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One of the most common types of peripherals you'll probably need to use with your PC is a printer. You can print to printers connected directly to one of your computer's USB ports or even to the kind of printer that connect to your network without needing to be tethered to a computer, and setting up a printer with the latest version of the Windows operating system couldn't be much easier. Let's take a look at the process starting with printing to a printer connected directly to your computer. First connect your printer to your computer. You most likely use a USB cable, as that's the most common type of connection. The first movie in this chapter shows you what the USB connectors look like. So be sure to go back and review that movie if you need to.
Once your printer is connected via a USB, turn it on, and you can forget about any installation discs that came with the printer. The software in those discs is probably outdated anyway and Windows has hundreds of printer drivers preinstalled. A printer driver is the software needed for your computer to talk to your specific printers. In fact, just moments after you turn the printer on, especially if it's a newer printer, Windows should detect it and immediately start installing the drivers for it, and in just a few moments, you should see a message like this, telling you that your device is ready to be used. So that's the super-easy way to set up a printer because Windows does all the work.
Now, if you have an older printer, if your printer wasn't automatically detected or if your printer connects to your PC through something other than USB, like over Ethernet or Bluetooth, your next step is to run the Add Printer Wizard to walk through the installation steps manually. Click the Start button and choose Devices and Printers. And at the top of the window that opens, click Add a printer. Notice we have two options here, to add a local printer, meaning a printer directly connected to your computer or to add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer.
Most likely you'll choose local if you have an older printer that connects to your PC via the printer ports found on older PCs. So click local if that's the case. On this next screen, you would choose which port your printer is plugged into. LPT1 is the most common type. Then we'll click Next. Then you'll hunt to the list of manufacturers in this list on the left to find your printer's maker, and then select the model number on the right, and then click Next.
If you want you can give the printer another name here. I'll leave the default and then click Next again. So Windows then installs the printer driver for the selected printer. Next, it's asking me if I want to share my printer with other computers on my network. You can choose either not to share or to share it. I'm just going to keep Do not share this printer checked there. If you want you can set this as your default printer and print a test page to make sure it works, and when you're done click Finish. And now you can see the printer I just installed is sitting here among all the other printer drivers I have installed.
Now, if your printer did not show up in that list of manufacturers and models, you'll probably have to visit the company's web site to see if they have drivers for the printer you can download. The chances that you'll have to do this are slim though unless you have a really obscure or old printer. Now, if you do have a printer that connects to your network via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, you can set that up by clicking Add a printer again and then choosing Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer. Windows is going to scan your network and look for nearby wireless printers to add. Once the printer is detected, the setup steps are the same as adding a local printer.
If your printer doesn't show up, you can click The printer I want isn't listed, and in that case you'll probably need to call in some help from your IT department or anyone who understands how to set up a network printer, because you'll need to know specific information about your network and your network printer here. I'm just going to cancel this because I don't have a wireless network printer connected, and again the chances are that it won't come to that. You should be able to set up just about any printer with ease by either plugging it in via USB or just walking through the Add Printer Wizard.
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