One of the joys of using Windows 10 is that, unlike older editions of Windows, it is perfectly capable of taking care of installing any additional peripherals such as your printer. If you run into a printer problem while setting it up in Windows 10, there are some easy solutions.
In most cases, you can fix your printer setup issue in Windows 10 by following some fairly standard steps like double-checking your cables or connections. Driver installation is required, but if all else fails, you can run the Windows troubleshooter to try and fix the most common printer setup issues for Windows 10 printers.
Check for no cables or wireless connection
It may sound simple enough, but one of the most common printer setup problems in Windows is the lack of communication between the printer and your PC.
For wired printers, this means the cable is not fully inserted at both ends. Modern printers use USB or Ethernet, so double check that the supplied printer cable snugly fits at both ends. However, troubleshooting wireless printers can be more challenging.
Wireless printers, like most Wi-Fi devices, must be connected to your own wireless network before other devices can print to them. Check your printer’s documentation for how to do this, but in many cases the WPS button must be on both the printer and the network router.
Depending on the model and manufacturer of your printer, this device may be listed as WPS or have a common shortcut such as WiFi. When you press this button on both devices, your printer should automatically connect to the wireless network. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again.
From there, your device should be detected by Windows if your Windows PC or laptop is connected to the same network. If the WPS method does not work, you may need to first connect the printer to your computer via USB and manually configure the wireless network.
Install missing printer drivers
Printers are a common peripheral for Windows 10 PCs. With this in mind, Microsoft has an extensive catalog of printer drivers already available for download and installation when you plug in a new printer.
In most cases, you do not need to do anything to install the printer driver, as Windows will do it for you. However, this is not always the case. Microsoft may not have enough drivers for new or unusual printer models, or it may simply not install automatically.
- First, use Windows to search the Internet for the appropriate driver software. To do this, right-click the Windows Start Menu button and select Settings.
- Here click “Devices”> “Printers & Scanners”.
- Click “Add Printer or Scanner” at the top.
- Wait while Windows scans your device for a printer. If Windows finds it, click on it when it appears in the search list. If it can’t find your printer, click “The printer I want isn’t listed.”
- In the Add Printer Wizard, select the appropriate option for your device. If it is a wireless printer, select Add a Bluetooth, wireless or network printer and click Next to continue.
- Select “My printer is slightly older” if your printer is older (for example, if it does not use USB).
- Follow the onscreen instructions for your printer type to begin installation. You can also use Windows Device Manager to find or update drivers. To do this, right-click the Windows Start Menu button and select Device Manager.
- In Device Manager, find the Printers category. If you don’t see your printer listed, click View> Show Hidden Devices, or find your device under Other Devices.
- Right-click the device and select Update Driver Software.
- In the window that opens, click “Search automatically for updated driver software”.
- Windows will search the Internet for the appropriate drivers for your printer and, if found, will install them automatically. If Windows cannot find your printer, you will have to find and install the missing printer drivers yourself.
Find your printer model in the download or support sections on the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver package for your device.
- Once you have the latest drivers for your printer device, you can then return to Device Manager, right-click your device, then select Update Driver> Search my computer for driver software Alternatively, the manufacturer may provide an installer to automatically install the drivers.
Set as default printer
If you have multiple printers installed, you may have problems printing your document. Setting a new printer as the Windows default printer can solve these problems by preventing the printed documents from being accidentally sent to the wrong printer.
- To set your printer as the default Windows printer, right-click on your Click the Windows Start Menu button and click Settings.
- From the Settings menu, click Devices> Printers & Scanners. You will need to uncheck the Let Windows manage my default printer box, otherwise you will not be able to set the default printer yourself.
- After this setting is disabled, click your printer and click Manage.
- In the printer management settings, click Set as default to make it the default Windows printer.
If your printer is configured correctly, you can start printing from that printer. Each time you choose to print, this will be the default.
Run the Windows 10 Troubleshooter
If your printer is still not working after following these steps, running the Windows 10 troubleshooter might fix your printer problem. This will check your printer configuration and walk you through some additional steps to get it up and running.
- To run the Windows 10 troubleshooter for your printer, right-click the Windows Start menu.
- Click Settings, then Update & Security> Troubleshoot.
- In the Troubleshooting section of the Getting Started section, click Printer.
- Click “Run the troubleshooter” to get started.
- You need to select a printer from the list provided. Select the appropriate printer, or select “My Printer Is Not Listed”, then click Next to continue.
Windows will then search your printer configuration and any related Windows settings to find conflicts. If it detects any problems with the printer, Windows will ask you for permission to apply the appropriate patch to get your printer working.
Resolve Windows 10 printer problems
These tips are not meant to be exhaustive, but they will help you solve some of the most common installation problems sometimes experienced by users with Windows 10 printers.
If you still encounter problems setting up and using your printer, try uninstalling the printer or reinstalling the printer driver as a next step before contacting your manufacturer’s support.