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How to automatically add a printer to Windows 11

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How to automatically add a printer to Windows 11

Being able to print what you want from a personal printer is very convenient. Whether your printer connects to your computer with a cable, through a wireless connection, or uses Bluetooth, adding it to your Windows 11 computer is easy. Printers can be configured automatically or manually.

Read on as we explain how to automatically or manually add a printer to your Windows 11 computer.

How to automatically add a printer to Windows 11

If Windows recognizes your printer automatically, installation will only take a few clicks. Follow these steps:

  1. On your computer or laptop, right-click on “Start” and select “Settings.”
  2. Go to “Bluetooth and devices”, then “Printers and scanners”.
  3. Hit “Add Device” and wait for Windows to find the printer, then choose “Add Device” next to the printer you want to install.
  4. Now wait while Windows automatically installs your printer.

Once installed, the printer will show up with any other peripherals you have installed. If your printer is older, Windows 11 may not be able to identify it. So you will need to add it manually instead.
How to manually add a printer to Windows 11

Follow these steps if your computer has not recognized your printer:

  1. Launch “Settings”.
  2. Click on “Bluetooth & Devices”, “Printers & Scanners” and then “Add Device”.
  3. Wait while Windows tries to find your printer automatically. Once “Add manually” appears, press it.
  4. You will have several options here, depending on how you want to connect to your printer. These options will work for wireless and network-connected printers. If the printer is connected directly to your PC, select “Add a local printer or a network printer with manual settings”, then press “Next”.
  5. Select the port your printer is connected to, then choose “Next.” Choose “USB” if it’s connected that way.
  6. You will now see options to install the printer driver. If your printer came with a driver disk, choose “Have Disk” to find it. If not, select “Windows Update.”
  7. Windows will now offer some options. A message will appear warning that the list of printers may take a few minutes to update.
  8. Select the manufacturer of your printer in the left column and the model in the right, then “Next”.
  9. Add a printer name, then click “Next.”

    If you are prompted for the driver version, choose “Replace the current driver.” If you know that the installed driver is correct, select “Use the driver that is currently installed.”
  10. Wait while Windows installs your printer.
  11. Select “Do not share this printer”, then “Next”. However, if you want to share, hit “Share this printer” and fill in the details.
  12. A success page should display. To test the printer, press “Print a test page”. Otherwise, press “Finish”.

Fix a printer that isn’t working

Printers can be selective sometimes. Combine the unpredictability of a printer with Windows 11 bugs, and printer bugs can still be a problem for some users. If you have a printing problem with Windows 11, first check that your printer is connected correctly. Also, check that there are no loose cables and that you haven’t run out of ink or paper. Here are some common fixes worth trying:

Check the default printer

To rule out the idea of ​​incorrect printer settings, follow these steps to verify that your printer is set up correctly:

  1. Go to Windows search and enter a search for “Control Panel”.
  2. Under “Hardware and Sound,” select “View devices and printers.”
  3. Under the “Printers” panel, right-click on the PDF printer, then choose “Set as Default.”
  4. Now go to “Properties” and then to “Ports”.
  5. Go through the selection and select the port type for your connection.
  6. Press “Configure port”, “Apply” and then “OK”.

Run the Printer Troubleshooter

The Windows Troubleshooter is likely to resolve most minor software issues. Here’s how to run it:

  1. Launch “Settings”.
  2. Select “System”, “Troubleshoot” and then “Other troubleshooters”.
  3. Here you will see “Printer Troubleshooter” among various Windows troubleshooters.
  4. Hit “Run” next to it.
  5. If the troubleshooting feature finds imminent problems with your printer, it will tell you how to resolve them.

Make sure you have the latest printer driver installed

If you didn’t get anywhere with the troubleshooter, consider checking for driver updates. That is how:

  1. Right click on “Start”, then select “Device Manager”.
  2. Scroll down to “Print Queues,” then expand the menu.
  3. Right-click on “Microsoft Print to PDF”, then choose “Update Driver”. Another window will open.

