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Installing a Network Printer on Windows XP and Vista

I know this is a lot of information to read and understand. Think of it as an investment and not a burden. I have tried to include what is necessary without writing a whole book about a 5 minute procedure.

Summary of steps to install a network printer.

1. Download the most recent driver from the manufacturer's website.
2. Configure network settings on the printer.
3. Use the Add Printer Wizard to create a local network printer on the pc.
4. (Optional) - share printer to other users.

If you are performing this type of installation for more than a handful of people, it is best to install this once on a Windows Server and share that printer to everyone. Normally it takes between 5 and 10 minutes to perform this type of install on each pc.

1. Download the most recent driver.

Visit the manufacturer's website to obtain the latest driver - print drivers can be found in the support area searching by model number. (this is important because early problems are fixed and drivers are updated).

For color printers you want to download a PostScript driver.
Black and White - monochrome printers work fine with a PCL driver. Run-Unzip-Extract to a known location on the computer - c:temp or c:printer model

2. Configure network settings on the printer

If you are a small business or an at home office you probably have a tiny router that handles what is called DHCP (this is a service that manages IP addresses). The bad thing about these little devices is when they lose power, IP addresses are re-assigned on a first come basis.

I suggest using a static IP for all installations. Log into your printers web interface using the DHCP assigned IP address and change it to a static IP high in the range. If available, I use, since most routers start assigning IPs at

If you have IT people who control your network, they should be consulted before making any changes to IP settings.

3. Using the Add Printer wizard.

Go to Printers in the Control Panel - there are different ways to get there - just find one.

Click the Add a Printer link. Choose Add a local printer.

Note: I know you have a network printer and the second choice is network printer and it makes logical sense to choose that - but you have to trust me and not think for yourself on this one.

Choose to Create a new port - select Standard TCP/IP Port in the dropdown list. Fill in the information - IP address you chose to use. If it detects the device type - great - if it doesn't - click OK and Next anyway. (leave it generic or whatever it says).

Next is where we browse to the location you Extracted - unzipped the drivers (this could also be to the CD you have ). Most of time when you download drivers they are in exe form or zipped and have to be run and extracted before becoming available for use.

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