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In this tutorial I will show you how to make your printer work with Windows Vista. It doesn't matter if it's a brand new printer or an old one - by the end of this tutorial you will have a working printer. In this tutorial I will talk only about local printers. Network printers will be covered in a separate article.
Local printers are those which you have at home/office, connected directly to the computer on which you are working. After installing the local printer, you can share it with other people that are in your network. They will be able to print but will have to come to your printer to get the pages they printed.
How to plug the printer
First, start your computer and then plug in the cables that came with your printer. You must have at least one cable which connects the printer to your power outlet and one which connects the printer to your PC. After you plugged all the cables, start the printer. To start the printer, you will either find a button that does this or it starts automatically. When it does start, it might do a "warming-up" sound or it might light a led so that you will know that is working.
Installing the printer
Now you have to install the appropriate drivers for your printer. Drivers are programs that drive the communication process between applications and devices such as your printer. If your printer is not detected and installed automatically by Windows Vista, then you will need to install the drivers yourself. They can be found on the site of your printer's manufacturer or on the CD that comes with the printer. If you do not have or cannot install the drivers, then follow this procedure:
Click on the Start button and go to Control Panel.
In the Control Panel window, beneath Hardware and Sound, click on Printer.
In the Printers window click on Add a printer.
In the new window, select Add a local printer.
Now you have to choose the type of connection between your printer and your PC. Choose the type from the scroll down list and click on Next.
If you are not sure what to choose, read the printer's manual. Most modern printers use USB cables to connect to your PC. Older models may use LPT. If the cable looks like the one shown in the picture below, select LPT1.
Now you must go to your printer and check the name of the company that made it (e.g. Lexmark, HP, etc) and the model name & number (e.g. Lexmark Z52, Hp LaserJet 4250, etc). In the next window you will see two columns. Go to the Manufacturer's column and select the name of the company that produced your printer and in the Printers column, select the model. Once you've found it, select it and click on the Next button.
If you cannot find your printer, insert the CD that came along with it, click on Have Disk and Browse to your CD and then click on OK. Windows Vista will search for drivers and try to install them. Another option is to click on Windows Update and have Windows Vista search for drivers on the internet.
Now you can change the printer’s name and assign it as a default printer by checking the appropriate option. When done, click on Next.
The printer will now be installed. At the end you will receive a notification. Click on Finish and you are done.
If it hasn't said "You've successfully added ..." then click on Finish and read the Troubleshooting section of this tutorial.
If Windows Vista warns you that the driver you are planning to install can't be verified, click on 'Install this driver software anyway'. However, you should select this only if the driver you have downloaded is created by the manufacturer of your printer, specifically for your model.
If Windows Vista doesn't automatically recognize your printer even after you have installed the driver, the problem might be with the connection cable. Try to plug the printer to another computer and test it there, to be sure that the connection cable is not damaged.