This long page of this website provides detailed information on inkjet and laser printers and, to a lesser extent, scanners. Recent printers and scanners are connected to laptop and desktop PCs via the USB interface, which has recently reached version 3.0, called SuperSpeed USB, which has data-transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s - ten times faster than USB 2.0, which has a maximum data transfer speed of 480 Mbit/s. But many old printers and scanners use the legacy parallel port that most desktop-PC motherboards have dropped from their ports panel and which stopped being offered by laptops long ago to save port space. USB-to-Parallel and Parallel-to-USB adapters are available for those of you who want to continue using your trusty old parallel printers. Since printer problems that the Windows Printer Troubleshooter can't sort out are rare, some of the most common of them are dealt with on this page inside the blue-coloured tables instead of having a separate problems page, as is the case with most of the other major PC components.
Click here! to go to the information on scanners on this page.
There aren't many computers these days that aren't attached to an inkjet or laser printer, or a multifunction peripheral (MFP) that can print, scan and copy documents. MFPs are available as inkjet and laser models. Some MFPs can also send faxes and most of them can read a wide range of memory cards directly without going through a computer. Some MFPs now have touchscreen controls, such as the HP Laserjet Pro CM1415fn, a colour laser MFP, which has a superb, very user-friendly, full-colour touchscreen control panel. As time goes by, most printers and MFPs will be controlled in this way, as will most laptops and desktop PCs.
Laser printers are now inexpensive enough to used by home users, but inkjet printers still dominate the home-printer market and are the best choice for photo printing. At the moment, laser printers can't print to photo paper nearly as well as inkjet printers. Laser printers are really only better than inkjet printers for business users who do a lot of printing, because bulk-printing using a laser printer is the cheapest option.
Even if your business only prints, say, 10 pages a day, you can save a significant amount over the life of the printer by using a laser printer, because a toner cartridge is rated for 2,500 to 10,000 pages. The more pages it is rated for the more expensive the toner cartridge will be, but even at the highest page rating it won't be significantly more expensive than a set of inket cartridges and may even be cheaper if the inkjet printer uses up to 6 cartridges. I have had a mono laser printer that has used only 5 toner cartridges since 1994 printing on average about 5 pages a day and it is still going strong.
Note that laser printers make use of more components than an inkjet printer. The most basic models have an integrated OPC drum, which makes maintenance easy but results in higher print costs. If any parts can't be replaced, such as an integrated OPC drum, the printer has to be junked when that part fails. More expensive laser printers have separate (replaceable) OPC drums, waste toner bottles and fuser units, which may need to be replaced, resulting in hidden costs that negate the savings made if the toner cartridges are cheap. Indeed, it may be a cheaper option to buy a new printer than to replace replaceable failed components.
The lifespans and prices of the replaceable parts vary from printer to printer, but they all have to be replaced at some point. Most laser printer manufacturers provide figures for the lifespans of the various replaceable components in order to be able to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO), which is the total cost of using the printer for three years of light, medium or heavy use, including the cost of the printer and all consumables (toner cartridges, etc.)
Note that most inkjet printers and an increasing number of laser printers have a 'soft' power button instead of an on/off switch, which means that the printer is never switched off, but enters a low-power state when powered down that draws a few watts of power. A laser printer uses more power than an inkjet in this state because it has a larger power supply. In any case, the longer the power supply unit is left on the shorter its life expectancy, so if you are not going to use a printer for a lengthy period, switch it off at the mains. I do that anyway with my HP inkjet printer because there is a small industry supplying replacement power adapters for HP printers.
The image below is of an HP Photosmart C3180 All-in-One Printer (MFP), which has an inkjet printer. It's automatic document feeder (AFD), which every inkjet and laser printer has, can be seen on its bottom side. The number of pages that the AFD can hold varies from printer to printer.
Printers and MFPs running on Windows systems require software called device drivers to work. MFPs with several functions (printing, scanning, copying, faxing etc.) require special software provided by their manufacturers. The versions of Windows 7 are the latest versions of Windows, made available worldwide on 22 October 2009.
The versions of Windows 8 are to be released on 26 october 2012. The version called Windows 8 is the Home version. The other two are the Pro and the Enterprise versions. According to reports, Win8 prvides excellent driver support.
There might not be a Windows 7 device driver or the manufacturer's software for an elderly MFP or printer. To find out if there is a Windows 7 device driver, visit the machine's manufacturer's website and enter the printer's model in the website's Search box.
