a security issue. But I can't help but think that when the Win7 machine is not on the corporate network that there should be a way to make it visible to the local network. But the only way to do that that I can see is to add the machine to the workgroup when I'm not on the corporate network, and put it back on the corporate domain when I am. Clearly not a workable solution. I don't understand Windows networking architecture well enough to know for sure, but my guts are telling me that it should have been possible for MSFT to design the network stack with a switch that is selected by whether the VPN is active or not. But apparently not. I think they simply didn't consider the case where an employee working from home may want to access local resources on a local network.

Just to complete the picture, the printer is connected to the WinXP box via USB, it has no networking capability either via hardwire Enet or wireless. Just a standard, direct-connect printer. The printer is a Canon Imageclass MF4270. I am not familiar with eprint, and unfortunately I don't have a Linux or Solaris machine laying around that could be used as a printer server, althought I suppose that would be one way to solve the problem.

Again, thanks for your insights especially w.r.t. the relationship between a domain and a workgroup.
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March 11, 2013 1:19:21 PM

You could try "Split Tunneling" your network, where you would have one VPN tunnel go to your corporate network, and one tunnel loop back around and back into your network, you would need to give the entire planet access to your printer, and I can't begin to tell you how to print from Windows 7 to Windows XP (that's for the Microsoft guys). I am pretty sure you can do it though.

Just google "Split tunneling Windows 7" and ferret through the docs. Microsoft's technet forums are reasonably decent for that sort of info...

Mind you, your home network / router will have to support incoming VPN, and to be blunt. With the headaches you are likely to endure, an updated printer would at the very least, be an easier solution. Maybe not cheaper, but certainly easier...

****EDIT***
D'oh! You said your printer connects via USB!

Great! That's easy. Just put a USB sharing switch between the printer, and the PCs in question, and share it that way. Yeah you would be tethered by the USB cable, but at least you would have access to the printer!
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