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How to install a printer on Windows 10

Printers rarely become obsolete. You may not be able to refill the ink cartridges for a particular model at some point and that’s when you buy a new printer but older models will work even if you’re running a newer OS like Windows 10.

Install a printer on Windows 10

Printers can connect over a network or you can connect one directly to your system. The installation process will differ in both cases. All printers can connect to a system directly, but not all can connect over a network. If your printer can connect over a network, it will say so on the packaging and there will be a button on it that indicates the feature.

1. Install printer Windows updates

Windows 10 does a pretty good job of installing a printer, even if it’s old and pre-dates Windows 10 itself.

  1. Make sure you’ve set up the printer correctly and removed all protective stickers.
  2. Turn the printer on and insert paper into the tray.
  3. Connect the printer to your system via the data cable.
  4. You will hear Windows 10 detect new hardware and it will automatically install drivers.
  5. To confirm the printer has been installed, open the Settings app.
  6. Go to Devices>Printers and Scanners.
  7. Your printer should be listed.

2. Manually install printer driver

Printers, particularly older ones from the Windows 7 years, came with installation disks. Modern systems generally do not have an optical disk drive anymore which means it may not be as easy to install the driver from a disk.

If your system has an optical drive;

  1. Insert the CD into the drive and open it.
  2. The CD will auto-run the set-up. If it doesn’t, double-click the EXE file in it.
  3. Allow the installation to complete.
  4. Connect the printer to your system via the data cable.
  5. The printer software will also install an app for managing the printer. Run it and print a test page.
  6. Once the test page has been printed, your printer is good to go.

If your Windows 10 system does not have an optical drive you can try one of the following;

  • Look for the drivers online. If your printer is old, you may only be able to find it on an online software repository. Check the printer manufacturer’s website.
  • If you can gain access to a system with an optical drive, use it to copy the driver to a USB or to upload it online where you can download it on your system.

3. Install network printer

A network printer doesn’t connect directly to a computer. Instead, it connects to your network either via WiFi or an Ethernet cable.

To connect a printer over WiFi;

  1. Locate a WiFi button on the printer.
  2. Press and hold it so that it will scan for a network.
  3. On your router, you will find a button that will tell the router that an authorized device is looking to connect to it.

If your printer has an input panel;

  1. Access the input panel and look for network settings.
  2. Connect to a network and the printer’s panel will offer you a method to authenticate the connection.

Consult your printer’s manual if you’re having trouble figuring out how to set up a connection. If the printer connects via Ethernet, connecting the cable will do the job. Once installed, the printer will show up as an available printer as long as network discovery is enabled on your Windows 10 system.


Installing a printer is fairly easy. If your Windows 10 system can’t detect the printer, you should try changing the USB port you’re connecting it to. You should also check out our troubleshooting guide for printers.

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