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A computer printer does not work until the required drivers and software are installed. If you lost your printer’s CD, you could download your printer’s drivers and install your printer with the drivers. On our printer drivers page, you find a listing of printer manufacturers and links to the related driver download sites.

Connect the printer to your computer

Connect the printer to the computer via either a USB, parallel port cable or SCSI cable and connect the power plug to an outlet. Today most home computer printers use an example-like USB cable.

Tip

If this is a network printer, connect your printer to a wireless network or an RJ-45 connection.

Note

A laptop computer works the same way as a desktop and, if available, can use any of the above connections.

Smartphones and tablet users must have a printer that connects to printing devices wirelessly or over the Internet.

Turn on a printer

The printer can be turned on using the power button on the front of the printer when the printer is connected to the device. The power button is generally located on the front right corner of the printer. The location of the button depends on the type of printer you have. And older laser printers may have a power switch in one of the printer’s bottom back corners.

Setup printer and install software

Once the printer is connected and turned on, the software and drivers of the printers must be installed. Every printer should come with the software used to install a printer on Windows or your operating system.

  1. After everything is plugged in, turn it on your computer.
  2. Insert the CD that came with the printer on it. If the CD does not start automatically, open My Computer, double-click the CD drive, and then click Setup or Install. Run the downloaded setup file if you have downloaded the drivers.
  3. Follow the installation wizard and your software will be installed once it’s finished.
  4. Test the printer to make sure it works.

A computer without a CD drive

If your computer does not have a disk drive or you have lost a CD, you can download your printer software from the printer driver page. Once the drivers have been downloaded, you can run a file to install the drivers.

No driver available for my operating system

All older printers may not support newer operating systems. For example, Windows 10 can not support a printer that was made years before it was released. If the drivers are not listed on the printer driver page, the printer is not supported by your operating system or Windows versions. You can try installing an earlier version of an operating system driver, and it might work. However, consider getting a new printer for full support.

Installing a printer using only the drivers

You can only install the printer driver by following the steps below if you want the printer to be installed and no other software programs.

Tip

A list of printer drivers and software is available on our printer driver page.

Note

If you have installed a printer that does the above steps, these steps should not be necessary unless you have encountered errors.

  1. Open the printer-connected Control Panel and power it on.
  2. Double-click the Printers or Printers and the Fax icon in the Control Panel.
  3. Click the Add Print icon in the Printers window.
  4. See the Windows Printer Wizard after completing the above steps. To start the wizard, click Next.
  5. Next, you have the option of installing a local or network printer. If the printer connects directly to your computer, select a local printer attached to your computer and click Next.
  6. When prompted for the location of the printer driver, browse the directory of your drivers or point it to the printer CD.

Test the printer

After installing a printer, you can use Windows to print a self-test page to help verify that the printer is working.

Microsoft Windows users

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Devices and Printers, Printers or Printers icon.
  3. Right-click the printer you want to test, and then click Properties. If you don’t see your printer, your printer will not be installed.
  4. In the Print Properties window, click the Print Test Page button.
  5. If the printer can print a test page, your printer will be installed and correctly set up. However, if you can not print from other programs, the program you are trying to print has issues.

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