Installing Printers on Windows 7

November 23, 2010, By Christian Cawley

With Windows 7 you have access to a massive resource of device drivers for all compatible hardware. Printers, scanners, faxes and all-in-one machines, joypads, keypads and all manner of input and output devices can be installed without driver disks, provided they were available when Windows 7 was released.

Installing a printer on Windows 7 is a pretty simple, straightforward job than can be completed in a matter of minutes. Installing an older printer, however, might be more difficult.

With this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the straightforward task of installing a USB printer in Windows 7, as well as the steps required to install a parallel printer.

Installing a USB Printer in Windows 7

installing a printer on Windows 7If your USB printer is an older device, you should be able to install it quite easily by following the basic procedure.

No driver disc will be required in most cases – all you need to do is plug your printer into the mains, connect the USB cable to the printer and then to the PC, and switch the printer on.

Windows 7 should then detect the printer and begin the installation procedure, calling on the selection of drivers in its library to install the printer on your PC!

This is a great system for installing printers as it pretty much removes the need to get technical and access the control panel. A truly plug and play printer setup, users of pretty much any level should now be able to install USB printers!

Installing a Parallel Printer in Windows 7

Assuming your PC has a parallel port, you should be able to install an older printer device that doesn’t use USB. However you will need drivers for such a printer and these aren’t generally available from printer manufacturer websites and of course Windows 7 don’t appear on the discs that shipped with older printers.

A straightforward installation of a parallel printer will require you to switch off both devices, connect the printer to the PC’s parallel port and switch on both devices. Windows should detect the printer and you’ll need to proceed through the Add new hardware wizard.

In 90% of cases this will be all you need to do. However if the printer isn’t detected, go to Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Add a printer.

Choose Add a local printer in the next screen, and use LPT1 before clicking Next. You will then need to select the printer type and model from the Install the printer driver screen – if you cannot find the right printer, then select instead the Windows Update option. Windows will then communicate with the Microsoft website to find the required driver.

Once detected, the correct driver will be downloaded to your PC and the printer installed. If you can’t install the printer, meanwhile, you have a few options, mainly along the lines of browsing the web for alternative printer drivers. Some printers will work with drivers intended for other models, for instance, although this is only by trial and is purely at the user’s risk. Older printers have a bigger carbon footprint than newer models and with the convenience offered by USB in Windows 7, you might find spending $50 on a new printer is more cost effective than spending time looking for drivers.

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