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Normally, Windows automatically detects any printer on the same network as your PC. But what if your computer can’t see the printer, or simply refuses to connect? Adding a printer to a local network is simple in theory, but the reality is that if the process goes wrong, it can be difficult to figure out.
How To Add Printer To My Laptop
Running the “Add a printer or scanner” wizard or the printer troubleshooter should solve the problem in most cases. However, if that doesn’t work, these easy troubleshooting steps can save the day.
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A printer can connect to a network over an Ethernet or Wi-Fi local area network (LAN), or you can connect it directly to a computer on the network via USB. Each connection type can be shared with other users on the network by enabling print sharing on the server or on the computer to which the USB printer is connected.
The Windows “Add a printer or scanner” wizard is accessible from the “Printers and Scanners” section in the Settings Control Panel. (In Windows 7, this is the Add Printer Wizard accessible from the Devices and Printers control panel.) The specific details vary between versions of Windows, but the procedure is fairly similar.
However, unlike previous versions, Windows 10 usually doesn’t require you to run a wizard in the first place. Instead, when you plug your Ethernet cable into the printer or connect the printer to your wireless network, in most cases the printer will automatically appear in the list of installed devices.
When you are setting up a printer on your LAN, it will usually automatically appear in the list of installed printers and scanners.
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(In Windows 7 and earlier versions, if you click the Add Printer link, Windows will automatically search for printers on the network. The printer name(s) will appear, and you can select one. Add it Do that, and with luck, you’ll be ready to print.)
If your device isn’t listed here, click “Add a printer or scanner.” Windows starts searching your network for connected printers and lists its findings, as shown below. Simply click the printer you want to connect to, then click “Add Device.”
Windows will move the printer to the list of installed printers and scanners. From here, if you click on the printer name in the list, you can manage the machine as you wish.
Of course, a printer is not always installed as it should be. It may not appear in the list of available printers, or you may receive a message that Windows cannot connect to it. The first step is to make sure of the basics.
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This means you make sure the printer is turned on and connected to the same network you want to add it to. You should also check that print sharing is enabled on the computer it is connected to. For a home network, this would be the computer on which you installed the printer software.
From here you have two options. Under the list of printers detected in the search for connected devices, click the “The printer I want is not in the list” option, or run the troubleshooter.
One thing to know: just because you don’t see a printer, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Some IT departments hide all printer names by default. While IT has good reasons for doing this, hidden printers can be a hindrance if someone has a legitimate need to connect to something specific. There are other issues that can prevent you from even seeing an accessible printer.
In the “Find a printer using more options” dialog, you’ll see five ways to find and connect to your printer. (Note that earlier versions of Windows only had three options in this dialog box.)
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My printer is a bit old. Help me find it: If you select this option, Windows performs a separate search. When it finds your printer, it will display a second dialog. Select your printer, and Windows will install the drivers. If your printer isn’t listed, try one of the other options in this dialog (which will require another “Add Printer or Scanner” search from the Printers and Scanners control panel).
Select a printer by name: To use this option, you need to know the name of the computer to which the printer is connected and the name of the printer’s network. If you do this in an office for a network-connected printer, and you don’t know the name of the printer, you should ask another employee who uses it, or get it from your IT department. Note the name examples directly below this option in the image above.
Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or host name: If you select this option, the dialog box will become “Type a printer host name or IP address”. Here again you need to get the hostname or IP address. Enter the address or hostname, and click Next.
On a home network, you can get the printer’s IP address from the status report or the printer’s built-in web portal from its control panel.
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Windows will prompt for the printer and then display a list of compatible devices, allowing you to select your printer by manufacturer and type. After making your selection, click Next, and it will connect your PC to the printer. If not, continue running the troubleshooter below.
Add a Bluetooth, wireless or network discoverable printer: This option allows you to add peer-to-peer network devices that are not actually on your LAN. (Windows performs a brute force search for all available protocols for your PC.)
Add a local printer or network with manual settings: If you select this option, a wizard goes through several steps to manually create a printer port and install the printer, requiring some technical expertise beyond the scope of this entry guide. happens
At any point in the process, or if one of these methods fails, you can run the Windows troubleshooter to try to connect to the printer.
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To run the troubleshooter, the printer you are having trouble connecting to or printing to should be displayed in the list of available devices in the Printers and Scanners control panel. To run it, click the printer in the list and then click Manage.
This brings up the “Manage your device” panel for that particular printer. In the list of options at the bottom of the panel, click “Run Troubleshooter.”
When Windows detects a problem, it displays another dialog that informs you of the problem and provides, depending on the problem, the “Apply this repair” and “Skip this repair” options. Options…
If the troubleshooter finds a problem, it gives you the option to fix it or continue troubleshooting.
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If you choose the former, Windows will attempt to resolve the problem and connect to the printer. If you choose the latter, the troubleshooter will continue to run, looking for additional problems.
What happens next depends on many factors, including (but not limited to) which option you choose and which problems are detected. In the above example, Windows suggests that making the device the default printer will solve the problem.
When you click “Apply Fix,” Windows makes the printer the default and asks you if that fixes the problem. If you click “Skip this fix,” the troubleshooter starts looking for other problems, and, if it finds one, it displays another dialog asking you if you Want to apply a fix or continue looking for issues?
Again, depending on which option you choose and what problems the troubleshooter finds, your problem may be resolved immediately, or it may take a few tries. In the rare event that these troubleshooting steps do not resolve the problem, contact IT or call customer service for your printer manufacturer.
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In most cases, however, the techniques discussed here should eventually connect your PC to the printer. Well, if you know that the printer is connected, but you
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I focus on printer and scanner technology and reviews. I have been writing about computer technology since before the advent of the Internet. I am the co-author of 20 books – including popular titles
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Series – About digital design and software applications for desktop publishing. My published expertise in those areas includes Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, and QuarkXPress, as well as prepress imaging technology. (However, in my long career I have covered many aspects of IT.)
In addition to writing hundreds of articles for Computer Shopper, Digital Trends, MacUser, PC World, The Wirecutter, and Windows Magazine, I have also written for many other computer and business publications. I also worked as a printer and scanner specialist at About.com (now Lifewire). If we put in a new cartridge and the printer says ‘No
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