The team behind Windows 8 have really pushed the limits with the operating system and out done themselves. It brings a lot of innovations and makes things a lot easier for the user, when comparing with now ancient versions like XP or Vista.
One of the reasons why I’m saying this is because the process of installing a printer in Windows 8 is now really easy. To be more specific, there are two ways of doing this and I’m going to detail both of them below.
The ‘easy does it’ way.
Your first move here is to power on the device and then plug in the USB cable in any of the ports you have available. If you have a printer which supports the network printing standard, you should make sure that you have it connected to your home network properly before doing anything else.
Once you’re done with all of that, in a few seconds, a pop-up balloon will appear on the lower right corner, informing you that a new hardware has been detected and that Windows is installing the drivers. It is very likely that you’ll be asked to confirm a thing or two but nothing else than that.
If you’re not seeing this, it can be triggered manually by going to the Devices & Printers menu from the Control Panel. You can access it by typing ‘devices and printers’ in the Charms bar and then selecting the Settings section.
A new window will now open and if your printer is not listed in the Printers section, then you have to right click anywhere in the window and select the ‘Add devices and printers’ option.
A built-in scanner from Windows 8 will then initialize and it will search for any hardware which was recently connected to your PC, either using a cable or by using the home network.
Once it finds your printer, select it and then click on the Next button to start installing the drivers for it. Please allow a couple of minutes for the process to complete. Then, go back to the Devices and Printers window and double click on your printer icon to open up the configuration menu.
In my case here, I’ve installed the HP OfficeJet 4500 series and in order to configure the printer I have to use HP’s own menu called ‘Solution Center’. Depending on the manufacturer of your device, this option may or may not exist so you should not consider the install unsuccessful if you don’t see such a menu available.
The ‘high way’ method.
If you cannot install the printer using the first method described above, then the alternative would be to do it using a driver which must be downloaded manually. Check the exact model of your printer and then do a Google search using the string ‘driver’ after its name; among the first results you should see the manufacturer’s website.
Once you have downloaded the file, connect the printer to the PC and run the application. Allow it a few seconds to detect the device and then you should see something like the below image.
The setup should then ask you to select the model and then for you to confirm a couple of settings. If everything was selected correctly, you should see this after a few minutes.
When Windows 8 was launched, Steven Sinofsky said in a blog post that their new engine for installing a printer supports up to 2,500 models, so if your hardware is not older than Windows 7, you should be able to install it without any major problems.
If the printer is older than that, you can use the second method that I’ve described. That one always works no matter what!