To print, you need to connect a printer directly to your computer (when it is connected in this way, it's referred to as a local printer), or create a connection to a network or shared printer.

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To add a local printer

First, connect the printer to your computer following the manufacturer's instructions. Windows will attempt to automatically install the printer. If Windows can't automatically install it, or if you've previously removed the printer and want to add it again, follow these steps:

  1. Open Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Printers.

  2. Click Add a printer.

  3. In the Add Printer Wizard, select Add a local printer.

  4. On the Choose a printer port page, make sure that the Use an existing port option button and the recommended printer port are selected, and then click Next.

  5. On the Install the printer driver page, select the printer manufacturer and model, and then click Next.

    Notes

    • If your printer is not listed but you have the manufacturer's installation CD, click Have disk, and then browse to the folder where the printer driver is stored. For help, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

    • If you don't have the installation CD, click Windows Update, and then wait while Windows checks for available drivers.

  6. Complete the additional steps in the wizard, and then click Finish.

Tips

  • It's a good idea to print a test page to check if the printer is working correctly. For more information, see Print a test page.

  • If you have added a printer but are unable to use it, your printer driver might not be compatible with Windows Vista. Check the printer manufacturer's website for the latest compatibility information and driver updates. For more information, see Find and install printer drivers.

To add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer

Before you begin, make sure you know the name of the printer that you want to add. Sometimes the name is displayed on the printer itself. If the name is not on the printer, contact the printer owner or your network administrator to find out the printer's name before following the steps below.

  1. Open Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Printers.

  2. Click Add a printer.

  3. In the Add Printer Wizard, select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer.

  4. In the list of available printers, select the one you want to use, and then click Next. If your computer is connected to a network, only printers listed in Active Directory for your domain are displayed in the list.

  5. If prompted, install the printer driver on your computer. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  6. Complete the additional steps in the wizard, and then click Finish.

Tips

  • Available printers can include all printers on a network, such as Bluetooth and wireless printers or printers that are plugged into another computer and shared on the network. Make sure that you have permission to use these printers before adding them to the computer. For more information, see What are printer permissions?

  • It's a good idea to print a test page to check if the printer is working correctly. For more information, see Print a test page.

To remove a printer

Note

  • You can't remove a printer if you have items in the print queue. If items are waiting to print when you try to remove a printer, Windows will wait until printing is complete, and then remove the printer. If you have permission to manage documents on the printer, you can also cancel all print jobs and then try to remove the printer again. For more information, see Cancel printing and What are printer permissions?

  1. Open Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Printers.

  2. Right-click the printer that you want to remove, and then click Delete.

    If you can't delete the printer, right-click it again, click Run as administrator, and then click Delete. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Tip

  • To add a shortcut to Printers to the Start menu, right-click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Properties, and then, on the Start Menu tab, click Customize. Select the Printers check box, and then click OK.