How to Set Up a Printer to a Laptop Computer

By Cameron Easey

Laptop computers are portable, which means they are not attached permanently to a dedicated printer. However, you can easily connect your laptop to virtually any printer to be able to print documents or pictures. A laptop can be connected to the printer directly or it can be set up to print through a wireless connection.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer USB cable
  • Installation disk

Direct Connection

Step 1

Make sure that the printer you want to use is currently plugged in and turned off.

Step 2

Insert one end of the USB cable into the computer and the other end into the printer.

Step 3

Turn on your laptop computer if it is not already on and wait for it to load the operating system.

Step 4

Turn on the printer.

Step 5

Wait for Windows to recognize the printer and install the software that it needs. You will see message bubbles pop up from the right-hand corner of the task bar.

Step 6

Insert the installation CD in the drive and wait for the setup screen to appear.

Step 7

Click the “Next” button on each screen of the installation wizard and then wait while the software for the printer is being installed.

Step 8

Restart the computer, if necessary, to complete the installation of the printer.

Wireless Connection with Windows XP

Step 1

Access the Control Panel on the computer that has the printer attached. You can click on the \"Start\" button and then click on the option for Control Panel.

Step 2

Double-click on the icon for Printers and Faxes. Right-click on the default printer and then select \"Properties\" from the context menu.

Step 3

Click the \"Sharing\" tab and then select the \"Share Name\" option. When done, click the “OK” button to save the setting.

Step 4

Open the Control Panel on the laptop computer.

Step 5

Click the “Add a Printer” option on the left of the screen. Click the \"Printer Connection\" option and then select the printer from the network list.

Wireless Connection with Windows Vista/Windows 7

Step 1

Access the Control Panel by clicking the \"Start\" button and then click the option for the Control Panel.

Step 2

Click the \"Network and Internet\" option and then go into the Network and Sharing Center.

Step 3

Expand the printer sharing section by clicking the down arrow button. Click the “Turn on printer sharing” option and then click the “Apply” button.

Step 4

Click on the \"Start\" button from the laptop computer and type “\\\\” and the name of the computer into the search box and press the \"Enter\" key. You do not need to enter the quotes.

Step 5

Double-click the printer from the list. Windows will then add the printer to your laptop and install the software drivers that are needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Windows systems are “plug and play” ready, which means that you do not need to install additional software for hardware to work with your system.
  • Installing the software for the printer will enable various printing functions that are available for the specific printer.
  • If the printer sharing option is not configured correctly, you will not be able to print with your laptop.