If you are planning to buy a printer soon, you should consider buying an Ethernet or wireless printer. Prices have dropped in recent years, and now that most people have wireless networks, you can set up your network to be able to print from anywhere in your home or even the world using a service like Google Cloud Print! It’s also great for guests because they can connect to your wireless network and print easily without having to use cables and CDs, so you’ll get a lot of reputation as a host!
In this article, I will only talk about network or Ethernet printers. Also, this article is for Windows XP users. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, the process is much easier, and you can read my other post on adding a printer to Windows 8 here. Now let’s get started. Here’s what you need to do to set up the printer on your Windows XP machine:
Step 1: First, connect the printer to your network by connecting one end of the Cat 5 or 6 cable (which should come with your printer) to the router and the other end to the printer’s network port. Now, turn on your printer and wait until it is ready.
Step 2: Next you will need to get the IP address of your printer. The IP address is what tells your computer where to find your printer on the network. All network printers allow you to print a configuration table that will list basic information about the printer along with the current network configuration.
For most printers, this involves pressing Menu button on the printer, go to Information choose and choose Print configuration. Sometimes if there is no screen, you just need to press and hold To go or Print button down for about 10 seconds and it will print the configuration page. You will be looking for the TCP/IP section:
The IP address is what you will need for the next steps. Your printer will automatically get an IP address from a DHCP server on your network. At home, the IP should come from a wireless router or residential gateway if you have one that works as a cable modem plus router.
Step 3: The final step is to add the printer to your computer. Click Start, then Printers and Faxes.
If you don’t see this in the Start Menu, you can go to Start, Control Panel and then click Printers and Faxes there. Click Add Printer from the left task pane.
The Add Printer Wizard will start, so click Next to get started. On the next screen, you will be asked if your printer is a local printer or a network printer. These options are confusing because a network printer actually refers to a printer connected to another computer or a printer on the print server. Our printer is a standalone printer and so you must choose Local printer attached to this computer and make sure you uncheck the box to automatically detect the printer.
Click Next and you will be asked to select the printer port. Since our printer is a network printer with an IP address, we need to choose Create a new one port options and choose Standard TCP/IP port.
Click Next and you will get another wizard to add TCP/IP printer port. On the main wizard screen, click Next. In the first text box, Printer Name or IP Address, enter the IP address from the printer configuration table that you printed earlier.
Click Next and depending on the printer you have, you may get one more dialog box before finishing the wizard. If the network card for the printer cannot be identified, the wizard will ask you to select the card type. You can leave the default of WapShared network cardTake and click Next.
Click Next and click Finish. You will then continue with the Add Printer wizard and you will need to select the printer from the list of manufacturers or click There are discs and insert your printer driver cd into the computer.
Click Next and enter a name for your printer and click the Yes radio button if you want the printer to be your default printer.
Click Next and you will be asked if you want to share the printer. Click No because anyone else who wants to connect will be able to do so following the same steps. In later versions of Windows XP, the printer sharing dialog has been removed. Click Next and click Yes to print the test page and make sure that the computer and printer can communicate!
Click Next and then Finish! The new printer will appear in the Printers and Faxes screen, and you’re ready to print to your network printer in Windows XP!
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