If you choose “Search automatically for updated driver software”, Windows will check for updates. It may indicate that the best driver is already installed; however, you still have the option to try manually. That is how:

  1. Right-click on “Microsoft Print to PDF” and then from the drop-down menu select “Properties”.
  2. Go to the “Details” section.
  3. From the drop-down list under “Property”, choose “Device Instance Path” and then copy the “Value” shown.
  4. Go to the “DriverPack database”.
  5. In the search box, paste the copied value.
  6. When you find the right driver, download and install it.

Restart the print queue

Sometimes the cause could be a non-responsive device or driver settings instead of an outdated driver. Follow these steps to fix it:

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + R” to open the “Run” dialog.
  2. Type “services.msc” and then press “Enter”.
  3. Double click on “Print Queue”.
  4. Continue by clicking “Stop”.
  5. Now follow this path:
    C:\Windows\system32\spoolsv.exe
    Then delete all the files in the folder.
  6. Go to “Services” and manually restart the printer service.
  7. Once done, restart your computer.

Disable firewall

At this stage, the problem could be “Windows Defender Firewall”. It may be that the settings are too strict and therefore prevent the printer from interfacing correctly. Try turning it off to see if that fixes it:

  1. Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Privacy and security”, “Windows Security”, “Firewall and network protection”.
  2. Disable “Windows Defender Firewall” using the toggle switch.
  3. Also, disable the “Private Network” and “Public Network” options.

Make sure you have the latest Windows update

A Windows update may be available that resolves printer errors and issues. Here are the steps to check if a new update is available:

  1. Press the “Windows” key and click on “Settings”.
  2. Go to “Windows Update”.
  3. Click on “Check for updates”.

Windows will check for updates and install them if one is available.

If a new update was installed, check if the issue is resolved. If not, try rolling back to the latest Windows 11 update.

Remove the latest Windows 11 update

A new Windows update can also cause new bugs and make the situation worse. If you think your printer stopped working after a recent Windows update, removing that update may fix the problem. This is how you do it:

  1. Go to “Settings,” “Windows Update,” then “Update History.”
  2. Under “Related settings”, click on “Uninstall updates”.
  3. This will display a list of Windows Updates. Select the latter, then choose “Uninstall.”

If the latest Windows update caused the problem, removing it should fix it. Now restart your computer and try your printer again.

Perform a system restore

If your printer problems started when you upgraded to Windows 11, one of your last options would be to try a “Windows System Restore.” With this feature, you can restore your computer to a previously created restore point when your printer was working as expected.

Note: A system restore will not affect your files. However, it will uninstall all apps, hardware drivers, and system updates installed after the restore point date. The same applies to any modifications you have made at the system level, such as system configuration changes and other advanced modifications.

Follow these steps to take your computer back in time:

  1. Press the “Windows” key, then type “Control Panel.”
  2. Select “Control Panel”, then in the control panel search box, enter “Recovery”.
  3. Choose “Open System Restore” from the results, and then the “System Restore” window will open.
  4. Press “Next” to continue.
  5. Now choose the point to restore when you know your printer was working fine.
  6. Press “Next”, then to confirm the restore point, click “Finish”.
  7. You will be prompted again to confirm whether you want to proceed with a system restore or not. If you are sure, click “Yes”.

Contact Microsoft Support

If your printer is still having problems, it may be worth contacting microsoft . You can discuss what you’ve tried to fix and the results, and they’ll be able to troubleshoot with you and hopefully fix it.

Windows 11 printer connected

Windows 11 allows you to connect a printer to your computer wirelessly, via Bluetooth, or via a network cable. The printer setup process can be done automatically if Windows recognizes your printer, or manually if it doesn’t. If there are problems with the printer, Windows provides built-in solutions to detect and resolve problems, including the “Printer Troubleshooter.”

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