How to Get a Computer to Recognize a Printer Port

Although it doesn't happen very often, occasionally a computer will not recognize that a printer port is available on the system. This can be because the BIOS doesn't know it is there or because the operating system failed to locate the port when configuring the system. To remedy this problem, you need to look in both places to make sure the computer knows that the printer port is installed.

Checking the BIOS

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Turn off your computer and allow the system to totally shut down.

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Turn the system on and use the key shown on the screen to enter the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) of your computer.

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Scroll through the options until you locate the port labeled "LPT1, Parallel or Printer." Make sure that the port is enabled. Usually you can change the options by pressing the left or right arrow key.

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Save any changes you have made by following the instructions displayed on the BIOS screen. Generally, saving is done by pressing the F-10 key on your keyboard.

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Allow your computer to reboot and load your operating system.

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Navigate to your control panel and click on the "System" icon.

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Click on the "Hardware" tab of the "System" screen and then on the "Device Manager" button.

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Scroll down the list of devices and click on the "Ports" icon.

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Confirm that the printer port is shown as a listed port. If so, it is ready to use. If not, you will have to manually install the port so that it can be used.

Installing a Printer Port in Windows

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Navigate to your "Control Panel" and click on the "Add Hardware" option.

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Allow the wizard to search for new hardware. If it finds the port, follow the onscreen instructions to get the system to recognize the printer port.

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Click the radio button next to the option "I have already connected the hardware" and then click "Next."

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Scroll down the list of devices and look for the "Printer Port" option. Click on the option and then "Next."

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Click on "Add a New Hardware Device" at the bottom of the screen if the printer port is not listed in the options. Click "Next."

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Click the radio button next to the option "Install the hardware that I manually select from the list." Then click "Next."

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Scroll the list and click on "Ports and then "Next."

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Select "Printer Port" from the options displayed and then click "Next." The printer port will be activated within your operating system for use.