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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Installing a Printer

A printer is a peripheral device—something outside the PC—and as such, it won’t work without a piece of driver software explaining the new hardware to Windows. In general, getting this driver installed is a simple process. It’s described in more detail in Chapter 20.

The good news, though, is that Windows 8 comes with the drivers for thousands of printers, all different brands, ready to be installed. Read on.

USB Printers

If the technology gods are smiling, then here’s the entire set of instructions for installing a typical inkjet USB printer:

  1. Connect the printer to the computer.

    That’s it. Turn on the printer—you’re ready to print. No driver operations, no setup.

If you have a really old printer, its drivers might not be compatible with Windows 8. Check the manufacturer’s Web site, such as www.epson.com or www.hp.com, or a central driver repository like www.windrivers.com, to see if there’s anything newer.

Network Printers

If you work in an office where people on the network share a single printer (usually a laser printer), the printer usually isn’t connected directly to your computer. Instead, it’s elsewhere on the network; your PC’s Ethernet cable or wireless antenna connects you to it indirectly.

In general, there’s very little involved in ensuring that your PC “sees” this printer, either. Its icon simply shows up in your Print dialog box.

Ancient Printers

Although USB printers are the world’s most popular type today, there was, believe it or not, a time before USB. ...

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