How To Install A Wireless Printer On Windows & Workarounds

Christian Cawley 28-10-2014

Wireless printing is an extremely convenient feature of modern printers, but it doesn’t always run smoothly. Are you having problems connecting to your wireless printer? Perhaps you’re looking for a way to make a cabled printer accessible wirelessly? Use these tips and tricks to achieve wireless printing Zen.


Connecting To A Wireless Printer In Windows

The hype would have you believe that wireless printing is as simple as unboxing a new WiFi enabled printer, connecting it to your network and then hitting the print button from an application on your PC.

It is often not this simple.

Although Windows 8 saw a revised printer driver architecture intended to simplify installation across ARM and 32-bit and 64-bit devices Do I Have 32-Bit or 64-Bit Windows? Here's How to Tell How can you tell if the Windows version you are using is 32-bit or 64-bit? Use these methods and learn why it is important too. Read More , establishing a connection to a wireless printer in Windows remains a challenge, regardless of the make and model.


What should happen is that with the printer connected to your home network, you open Windows Explorer Hack Windows Explorer for Efficiency Boosts Windows Explorer -- known as File Explorer on Windows 8 -- is an application that you probably spend a good amount of time in. Even Windows geeks that avoid using any other Microsoft program tend... Read More and find it listed as a device on your network. From here you can right-click and select Connect to add it.



Alternatively, opening the Charms bar Every Windows 8 Shortcut - Gestures, Desktop, Command Line Windows 8 is all about shortcuts. People with touch-enabled PCs use touch gestures, users without touch devices must learn the mouse shortcuts, power users use keyboard shortcuts on the desktop and novel command-line shortcuts, and... Read More  in Windows 8, tapping PC Settings > PC and devices > Devices > Add a device will also add the printer to Windows.


You can also use the traditional Windows method of opening Control Panel > Hardware and sound > Devices and printers > Add a printer to scan your network for the printer. With this method you can Browse the local network for the printer, connect by entering its device name, add a printer using the TCP/IP address, and connect to any network discoverable wireless printer.


Each of these methods requires you to specify a printer driver as part of the setup.

Installation Problems? Try These Tips!

When a printer won’t install or connect correctly, the reason is usually simple. The problem is that working out exactly why the connection cannot be made can prove to be a drawn-out process.

Is The Printer On Your Network?

By default, the printer should appear in Windows Explorer, even if you’re not connected to it. If this doesn’t happen you should use all tools at your disposal to confirm that the printer is connected to your network.



During setup, the device should display an IP address, or have the option to display this in the settings (almost all wireless printers have a small display). Use the ping command in the Windows command line (best launched by pressing Windows+R then typing cmd and hitting Enter) to confirm the device can be reached from your computer. (You might also consider setting a static IP address What Is a Static IP Address? Here's Why You Don't Need One A static IP address is one that never changes. Dynamic IP addresses do change. We explain why you don't need a static IP address. Read More for the device, so you always know where to find it. Check the device documentation on how to assign a static IP.)


If finding the IP address is proving difficult, connect to your router (almost always the gateway IP when you enter ipconfig in the command line) in your browser to check what the IP address is for your printer.

Can you see the printer using either of these methods? If not, try resetting or switching off at the mains for a few minutes and starting again. Restarting Windows during the same time frame is a good idea too.


Wireless Proximity

Place your computer and printer close together in order to ensure that there is no issue with distance when setting up the wireless connection. If this works, spend a few moments running text prints from different parts of the building to see where the blind spot might be. Should the blind spot be in an important location like your office or living room or some other area you use regularly for computing tasks, consider setting up a wireless repeater What Is a Wireless "Dead Zone"? Here's How to Spot and Fix Them Wi-Fi can suffer interference and obstructions. Learn how to spot and fix wireless "dead zones" or "dead spots" in your home. Read More .

Use A Different Driver

Often printers are compatible with drivers from older models. For instance, you might own a brand new HP printer, and have difficulty installing the driver to use it wirelessly. Spending a few moments looking for the driver 3 Resources For Windows 7 Printer Drivers To Get Your Printer Working Read More to an older model with similar features can give you the results you’re looking for.

Don’t Have A Wireless Printer? 5 Alternatives You Can Try

Not everyone has a wireless printer; not everyone feels justified in spending money on a device that does the same as the one they already have, only with fewer cables.


Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy wireless printing. All you need is a device to act as a print server. This might be a website setup for cloud printing How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The Internet Windows 7’s Homegroup feature makes sharing printers on your local network easy, but what if you want to share a printer over the Internet? This has traditionally been very complicated, involving print drivers, firewall rules... Read More , another computer (a Raspberry Pi can be used How to Make Your Own Wireless Printer With a Raspberry Pi Want to turn an old printer into a wireless printer for your network? Here's how to make any printer wireless with a Raspberry Pi. Read More ), or even a USB network hub as illustrated in our summary of the three easiest ways to share a printer The 3 Easiest Ways to Share a Printer Over a Network You can share your one printer with multiple PCs across a local network. We explain how to set this up in Windows. We also show you alternative ways to share your printer. Read More . Another way might be to use your SD card as a disk, saving the data (documents, photos, etc.) from one device and then printing directly from the SD card 7 Awesome Uses for an Old SD Card Whether your old SD card is a meager 64 MB or a massive 64 GB, various projects exist for you to make use of these storage cards. Read More if your printer has a card reader.

Finally, you can share a printer within your home network in Windows 7 and printer sharing in Windows 8 works much the same.

If you’re baffled by any of the terms in this article, please see Joel’s explanation of various popular wireless networking terms Wireless Networking Simplified: The Terms You Should Know Do you know the difference between an "access point" and an "ad hoc network? What is a "wireless repeater" and how can it improve your home network? Read More .

A Better Understanding Of Wireless Networking Can Help You

When setting up a wireless printer, it is a good idea if you actually recognise what you’re doing; that is, connecting the printer to your wireless network, where it will sit as a device along with your computer, tablet, smartphone, perhaps your media centre as well.

With that connection made, it should be a simple task to connect your PC to the device and start printing across the network. The tips above should help to resolve the majority of issues, but for a better understanding of the concepts see Matt Smith’s Connected: Your Complete Guide To Home Networking Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. Read More guide and The Easy Guide To Computer Networks Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. Read More which can be downloaded as a PDF.

Do you have any tips you would add? Is there a tried-and-tested fix to wireless printing issues that you always rely on? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Related topics: Printing, Wi-Fi.

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  1. Jerry
    November 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Tina, weeks ago when this page was presented, there was a picture of a Panasonic desktop scanner at the heading of the page. It has since been removed. You have been enlightened. Now you have time to work on your aggressive personality and lack of sense of humor.

    • Christian Cawley
      November 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      As the author of this piece, I've no recollection of either sourcing or including an image of any sort of scanner.

      This is an article about printing.

      Perhaps you're mistaken.

  2. Shehu
    October 29, 2014 at 8:35 am

    This is not good enough solution, SIR.

    • Tina
      November 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Would you mind to explore what isn't good enough, Shehu?

  3. Jerry
    October 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I see the problem. Your printer, is a Panasonic scanner. You're welcome. ;)

    • Tina
      November 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Jerry, I see HP Photosmart in the screenshots. Where do you recognize a Panasonic scanner? Please enlighten me!