Part Four: Beyond the Basics
Chapter 9. Printers and Other Hardware
Technologists got pretty excited
about "the paperless office" in the eighties, but the PC explosion had exactly the
9.1. Installing a Printer
A printer is designed to follow computer instructions called printer codes from your PC. These codes tell the printer what fonts to use, how to set margins, which paper tray to use, and so on.
But the codes aren't identical for every printer. Therefore, every printer requires a piece of softwarethe printer driverthat
Windows XP comes with hundreds of printer drivers built right in; your printer also came with a set of drivers on a CD or floppy. You can often find more recent driver software for your printer on the manufacturer's Web site or from a central driver repository like www.download.com.
9.1.1. Existing Printers
Did you upgrade your PC to Windows XP from an earlier versionone that worked fine with your printer? In that case, Windows XP automatically notices and inherits your existing settings. If it's a fairly recent printer with a
But if the printer is
If you just bought a new computer or a new printer, however, you'll have to hook it up yourself and install its software. In general, there's not much to it.
Note: Only people with Administrator accounts can install a new printer to a Windows XP machine (see Chapter 12).
9.1.2. USB Printers
If you're like most people at home these days, you use an inkjet printer that connects to your PC's USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. As a technology, USB has lots of advantages: USB gadgets are easy to connect and disconnect, are very fast,
Just the act of connecting a USB printer to your PC, for example, inspires Windows XP to dig into its own bag of included driver modules to install the correct one (Figure 9-1).
Figure 9-1. You got lucky. Windows recognizes your printer, has the appropriate driver, and has put the software into place. Let the printing begin.
9.1.3. Network Printers
If you work in an office where
In general, there's very little involved in ensuring that your PC "sees" this printer. Its icon simply shows up in the Start
Printers and Faxes folder. (If you dont see it, run the Add Printer Wizard. On its second screen, you'll be
If the technology gods are smiling, you can just connect the printer,
But if Windows doesn't "know about" the printer model you've hooked up, it can't install its drivers automatically. In that case, the Add Printer Wizard appears (Figure 9-2)or you can always
Here are the guidelines for using the next screen:
At this point, you must lead Windows by the nose to the printer's driver software. On the Add Printer Wizard screen, select your printer from the list of printers. If Windows doesn't list your printer there, or if its manufacturer supplied the Windows XP driver on a disk, click the Have Disk button, and then navigate to the CD, floppy disk, or downloaded Internet installation file that contains the driver.
Figure 9-2. Top: Use the Add Printer Wizard only if your printer doesn't connect to your USB or FireWire (IEEE 1394) port.
If Your Printer Model Isn't Listed
If your printer model isn't in the list of printers (Figure 9-3), then Windows XP doesn't have a driver for it. Your printer model may be very new (more recent than Windows XP, that is) or very old. You have two choices for getting around this roadblock:
First, you can contact the manufacturer (or its Web site) to get the drivers. Then install the driver software as described in the previous section.
Second, you can use the printer emulation feature. As it turns out, many printers work with one of several standard drivers that come from other companies. For example, many laser printers work fine with the HP LaserJet driver. (These laser printers are not, in fact, HP LaserJets, but they emulate one.)
The instructions that came with your printer should have a section on emulation; the manufacturer's help line can also tell you which popular printer yours can impersonate.
If you view your Control Panel in Classic view (Chapter 10), choose Start Control Panel, and then open the Printers and Faxes icon.
If you view your Control Panel in Category view, choose Start Control Panel, click the Printers and Other Hardware link, and finally click the "View installed printers or fax printers link.
The Printers and Faxes window should be listed in your Start menu, which saves you some burrowing if you use this feature a lot. If it's not there, for some reason, right-click the Start button. From the shortcut menu, choose Properties. On the Start Menu tab, click Customize, then click the Advanced tab. Scroll down in the list of checkboxes, and finally turn on "Printers and Faxes." Click OK twice.
In any case, the Printers and Faxes window now contains an icon