For example, I have an HP PSC 2510 MFP (printer, scanner, copier, fax machine). It was running on a desktop computer running Windows XP. I bought a new desktop PC running the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium, which means that the 64-bit device driver is required. HP did not have the Windows 7 software for this MFP at that time, but a basic printer driver was available. I got the computer to install it by entering the words printer troubleshooter in the Start => Search programs and files box in Windows 7. Clicking the provided link to the Printer Troubleshooter runs it. By following the instructions Windows 7 installed the basic driver, but none of the other features - the copier, scanner and fax machine - could be used. To get those features back either the manufacturer would have to provide a 64-bit driver or I would have had to get a new MFP. Fortunately, I just use it for printing. Here is Microsoft's Knowledge Base article on how to find a 64-bit driver:
How to find a compatible printer driver for a computer that is running a 64-bit version of Windows - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/895612/
Many MFPs can make photocopies and print photos directly from a digital camera that supports the common PictBridge USB standard. Many MFPs with memory-card readers can print images directly from the cards they support, and some of them can scan directly to USB flash drives or supported memory cards. Most photo printers have memory card readers and can also print photos directly from a digital camera.
Because they are space-saving and usually cheaper to buy than separate machines, many users are now opting to buy a Multi-function Peripheral (MFP) instead of a separate printer, scanner, and copier. However, on this page, most of the information is on separate printers and scanners, because most of it applies to MFPs.
Note that wireless printers and MFPs that connect wirelessly to computers equipped with wireless adapters, or connected to a wireless router, are now available from all of the major printer manufacturers. Visit hp.com to see what is currently available.
If you use an Ethernet network cable to connect a printer that does not have a built-in wireless adapter to a host computer that is connected to a wireless router, if you have File and Printer Sharing (F&PS) enabled on the host computer, the other computers on the network will be able to use the printer if they have its device drivers installed and the host computer is switched on with Windows running. To find out how to enable F&PS for the version of Windows you are using, enter the term followed by the version of Windows in a search engine.
Printers with a built-in network adapter can connect to the router directly without the host computer being switched on and can then be shared by the other printers on the network.
An old non-wireless printer can be made to work wirelessly by connecting it to a wireless print server, widely available on the web. All of the computers that you want to share the printer must have that make/model of printer's device driver installed. It can be a USB or a parallel printer. A parallel printer that uses a wide old pre-USB parallel port has to be connected to the print server with a parallel-to-USB (or USB-to-parallel) adapter cable that is widely available on the web for about £10. You can find them buy using either of those terms as the search query in a search engine. Don't be put off buying one of these by anyone who tells you that they don't work or are unreliable, because I know of someone who has successfully connected 25 HP Laserjet 4100 parallel-port printers with these adapters, printing many thousands of pages a day. Most online websites that sell them also provide purchaser reviews, so be sure to read them before you make a purchase.
Very easy to set up, Airport Express is an Apple product that works on both Apple Macs and desktop and laptop PCs. By connecting it to an ADSL or cable modem up to 10 users can access the web, play multiplayer games, etc., wirelessly.
Most current printers and MFPs use the USB 2.0 interface and cables, but USB 3.0 (also known as SuperSpeed USB) is now available and all new PC, motherboards and laptops now provide it. A USB 3.0 port is the same shape as its forerunner and it contains all of the USB 2.0 contacts, plus five new contacts that provide USB 3.0 connectivity, which makes it possible to connect a USB 2.0 device to a USB 3.0 port with a USB 2.0 cable, but a USB 3.0 device has to be connected using a USB 3.0 cable. A USB 3.0 wireless dongle also has to be connected to a USB 3.0 port, so make sure that your computer provides USB 3.0 ports before you buy a wired USB 3.0 device or one that uses a wireless USB 3.0 dongle.
The following link provides a video showing the differences between PS/2, USB and FireWire cables.
Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 all provide a Printer Troubleshooter that can be found and then run by entering the words Printer Troubleshooter or troubleshooting in the Start => Search box in Vista/Win7 and in Help and Support in XP.
Windows 7 provides several troubleshooters in its Control Panel that is accessed by clicking on the Start button. The default view of the Control Panel (View by: Category) has a System and Security section. You click on the Find and fix problems link to open the page that provides the troubleshooters, which, when activated, run to fix problems automatically. The easiest way to access them is to type the word troubleshooting in the Start => Search programs and files box (no need to press the Enter key) to be presented with a clickable link. The most useful troubleshooters are under the following headings:
Hardware and Sound - Troubleshoot audio recording - Troubleshoot audio playback - Use a printer
Network and Internet - Internet connections - Shred folders - HomeGroup - Network adapter - Incoming Connections
System and Security - Fix problems with Windows Update - Run maintenance tasks - Check for performance issue
There are also some good troubleshooting pages on Microsoft's site such as these two:
Diagnose and fix printer and printing problems automatically - Includes a FixIt button that runs an automatic troubleshooter and fixer. -
Unable to print or view the print preview of a webpage in Internet Explorer -
The following printer troubleshooting information pages can be used to troubleshoot printer problems in Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Resources for troubleshooting printing problems in Windows XP -
Solutions are provided for a number of the problems that occur with inkjet, laser and dot matrix printers on this Printer troubleshooting guide: http://kb.iu.edu/data/acbl.html
Locate other guides for Windows XP/WindowsVista/Windows 7 by using a suitable search query in a web search engine such as Bing.
