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Anyone who has ever had to set up a printer knows how aggravating the process can be. There’s a reason why the printer-smashing sequence in “Office Space” still connects with so many people, even though the film was released in 1999—the experience hasn’t improved much in the ensuing decades. But, at the very least, Microsoft has done everything it can to make adding a printer as simple as possible with Windows 11.
This article will not cover every element of the printer setup. To delve into that much depth, the category is simply too vast in terms of accessible features, underlying technology, and manufacturer-specific peculiarities. Instead, we’ll show you how to add a printer to Windows 11 after it’s already been set up. We’ll still have to generalize a little because the process varies from device to device, but the main components of the process should be rather consistent.
Read Also: How To Add Printer in Windows 10
How to add a printer in Windows 11 with a USB
Here’s where it starts to feel like magic: Printers linked via USB or Ethernet work flawlessly in Windows 11. This is more of a confirmation that the printer has been installed than anything else.
Step 1: Plug in your printer to your computer. The actual connections available will differ depending on the printer. For our experiments, we utilized an HP DeskJet 3630 All-in-One, which only supports a USB 2.0 Type-B connection on the printer side and a USB 2.0 Type-A connection on the PC side. Other printers will differ, so make sure you have the correct cable and port on your PC before depending on a physical connection between the devices.
Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Printers & scanners’ section of Settings. To accomplish this quickly, enter the Start menu, search for “Printers,” and then pick “Printers & scanners” from the results. You may alternatively launch the Settings app, navigate to “Bluetooth & devices,” and then pick “Printers & scanners” from the list of possibilities. Either way works.
Step 3: Find your printer. In our situation, it immediately displayed as “HP DeskJet 3630 Series.” Windows 11 recognized and connected to the device immediately.
As long as nothing occurs to the wire connecting your devices, your printer should be available as a print destination throughout Windows once it shows here.
Adding a TCP/IP printer to Windows 11
Step 1: First, you’ll need the IP address of your printer. Most printers can give you their IP address, but the method they use varies greatly.
Step 2: Once you’ve determined your printer’s IP address, the quickest and easiest method to begin is to hit the Windows key or click the Windows icon, then input the word printers. Click on the Printers and Scanners icon when it appears. Then click the Add Device button. You will encounter the terrible spiny ring of death, so don’t be alarmed. After a few seconds, you’ll receive a notification saying that the printer you’re looking for isn’t listed. Next to it are the words manually added in blue. Manually add a checkbox. A new dialogue box appears, and we can now get down to work.
Step 3: Add a printer using an IP address or hostname is the third option. Then press the Next button.
Step 5: Under device type, choose TCP/IP device, then click hostname or IP address and put your printer’s IP address into the box. The port name will be filled in automatically, so you may disregard that option. I propose that you leave the option to query the printer and automatically choose the driver selected ticked. For reasons that will become clear in a moment, it is more likely to function the second time you install a printer than the first.
Step 6: Next, click the button.
Step 7: Give your printer a name that will make it easier to find. This is especially critical if you have many printers. Enter a name, and then press the Next button.
How to add a printer in Windows 11 via wireless protocols
Who wants a cord connecting their printer to their computer? A wireless connection is much more convenient. (At least while the network is up and running… if not, a wired connection is preferable.) Just keep in mind that for this to function, both your printer and PC must support compatible versions of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi; configuring all of that is beyond the scope of this instruction. We’ll concentrate on Wi-Fi, although the processes are identical for Bluetooth-enabled printers.
- (Wi-FI)Check that all of your devices are connected to the same network. Nothing beats debugging printer problems only to learn that the sole issue was that the printer was linked to the “Xyz 123” network while the PC was connected to the “Xyz 123” network. It is far more convenient to verify that first.
- From the ‘Printers & scanners’ tab in Settings, select ‘Add device.’ This button should display just above the list of printers, scanners, and fax machines that are currently available. When you click it, a progress bar and a drop-down menu will display.
- Next to your printer’s name, click the ‘Add device’ option. The “Add device” button you used to find this printer should be replaced with a “Refresh” button. If your printer was identified (and it should have been if you’re on the same network), you can now add it by clicking the new “Add device” button that shows next to it in the list of discovered devices.
- If prompted, provide a password, PIN, or another authentication mechanism. Before they may connect to devices on the same Wi-Fi network, some printers will demand authentication. When a printer is first set up, the default information is generally printed someplace on the printer’s box, casing, or test sheet. We were not asked for anything in our circumstances.
- Verify that your printer has been added. It should now be listed among the devices on the “Printers & scanners” tab of Settings. Our model has distinct names for printing over wired and wireless connections, making it easy to distinguish between the two.
As long as both devices are connected to the same network, your printer should now be available as a print destination. If a manufacturer has made a management app accessible through the Microsoft Store, Windows 11 will display “App available for this device” and a button pointing to the appropriate page in the marketplace.
How to add a printer in Windows 11 via Wi-Fi Direct… potentially
To allow wireless printing through the protocol, not all printers must be connected to an existing Wi-Fi network. Many also support Wi-Fi Direct, which allows peer-to-peer connections between devices, which might be beneficial if you don’t want a printer to be accessible to everyone on a network but don’t want to configure it to prohibit that sort of access.
- On your printer, enable Wi-Fi Direct pairing. Again, this is something that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, so consult your user manual.
However, this is frequently a separate choice (and button) from ordinary Wi-Fi access.
2. From the ‘Printers & scanners’ tab in Settings, select ‘Add device.’ This is the same process as when we linked to an existing Wi-Fi network, but we’re looking for something new.
3. In the drop-down option, select ‘Show Wi-Fi Direct printers.’ This option is only available if Wi-Fi Direct printers are available; otherwise, there is only an “Add manually” button. Skip stepping 7 to find out more.
4. Next to your printer, click ‘Add device.’
5. Enter any credentials that are required. In our situation, a popup popped requesting a WPS PIN. You’ll need to look for yours someplace on the printer, its box, or even the test sheet we discussed before. Enter it once you’ve obtained it.
6. Perhaps it was a hardware issue, or perhaps it was a pre-release glitch in Windows 11, but inputting the right WPS PIN still caused Windows to display the error message seen below. But we don’t have to use a bat just yet—where that’s the manual option comes in.
7. Select ‘Add manually’ from the drop-down option. You know how the saying “two paths diverged in the woods…” goes? We’ll go with the alternative option. After completing the first two steps in this section, click the “Add manually” button.
8. Click the ‘Next’ button after selecting ‘Add a Bluetooth, wifi, or network discoverable printer.’ There are other alternatives provided here, but we’re only interested in this one, so choose it and then click “Next” to proceed.
9. Choose your printer. A window titled “Add a device” should emerge, complete with a progress meter and the results of the device search. Select your printer if it is listed, and then click the “Next” button.
10. Press Next. Done.