Installing a Printer

Plug and Play Printers

Plug and Play is a set of specifications that a computer uses to detect and configure a print device and install the appropriate drivers. This installation technique is available only for printers that are connected directly to your computer. Plug and Play is not available for networked printers.

To start Plug and Play printer installation, plug your printer into your computer. In most cases, Windows7 automatically configures the printer and activates it. During this process, Plug and Play installs the appropriate drivers; and you do not need to restart your computer. If the installation fails, you can use manual detection for Plug and Play printers by using the Add Printer wizard or Device Manager.

To install a local printer by using the Add Printer wizard

  1. In the Control Panel double-click Printers and Faxes.
  2. Double-click Add Printer and follow the instructions.

Although Windows7 includes drivers for many popular printers, you need to provide the driver if your printer uses a driver that is not included. If Plug and Play detects that your computer does not have a driver for your printer, you are prompted to provide it.

You can have the Add Printer wizard search for drivers on the CD, local drive, network path, or Windows Update.

Automatic Detection and Installation

Windows7 detects supported printers and completes the entire printer installation process by installing the proper drivers, updating the system, and allocating resources. You do not need to restart the computer and the printer is immediately available for use.

All printers that Plug and Play automatically detects use Universal Serial Bus (USB) connections, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1394 cables, parallel connections or Infrared Data Association (IrDA) transmission.

Manual Detection and Installation

Manual Plug and Play detection is similar to automatic Plug and Play detection in that Windows7 completes printer installation. However, you must restart your computer to prompt the automatic installation, or use the Add Hardware wizard to prompt your computer to detect the printer. When you restart the computer or use the Add Hardware wizard, Windows7 updates your computer, allocates resources and installs drivers. If drivers for the printer are not available, you are prompted to provide them.

Typically, manually detectable Plug and Play printers use parallel cables. In Windows7, for a printer using a parallel connection, you can click the Automatically Detect box in the Add Printer wizard to verify that the printer is installed.