Connecting to a network printer in Windows

Times change and so does Windows. If you have recently moved from a Windows Server 2012 and Windows 7 or 8 environments in Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10, things are a little different.

The old ways of connecting to a network printer are still there. They may also look a little different. So we’ll show you how to connect to a network printer in Windows 10 of Server 2019. Our favorite way is the latter method.

Use Add printers and scanners

The New World of Windows Settings works the same as in the Control Panel, but it looks different enough to cause confusion for some. Note that if this will work and you are not an administrator, the printer must be on the network and the driver already installed. If it is not installed, you will be prompted to enter the administrator account name and password.

  1. In the Get started menu, type add printers† When the result Add a printer or scanner shows, select it.
  1. When the Printers and scanners window opens, select Add a printer or scanner† It will start to search for available printers.
  1. It may appear that the search is still in progress even though all available printers are listed. Find the necessary printer, select it, then the To add device button is displayed. Select it.
  1. The printer is installed. There will be a progress bar and when it’s done it will say Finished

Connecting to a network printer via a network share

Here’s a way to install a different printer than you might be used to. It requires the printer to be shared and on the network. Unless you are the administrator, the driver must be installed on your local computer or server. You also need to know the path to the share. It will look something like this: \\Print server namewhere Print-Server-name is the name of the server.

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

All shared printers are listed.

  1. There are two options:
    1. Install a single printer
    2. Install multiple printers at once

Double click on it to install a single printer.

When the installation is complete, you will see the print queue window of the newly installed printer.

  1. To install multiple printers at once, select printers by clicking and dragging a rectangle around them, or hold down the Ctrl button while selecting the printers individually. Right click and select Open or just press the Enter key.

Connecting to Network Printer Using Control Panel

The good old control panel is still there. If you’ve used it before, you know what to do. If not, it’s almost like adding a printer through Settings.

  1. Open the Get started menu and select Control panel† If it’s not there, start typing check and it will turn out.
  1. Select Add a device in the Hardware category.
  1. Select Add a printer
  1. It shows a selection of printers. Select the one you need and then select Next one

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

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

Connecting to Network Printer by IP Address

The printer you want to install may not be easily visible, but if you have the IP address for it, you can use that to connect to the printer. Administrator rights may be required. The first part is the same as adding a printer through the Control Panel until you get to the step to choose the printer. Let’s take it from there.

  1. At the Add a device window, select The printer I want is not in the list
  1. If administrator rights are required, select: Add a local or network printer as an administrator

Otherwise, the window below will be displayed. Select Adding a printer using its TCP/IP address or host name then select Next one

  1. In front of 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 they mean, you probably don’t need them. Automatic detection can also make the wrong choice. Select TCP/IP device

Enter the IP address in the Hostname or IP address: field. Note how the Port name: field is automatically filled in with whatever is entered. The port name can be left unchanged or changed. In most cases, Query the printer and automatically select the driver you want to use remains checked.

Sometimes an organization uses a universal printer driver to keep things simpler and use less storage space. 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 one

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

Then it detects the necessary driver model.

  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 already on the network, it probably already has the driver installed. Select Use the driver currently installed and select Next one
  1. It will automatically select a name for the printer. That can change as needed. Select Next one

The real installation begins.

  1. If you share the printer, add a location so that others can see where the printer is.

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

Connect to a network printer via PowerShell

Finally, the last and possibly best way to connect network printers is with PowerShell. Why is this best? If you are a system administrator and have dozens of printers to connect to, or if you need to make sure the printer is plugged in every time the server starts or someone logs in, a PowerShell script is best. It’s fast, done once, and easy to call multiple times.

You should know:

Below is an example script. Make it a looping script to install multiple printers at once, or make it a function to call from other processes.

# check if a printer port exists

$portName = “TCPPort:192.168.8.101”

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

# if port doesn’t exist add it

if (-not $portExists) {
Add-PrinterPort -name $portName -PrinterHostAddress “192.168.8.101”

# check for printer driver

$driverName = “Brother MFC-7440N”

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

# add printer if driver exists or else give error

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

When the script runs, it might take 3 seconds. Then you will see that the printer is installed.

Other ways to connect to a network printer?

We have given you several ways to connect to a network printer or multiple printers. One of them will be the best way for you. There is at least one other way, and that is through the Command Prompt

It works, but why mess with that when PowerShell is simpler and faster? We can deploy printers using a Group Policy Object. However, that goes beyond this article. Let us know what you think in the comments. Did we help you?

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