An HP laptop with a network connection can print to any printer on the network. If you don't have a network connection, you can connect a printer directly to your laptop. Whether the printer is connected to another computer or directly to your HP laptop, you need to establish a connection through the Windows Control Panel and install the drivers. The drivers for each printer are included with every printer shipped. If you've lost the installation CD-ROM or DVD diskette, they are available on the manufacturer's website.
Attach the printer cable from the printer to the laptop if you choose to directly connect to the device. You can connect the USB printer while the laptop is on or off. If the laptop is on, the Windows operating system will automatically detect the new printer.
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Turn on the computer if you attach the printer while it is off. Login to Windows when prompted. If the printer is attached directly to the laptop, Windows detects the hardware and prompts you for the device drivers. Insert the CD-ROM or DVD and following the prompts to install the drivers.
Click the Windows Start button and select "Control Panel." Double-click the "Printers" icon in the list of Control Panel icons. Double-click the "Add Printer" icon if you do not see it listed in the Printers window. If you have the printer directly connected to the laptop, and it's listed in window, right-click the icon and choose "Test Print." This sends a job to the printer, and the directly connected printer is installed.
Select "Network Printer" from the main window. Network printers need to be configured on the local HP laptop. Choosing "Network Printer" prompts you for a location for the printer.
Enter the computer name and printer name for the network printer. The format for the printer location is "\computer_name\printer_name." The "computer_name" is the networked computer name and the "printer_name" is the name given to the printer. Press the "Next" button. The drivers are installed on your computer automatically. At the final window, click the "Test Print" button to confirm the installation.