Since Windows Vista, 64-bit versions of all of the versions of Windows have been made available that make it possible to use the latest ultra-high volume hard disk drives and more RAM memory than the 3.2GB maximum that a 32-bit version can use. Unfortunately, many scanner and MFP manufacturers don't provide 64-bit drivers for their older models, which are required to make them function on a 64-bit version of Windows. Fortunately, third-party solutions are available that, in the case of the superb VueScan from hamrick.com, provides a superior interface with more features than the scanner manufacturer's interface into the bargain. You can try it for free to find out if it works with your trusty old scanner.
Question: Is it possible to make a printer and separate scanner make copies of documents like an MFP?
Answer: A printer and scanner can be made to work together to copy documents. First, check to find out if your scanner came with copying software. If so, installing and using it is usually a very simple matter. If not, you can use the free iCopy. The link to its website page comes up first when you perform a web search for it. When it is installed, just run it and select your printer and scanner. Then all you have to do is use its iCopy button to make copies.
Question: The software that came with my MFP, a Brother DCP-J315W, can't scan several pages into a single PDF file. Otherwise, it is an excellent device that uses four inexpensive cartridges. Third-party software that does the job can be purchased for about £50. Is there any free software available. I don't see why I should pay for it when the cheap HP PSC 1410 MFP I had could do that in colour or black or grayscale beautifully.
Answer: There are many applications that can produce a single multi-page PDF document from multiple scans and free software that can do the job is available. You need to obtain two free utilities. 1. - CutePDF Writer from cutepdf.com, which installs itself as a printer that can create a PDF document in any application via its Print menu. 2. - iCopy (the link to its website page comes up first when you perform a web search for it), which is designed to link a separate printer and scanner in order to photocopy, but can send a printout image from a scanner to the CutePDF printer you will have installed that allows you to save the scans into a single PDF document.
There is also a website that can do the job for you online - foxyutils.com/mergepdf/. The original PDF documents have to be uploaded to the site in the correct order.
My Epson SX415 multifunction peripheral (MFP), now discontinued, has developed a printing fault that is causing paper jams. The head alignment must be incorrect because the same line of text is printed out in blue and black with one colour not being superimposed over the other 100%. I have been given a quote by Epson of L80 to repair it. I can buy the latest Epson SX435W model for L50 that provides a touchscreen instead of buttons and wireless network support, but, being fond of it, I would like to know if I can save this model.
The paper jams and misaligned text would suggest that somehow one of the print or more of the heads has been moved out of position, blocking the paper path.
Try disconnecting the MFP from the mains power supply and examine the print mechanism and the area under the print heads, removing anything that could be the cause of the blockage.
Run the head alignment utility, which may realign misaligned print heads. If necessary run it several times. If you need instructions on how to do that consult the printer's user manual. If the printing problem still exists, switching to a higher print quality might do the trick, because at lower print-quality settings, many Epson inkjet printe simulate black text out of a mixture of colour inks for quick printing. The black cartridge will be used for quality printing and the switch over may solve the problem.
If none of those actions cures the printing problem and the jamming, you'll have to replace the MFP.
Having installed Office XP in a new Windows 7 laptop, I found that Word and Excel can't find my USB printer so I can print from them. Wordpad, Firefox and Adobe Reader can. Is Office XP incompatible with Windows 7?
First go to Control Panel => Hardware and Sound => Devices and Printers. Right-click on the Printer icon and choose Properties. In the Sharing tab, deselect "Share this printer". You should now be able to print to the printer with all the Office XP programs.
If not, Office XP is an old version of Office designed to work with Windows XP, but you should be able to use your printer from Word and Excel in that version. Windows 7, like Windows XP, has a Compatibility Mode that makes a program run as if in an earlier version of Windows. Choose Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking on the Start button, scroll down until you find Program Files, open it and find and open Microsoft Office. For Word and Excel find their executable .exe files, which are Winword.exe for Word and Excel.exe for Excel, right click on the executable file and choose Properties. Open the Compatibility tab, as shown in the image below for Winword.exe. Enable "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" and choose Windows XP SP3 from the list. The image below was taken from a PC running Windows XP, so it only has the versions of Windows that came before XP.
Note well that some makes of inkjet printers use ink cartridges that contain the print-head (chipped cartridges), and other makes just use a cartridge that connects up to a print-head built into the printer (non-chipped cartridges).
