Whether you are setting up a printer for the first time in Windows, or adding a new (or replacement) printer, Windows 10 makes the steps pretty easy…at least most of the time.
A new primter may come with an installation disk. If so, that’s probably the best route to choose, since Windows 10 may not have an applicable printer driver installed yet. Also, the installation disk may include the PDF manual for the printer as well as special diagnostic or utility software for it.
If you are going to use the printer manufacturer’s software, read the printer installation instructions first! Some manufacturers, HP as an example, want you to delay connecting the printer to the computer until the installation software tells you to connect it.
This prevents Windows from getting to a point where it registers the printer as an Unknown Device (and forces you to solve that problem).
If there is not an installation disk, or if you don’t want to use it, the first step is to open Windows 10 Settings.
Left-click on the Start button. Then click the Gear icon on the left to ope Settings. Select Devices. Alternatively, you can type
install printer in the search bar at the top of the Settings window.
Either option will open the Devices page of the Settings app.
The first item on the Devices page is Add printers & scanners. Just beneath it is the active link to actually do the work. Click on Add a printer or scanner or click on the plus(+) icon to its left.
Windows 10 will search for printers and scanners that are directly connected to the computer and for ones with wired or wireless connections to the same network that the computer is on.
It will display a list of the printers that it finds, allowing you to choose the printer you want to Install in Windows 10; that is, the printer you want to make usable by the computer running this installation of Windows 10.
You will not have to do separate installations for different user IDs on the same Windows installation.
The printer will have to be Installed separately on any other Windows 10 computers you have, in order to be available to them.
Similarly, if you have another version of Windows 10 installed in a separate partition or virtual machine, you’ll have to install it there, too.
In the example shown in the image above, Windows 10 was unable to locate any printer that was either directly connected or on the local wired/wireless network.
All is not lost, however. Just click the link The printer that I want isn’t listed and Windows 10 will provide additional options for finding the printer.
THe first option is the easiest, if it works. Select it and then click Next (if you have assigned a static IP address to the printer, the third option will work also, but do not use it if your printer uses a dynamically assigned IP address (DHCP address), which is usually the default network setting.
After selecting the printer, click Next for Windows 10 to install the printer driver.
At this point, Windows 10 will identify the driver (if it has it available) and whether it is installed or not. If it has already been installed (e.g., if you have previously installed that printer or that type of printer), Windows 10 will give you a choice of using the installed one or replacing it.
I selected Replace the current driver.
Even though I selected Replace the current driver, Windows 10 did not allow me to choose a driver. It simply reinstalled that driver. Now, it allows me to set the printer name in Windows 10.
The default printer name is the printr driver’s name. I chose to change that to the printer’s model name.
The next step allows you to choose whether to share the printer or not. With a directly-connected printer (connected to your computer via a USB cable), sharing will allow other computers on your home network to use the printer.
Of course, in order for another computer to use the printer via Windows printer sharing, the hosting computer (the one to which the printer is connected) must be running and booted into Windows.
However, since this is a network printer (directly connected to the network via an Ethernet cable), there is no need to tell Windows to share the printer.
The final step is the confirmation that the printer has been successfully added to Windows 10 on this computer. The Print a test page button functions as a test allowing you to make sure everything really works.