Set Up a Printer

It's usually one of your first administrative tasks: you buy a printer, take it home, unpack it, and follow the instructions on the bedspread-sized flyer. For most of today's models, this means installing the drivers on the accompanying CD (a reboot is sometimes requested) and then just connecting the device to the computer through an available USB parallel port. XP takes over from there.

And at times it can even be less complicated than that. XP ships with a wide variety of hardware drivers, including many of the most common print models. Print device installation can sometimes be simply a matter of attaching the device to a USB or FireWire (IEEE 1394) port and turning the darn thing on. Windows detects the print device and installs the appropriate drivers.

But while getting a print device up and working may not present the biggest challenge to the average computer user, there are times when printing can get a little more complicated.

For example, what should you do if your model cannot connect through a USB port and instead uses the older parallel port? The parallel port, unlike the USB port, does not support hot-swapping, which is the ability to attach and detach a device without rebooting the system. In order to set up the printer, you will have to use the Add Printer Wizard, available through the Printers and Faxes Control Panel applet.

To start the Add Printer Wizard, follow these steps:


Click the Add A Printer item from the available Printer Tasks.


At the Welcome screen (which informs you to plug in and turn on any hot- swappable printers), click Next.


As shown in Figure 8-2, the wizard then gives you the choice of adding either a local printer or a network printer, depending on where the printer (think software) is located. If setting up a printer connected to a parallel port, you will select the Local printer option and then click on Next.

Figure 8-2. Configuring a Local Printer with the Add Printer Wizard.

I recommend clearing the check box to prevent Windows from detecting your Plug and Play printer. If the printer were truly Plug and Play (like a USB printer), XP would have discovered it by now.

The other screens in the Add Printer Wizard depend on whether you choose to install a local printer or a network printer. If you are setting up a local printer, next you'll select a port that the print device is connected to (usually LPT1) and then find the printer drivers to install. Many of these drivers are included with the XP operating system and will also be included on the disk that ships with the print device.

Parallel Cabling: Does Size Matter?

In a word, yes, it matters. But the following may come as a bit of a challenge to marketers of products such as, say, Enzyte: in the realm of parallel cabling, where data is at an increased risk for corruption the further it must travel in a cable, shorter is better. This is because parallel cables send data in parallel, and data can become skewed when the bits travel side-by-side. With serial communication, on the other hand, it really doesn't matter how long the cable is because the bits travel single-file. As long as there's enough power to get the bits from point A to point B, there's no chance that one bit will "cut" in front of another. Serial communication is used when sending an email from your computer to Prentice Hall, for example. Parallel communication is used to get data from the hard drive to the processor. Parallel communication is rarely used outside the computer box.

Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
ISBN: 013167983X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 275
Authors: Brian Culp © 2008-2017.
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