How to Connect to a Network Printer in Windows

By 2 months ago

Windows, like the times, evolve. Things are a little different if you’ve just upgraded from Windows Server 2012 and Windows 7 or 8 to Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10.

There are still some archaic techniques to connect to a network printer. They could also have a unique appearance. So, on Windows 10 or Server 2019, we’ll demonstrate how to connect to a network printer. The third option is our personal favorite.

Use Add Printers & Scanners

The new Windows Settings world functions in the same way as the Control Panel, but it appears a little different, which may cause some confusion. If you’re not an administrator at work, the printer must be on the network and the driver must already be installed. You’ll be prompted to provide the administrator account name and password if it isn’t already installed.

  1. In the Start menu, type add printers. When the result Add a printer or scanner shows, select it.
  1. When the Printers & scanners window opens, select Add a printer or scanner. It will start searching for available printers.
  1. It may look like it’s still searching, even though all the printers available are showing. Find the printer needed, select it, and then the Add device button will show. Select it.
  1. The printer will install. There’ll be a progress bar and when it’s done, it’ll say Ready.

Connect to a Network Printer Through a Network Share

Here’s how to set up a printer that’s not like the ones you’re used to. It is necessary for the printer to be shared and connected to the network. The driver must be installed on your local workstation or server unless you are the administrator. You’ll also need to know how to go to the share. It will be something along the lines of Print-Server-Name, where Print-Server-Name is the server’s name.

  1. Open File Explorer. In the location bar, enter the printer share path and then press the enter key. File Explorer will find the share.

All the shared printers will show.

  1. There are two options:
    1. Install a single printer
    2. Install several printers at one time

To install a single printer, double-click on it.

When the installation finishes, you’ll see the newly installed printer’s print queue window.

  1. To install several printers at once, select printers by clicking and dragging a rectangle around them, or hold down the Ctrl key while selecting printers individually. Either right-click and select Open or simply press the Enter key.

Connect to Network Printer via Control Panel

The good old control panel hasn’t been replaced. You’ll know what to do if you’ve used it previously. If not, it’s nearly identical to installing a printer via Settings.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. If it’s not there, start typing control and it will show.
  1. Select Add a device in the Hardware category.
  1. Select Add a printer.
  1. It will show a selection of printers. Select the one needed and then select Next.

The printer will start installing. It may take a few seconds or minutes.

  1. Once the success window opens, there are options to Set as the default printer and Print a test page. Set the printer as default if needed. It’s always a good idea to print a test page. To exit, select Finish.

Connect to Network Printer via IP Address

You may not be able to see the printer you wish to install, but if you know its IP address, you can use it to connect to it. It’s possible that administrator privileges are necessary. Until you get to the phase when you choose the printer, the initial portion is the same as adding a printer using the Control Panel. Let’s continue where we left off.

  1. At the Add a device window, select The printer that I want isn’t listed.
  1. If administrator rights are required, select Add a local or network printer as an administrator.

Otherwise, the window below will show. Select Add a printer using TCP/IP address or hostname then select Next.

  1. For Device type: there are several choices. Web Services Device and Web Services Secure Print Device are used for special cases. If you don’t know what those mean, you probably don’t need them. Autodetect may make the wrong choice as well. Select TCP/IP Device.

Enter the IP address in the Hostname or IP address: field. Notice how the Port name: field auto-populates with whatever is entered. The port name can be left as is or changed. In most cases, Query the printer and automatically select the driver to use remains checked. 

ometimes an organization will use a universal printer driver to keep things simpler and use less storage. It also keeps the registry small and login times faster. The HP Universal Print Driver works well for HP and many other printers. Select Next.

It detects the TCP/IP port to see if it exists.

Then it detects the driver model needed.

  1. Normally, Windows will find a driver already installed, offer the option to replace the driver, or ask to install a driver. If it’s on the network already, it probably installed the driver already. Select Use the driver that is currently installed and select Next.
  1. It will auto-select a name for the printer. That can change as needed. Select Next.

The real installation begins.

  1. If sharing the printer, add a location so others can see where the printer is located.

It successfully installed the printer. Set it as the default or not as needed. As always, it’s a good idea to Print a test page. Select Finish closes out the window.

Connect to a Network Printer via PowerShell

Finally, PowerShell is the last, and possibly best, technique to connect network printers. Why is this the best option? A PowerShell script is best if you’re a System Administrator with dozens of printers to connect, or if you need to make sure the printer is connected every time the server begins or someone logs in. It’s quick, just needs to be done once, and it’s simple to call multiple times.

You will need to know:

Following is a sample script. Make it into a looping script to install several printers at a time, or make it a function to call from other processes. 

# check if a printer port exists

$portName = “TCPPort:”

$portExist = Get-Printerport -Name $portName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

# if port doesn’t exist, add it

if (-not $portExists) {
Add-PrinterPort -name $portName -PrinterHostAddress “”

# check for print driver

$driverName = “Brother MFC-7440N”

$driverExists = Get-PrinterDriver -name $driverName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

# add printer if driver exists or else throw an error

if ($driverExists) {
Add-Printer -Name “My Brother Printer” -PortName $portName -DriverName $driverName
} else {
Write-Warning “Driver not installed” -ForegroundColor Red

When the script is run, it takes maybe 3 seconds. Then you’ll see the printer installed.

Any Other Ways to Connect to a Network Printer?

We’ve provided numerous options for connecting to a network printer or several printers. One of them will be the most suitable option for you. There is another option, which is to use the Command Prompt.

It works, but why bother when PowerShell is so much easier and faster? A Group Policy Object can be used to deploy printers. But that’s outside the scope of this paper. Leave your thoughts in the comments section. Have we been of assistance to you?


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