How To Add a Printer in Windows 11

Being able to print out whatever you like from a personal printer is super convenient. Whether your printer will connect to your computer with a cable, via wireless connection, or use Bluetooth, adding it to your Windows 11 computer is easy. Printers can be set up automatically or manually.

How To Add a Printer in Windows 11

Read on as we take you through 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, the installation will only require a few clicks. Follow these steps:

  1. On your computer or laptop, right-click “Start” and select “Settings.”
  2. Go to “Bluetooth & devices,” then “Printers & Scanners.”
  3. Press “Add device” and wait for Windows to find the printer, then choose “Add device” beside the printer you wish to install.
  4. Now, wait as Windows installs your printer automatically.

Once installed, the printer will display with any other peripherals you have installed. If your printer is older, it’s likely that Windows 11 will not identify it. Therefore, you’ll 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 “Bluetooth & devices,” “Printers & scanners,” then “Add device.”
  3. Wait while Windows tries to find your printer automatically. Once “Add manually” displays, press it.
  4. Here you’ll have several options, depending on how you want to connect to your printer. These options will work for network-attached and wireless printers. If the printer is connected directly to your PC, select “Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings,” then hit “Next.”
  5. Select the port your printer is connected to, then choose “Next.” Choose “USB” if it is connected that way.
  6. Now you’ll see choices for installing the printer driver. If your printer came with a driver disc, choose “Have Disk” to find it. Otherwise, select “Windows Update.”
  7. Windows will now offer some options. A message will pop up advising that it may take a few minutes while the printers list is updated.
  8. Select your printer’s maker from the left column, and the model from the right, then “Next.”
  9. Add a printer name, then click “Next.”

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

Fixing a Printer That’s Not Working

Printers can be selective at times. Combine a printer’s unpredictability with Windows 11 bugs, and printer errors may still be a problem for some users. If you have a print problem using Windows 11, first double-check that your printer is plugged in correctly. Also, check that there are no loose cables and make sure it hasn’t run out of ink or paper. Here are some common fixes worth trying:

Check the Default Printer

To rule out the idea of an incorrect printer setup, follow these steps to check that your printer is configured correctly:

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

Run Printer Troubleshooter

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

  1. Launch “Settings.”
  2. Select “System,” “Troubleshoot,” then “Other troubleshooters.”
  3. Here you’ll see the “Printer troubleshooter” amid various Windows troubleshooters.
  4. Hit “Run” beside it.
  5. If the troubleshooter feature finds issues impending your printer, it will advise how to resolve them.

Ensure You Have the Latest Printer Driver Installed

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

  1. Right-click on “Start,” then choose “Device manager.”
  2. Scroll down to “Print Queues,” then expand the menu.
  3. Right-click “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. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click “Microsoft Print to PDF,” then from the pull-down menu, choose “Properties.”
  2. Navigate to the “Details” section.
  3. From the pull-down list, beneath “Property,” choose “Device instance path,” then copy the “Value” displayed.
  4. Navigate to the “DriverPack database.”
  5. In the search box, paste the copied value.
  6. When the appropriate driver is found, download and install it.

Restart the Printer Spool

At times, the cause could come down to an unresponsive 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 box.
  2. Type “services.msc” then hit “Enter.”
  3. Double-click “Printer spooler.”
  4. Continue by clicking “Stop.”
  5. Now follow this path:
    Then delete all the files in the folder.
  6. Navigate to “Services,” and manually restart the printer service.
  7. Once that’s done, restart your computer.

Disable the Firewall

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

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

Ensure You Have the Latest Windows Update

It could be that there is a Windows update available that will resolve any printer errors and issues. Here are the steps to check whether there is a new update available:

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

Windows will check for updates and install them if there are any available.

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

Remove the Last Windows 11 Update

A new Windows update can also cause new defects and worsen the situation. If you think your printer stopped working after a recent Windows update, the problem may be fixed by removing that update. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to “Settings,” “Windows Update,” then “Update history.”
  2. Beneath “Related settings,” click on “Uninstall updates.”
  3. This will display a list of Windows updates. Select the latest one, then choose “Uninstall.”

If the latest Windows update caused the problem, deleting it should do the trick. Now restart your computer and try your printer again.

Perform a System Restore

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

Note: A system restore will not affect your files. However, it will uninstall all the apps, hardware drivers, and system updates installed after the restore point date. The same is true for any modifications you’ve made at the system level, like system setting 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. Hit “Next” to continue.
  5. Now choose the point to restore to when you know your printer was functioning fine.
  6. Press “Next,” then to confirm the restore point, click “Finish.”
  7. You’ll be prompted again to confirm whether you wish to proceed with a system restore or not. If you’re sure, click “Yes.”.

Contact Microsoft Support

If your printer still has issues, it might be worth contacting Microsoft. You can discuss what you’ve attempted to fix it and the outcomes, and they’ll be able to troubleshoot with you and hopefully fix it.

Windows 11 Printer Hooked Up

Windows 11 allows you to connect a printer to your computer wirelessly, via Bluetooth, or using 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 issues, including the “Printer troubleshooter.”

Were you able to set up the printer successfully? Tell us what method you used in the comments section below.

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