The process for adding a printer in Windows 8 is very similar to adding a printer in any other version of Windows. But with anything like Windows 8, navigating to the proper menus can be a daunting task. You might be able to install your Windows 8 printer simply by plugging in the USB cable and having it work. If it doesn’t automatically install, unplug the USB cable and proceed to manually install the drivers.
Add A Windows 8 Local Printer Via USB
The easiest way to add a local printer in Windows 8 is to install the drivers from the CD that came with the printer in the box. This method, however, could leave you with drivers that are already outdated and a lot of unnecessary third-party software you will never use.
Preferable, you will want to go directly to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your printer model. In this example, we will be downloading a driver for a Canon MF4880dw printer. The process is very similar for any make.
Whether you are looking for a HP printer driver or a driver for a Canon or Lexmark printer, always look for the drivers and support section of their website. Navigate through their menus until you find the exact model you have and then download the driver for your exact Operating System (Windows version, 32 or 64 bit). Download the file to a place on your computer you can easily locate it, such as the Desktop.
Navigate through the driver folders until you find the Setup icon with the Type Application. Double-click that setup file and specify that you want to install a local printer using USB. When the driver is finished installing it will instruct you to plug in the USB cable. You computer will find the Windows 8 printer and install it.
Next, click the Windows key+X and then click Control Panel from the menu. Under the Hardware and Sound section, click Devices and Printers. You should see your new printer installed, but it might not be set as the default printer. Right-click the Windows 8 printer and select Set As Default Printer.
Add A Windows 8 Network Printer
Adding a Windows 8 network printer is very similar to adding a USB printer. The main differences being you will need to plug the network cable in prior to installing the drivers, and you may want to consider adding a static IP address for the device (consult your printer documentation for how to do this). In addition, if you have a WiFi printer, you might need a USB cable to temporarily connect your PC to the printer so it can learn its configuration.
Start by installing the driver.
You will be selecting the Network Connection option instead of USB this time.
If the Windows 8 printer is wired into the network it will search for and locate its IP address automatically. If you are connecting via WiFi, it might ask you to connect a USB cable so it can locate the printer and find its IP address.
Windows 8 Printer Best Practices
As with any version of Windows, you will always want the latest driver. In addition, the installation disk might contain helpful software such as OCR programs and program suites to help you scan and manage your printer. If you install directly from the disk, take notice of what installs and remove anything trial programs and other cruft you will never use. Good luck with your new Windows 8 printer. Be sure to read our other printer articles for more tips.