How to set up your home printer

Setting up a home printer is much easier than it used to be – especially if you’re just connecting it to a PC via USB. Network printers – wired and wireless – can be a little more challenging, though most people shouldn’t have problems. This guide walks you through the steps for setting up either type of printer.

Before getting started, you’ll need a printer, a computer, a A USB cable (for a USB printer), an Ethernet/LAN cable (for a wired network printer) or a wireless access point/router (for a wireless printer).

Setting up a USB printer


A USB connection is ideal if computer and printer are located close to each other, or when the printer doesn’t need to be shared by PCs in different locations.

1. Install the components and power on the printer

Following the steps in the quick start manual that came with your printer, remove the packaging, install the toner or ink cartridges and put paper in the feeder or tray. Then plug the printer into a power socket and turn it on.

2. Once the printer is powered on, connect it to the computer using a USB cable

Your computer should automatically detect that a new device has been connected, and it will start to install the drivers.

If there are drivers built into your operating system, you may not have to do anything at all after this, but most likely an ‘Add New Hardware’ Window will pop up. When it does, insert the driver CD that came with your printer.

3. Install the driver

Follow the steps in the driver setup dialogue box to install the drivers for your printer.

4. Test the printer

Open the Windows Control Panel (click on Start > Control Panel). Now click on “Printers” (in Windows XP/Vista) or “View Devices and Printers” (in Windows 7). An icon representing your newly installed printer should be present. Right-click on the icon and select ‘Properties’ (in XP/Vista) or “Printer Properties” (in Windows 7).

A new window will appear. Click on “Print Test Page” to print out a sample page. If it works, you should then be able to print from any program you run on your PC.