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Printing from within a virtual machine in VMware Fusion (1013997)

Purpose

VMware Fusion 2.x-6.x offer four different ways to print from your virtual machine. This article explains how to setup each method and the differences between them. It is recommended that you choose only one method, in order to avoid conflicts.

If you are still having trouble printing, after performing the steps in this article, see Troubleshooting printer connection issues in VMware Fusion (1014535).

Resolution

Printer Pass-through (ThinPrint)

Fusion includes technology to seamlessly pass printer information from the Mac to the virtual machine without the installation of additional printer drivers. This method is the least complex, but may limit access to more advanced printer features from inside the virtual machine.

To use Printer Pass-through:
  1. Ensure the virtual machine is powered off (not just suspended).
  2. From the Apple menu bar, go to Virtual Machine > Settings.
  3. Click Printer if available or add the printer to the Settings pane by clicking Add Device > Printer > Printer.
  4. In Fusion 6.x, 5.x and 4.x, ensure that Share Mac printers with Windows is turned ON.

    In Fusion 3.x and earlier ensure that Enabled is selected.

  5. (Optional) If you want to keep your same default printer, also select Match the default printer selected on the Mac.
  6. Power on the virtual machine and ensure that the printer is now present. In Windows, click Start > Control Panel > Printers and Fax.

Connecting a printer directly to a virtual machine through USB

Using a direct connection to the printer provides full functionality of the device, but the printer is not be accessible to the Mac while connected to the virtual machine.

To connect a printer to a virtual machine through USB:
  1. Ensure the printer is connected to the Mac using a USB cable.
  2. Power on your virtual machine
  3. In Fusion 4.x, 5.x and 6.x, from the Apple menu bar, go to Virtual Machine > USB & Bluetooth and click Connect name of your printer.

    In Fusion 3.x and earlier, from the Apple menu bar, go to Virtual Machine > USB and click Connect name of your printer.

  4. In the virtual machine, install any required printer software and drivers as if it were a physical computer. Use the installation disc provided with the printer, or obtain the latest software from the manufacturer's website.
  5. (Optional) To pass the printer connection back to the Mac:
    • In Fusion 4.x, 5.x and 6.x, click Virtual Machine > USB & Bluetooth and click Disconnect name of your printer.
    • In Fusion 3.x, click Virtual Machine > USB and click Disconnect name of your printer.

      Note: Quitting Fusion or shutting down the virtual machine also passes the printer connection back to the Mac.

Connecting a networked / wireless printer

To connect a network printer present on the existing network:
  1. Disable printer sharing in the virtual machine settings:

    1. In the Apple menu, go to Virtual Machine > Settings.
    2. Click Printers.
    3. In Fusion 4.x, 5.x and 6.x, turn it OFF.

      In Fusion 3.x and earlier, deselect Enabled.

    4. Close the settings window.

  2. Change the network interface for the virtual machine:

    1. From the Apple menu bar, go to Virtual Machine > Settings.
    2. Click Network or Network Adapter.
    3. Select Connect directly to the physical network (Bridged).
    4. Close the Settings window.

  3. Power on the virtual machine.
  4. Verify Internet connectivity in the virtual machine.
  5. In the virtual machine, install any required printer software and drivers as if it was a physical computer. Use the installation disc provided with the printer, or obtain the latest software from the manufacturer's website.
For more information about networked printers, see Print from Windows XP/Vista over an Apple Airport Base station network connection (1004938).

Connecting to a printer using Apple's Bonjour Protocol

For information about using Apple's Bonjour Protocol to set-up a printer, see Sharing a printer with a Windows virtual machine using Apple Bonjour (1003814).

Tags

usb-printing printing-setup network-printing bonjour-printing printer-passthrough

See Also

Update History

03/24/2010 - Moved "Next Step" section (linked article) to "Purpose" section, after discussion with Technical Editor. 05/31/2010 - Clarified that networked printers include wireless printers. 023/02/2011 - Expanded purpose. 12/01/2012 - Added steps to disable printer sharing. 08/23/2012 - Added Fusion 5.x to Product Versions. 09/09/2013 - Added VMware Fusion 6.x to Product Versions.

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