Thursday, 5 April 2012

Setting up any printer to use over a network in Windows

If you've bought a printer that's promised network printing, and it's come with a bunch of CD's, but you're having trouble getting it working, fear not, for there is a simple way to get it going.

Before we start, note that this guide has been designed for windows XP, however, the similarities between windows 7 are quite close, so you should be able to adjust easily, and follow along.

  1.  The first step in this guide is turn off all your devices, including your modem, computer, and anything that connects to the network, including Wifi devices, but leave on the printer attached to the modem/router.
  2. Next, what we want to do is just power on your modem/router so that the only device it's connected to is the printer. The purpose of these first two steps is to get the router to assign the first available IP address to your printer, which we'll come to later in this guide.
  3. Then you can start to turn back on the other computers and devices that connect to the network.
  4. Once on, click start, then go to printers and faxes in the menu.
  5. Click add printer in the column on the left hand side.
  6. In the wizard that pops up, click next to start the process.
  7. The next screen will ask you for a local or a network printer. This is a very confusing question as we are adding a network printer, but it's on a local network, which means that we will choose the first option, a local printer attached to this computer. Click Next.
  8. On the next page, go to bottom option which is create a new port, and then in the drop-down list, choose "Standard TCP/IP port"
  9. When you hit next a new wizard will popup showing add port wizard.
  10. This screen will ask you for the IP address of the printer. This will probably be one of the harder steps to complete as it's not immediately obvious which TCP/IP address you need to use.
  11. The best way to check this for your printer would be look on the actual printer through the screens on it's mini screen if it has one. Failing that, you can log on to the modem/router and check the DCHP table. If this sounds a bit too technical for you, don't fret, we can try and take a pretty calculated guess at what the port will be.
    1. Click start, then click run, and type CMD, then hit enter
    2. Type ipconfig on the black dialogue box that appears.
    3. You should see a few sets of number depending on what set up you have, but we are interested in the IP address of your computer, and the IP address of the default gateway.
    4. If you default gateway is, and your computers IP address is for example, it's pretty safe to bet that your printer is because remember at step 2 earlier in this guide we turned on the printer first?
    5. Similarly, if the address for the default gateway is, and your computer is (see the pattern here) then your printer could be
  12. With these addresses in mind, type the missing address in the box on the wizard screen, and then hit next.
  13. If you have problems a this stage it probably means that the printer wasn't able to be located, or the address we have is incorrect. You can click back to try a different one if you wish. If not you may need to get the help of a technical friend or call in a computer tech to help.
  14. With not problems, it should find the printer and prompt for a driver you'd like to use. In this screen you can choose from the list if your printer is listed, if it isn't pick the closest model, and failing that, chuck the CD into the drive, and click have disk.
    1. Clicking have disk will open a new window, asking for the location of the disk, and to search automatically which you can choose to do.
  15. Once the driver has been found hit next and it will install the printer on your system.
  16. If it asks to keep the same driver, I would also recommend this as it's known to work, and we want to keep using something that works :)
  17. The next screen will offer to name the printer and ask if you'd like to print a test page.
  18. Now the momemt of truth - print the test page and if it comes through you're good to go. If not you may have missed something along the way I'd recommend going back and checking you've done each step.
  19. Now click finish
  20. You're done!

I will also post a guide to adding a network printer on a Mac shortly.

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