Most of the current models made by the major inkjet printer manufacturers are now using non-chipped cartridges, having been for quite a long time mostly using chipped cartridges. Most inkjet printers now use separate ink tanks and a replaceable print head that is designed to last the lifetime of the printer and which has to be attached when unpacking the printer from the box it comes in. This method makes for cheaper ink cartridges that don't have the extra overhead of a fixed print head built into the cartridges. Most printers and printers in MFP devices now use 4, 5, or 6 colour cartridges plus a black cartridge and having all of them with a fixed print head would be prohibitively expensive, hence the take-up of fixed but replaceable print heads.
However, note that some printers come with fixed, non-replaceable print head, you should use it regularly to make sure that its nozzles don't get blocked up by dry ink. If the printer's cleaning routine fails to clear a blockage in such a printer, the whole printer will have to be replaced.
Also note that inkjet printers are now available, such as the Epson Stylus PX720WD and the Epson WP-4535, the cartridges for which fit into a compartment so that the ink is fed into a moving print head through tubes. The cartridges themselves are stationary. After the cartridges have been installed and the printer initialised (the priming process), there could be very little ink left in the cartridges. This is normal, because it takes a lot of ink to fill the tubes. How much ink is left depends on the capacity of the cartridges. The process only happens once, so the next set of cartridges should last for the rated number of pages. All of the ink is used, it's just that the ink in the tubes can't be monitored.
With a new printer, you have to perform a print-head alignment, which takes about ten minutes.
Of course, non-chipped cartridges made by the printer's manufacturer are much less expensive than chipped cartridges, because the print-head is an expensive additional overhead. Moreover, non-chipped cartridges are easier for third-party compatible cartridge manufacturers to make or refill, so non-chipped compatible cartridges are also much cheaper than the chipped compatible cartridges that are available. In many cases, chipped compatible cartridges are not available.
Some printers are easier to set up than others. For example, the Epson Stylus C46 (no longer available new) provides a manual printer head alignment system that is awkward to use. It produces three sets of printed lines and asks the user to choose the straightest line from each set. It can be difficult to discern any difference between the lines, thereby leaving the user wondering if the right choice was made.
The manufacturers of inkjet printers that have the print-head built into the printer warn users that the print-head can be damaged if the ink is allowed to run out. Therefore, they advise users to replace cartridges just before they run dry.
Such printers are not delivered with ink already in the print-head. The printers are shipped for sale with an oily substance in the print-head. That is why it can take a long time to 'prime' the printer for its first use. The process can take up to 15 minutes for photo printers. The printer has to clear all of the oil from the print-head and dump it into the waste reservoir and then replace it with ink before the printer can be used.
However, since most current printers use cartridges with the print head built into the cartridge, this isn't as much of a consideration as it used to be.
Most printers and printer/scanner/copier multifunction devices are not sold with a USB 2.0 cable, so, buy one if you don't already have one.
The most basic inkjet printers have just one USB 2.0 port. Some inkjets, such a photo inkjet printers, have a PictBridge USB port that allows you to connect a digital camera directly to them. PictBridge allows you to print photos without turning the printer's PC on, but you can only set basic options, such as paper size and to print with or without borders.
Many printers, especially photo inkjets, have memory-card readers that read the memory cards used in digital cameras, and many of them also have a large colour screen that allows you to select photos to print and preview the results of editing features, such as red-eye correction. You should be sure to buy a printer with a memory-card reader that supports the card format used by your digital camera.
Memory card - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_card
Cartridge renewal can be a very expensive business with photo printers, some of which require as many as seven different chipped cartridges (cartridges with a print head fixed to them) - one black and six for colour. As mentioned earlier, this is no doubt the reason why most printers that use more than two cartridges (one black and one colour) now have a fixed, replaceable print head that uses non-chipped cartridges.
Note that some chipped inkjet cartridges, such as those made by HP, have an expiry date that can cause problems. For instance, if the system clock suddenly shows the wrong time and date, it can confuse the printer and make it close down access to the cartridge long before the ink has run out. The latest generation of HP cartridges monitor the ink levels and the expiry dates, and therefore make refilling them by third parties, or by using refill kits, far more difficult than it would be for, say, the non-monitored, non-chipped cartridges used in Canon printers.
Search inkjet printer support on the Hewlett Packard website for information on this problem. I have seen the information is there, but I have not provided a direct link to it because the links change constantly.
You should be able to find more current pages with this information by entering the search phrase such as: reset hp cartridges in a search engine.
Click the link to read Will you render a printer's warranty void if you use refill kits or third-party cartridges? on the Warranty section of this website. And click here! for possible solutions if you're having USB connection problems with an HP printer or HP MFP (Multi-function Peripheral) machine that usually consists of a printer, scanner, and copier.
Dot-matrix printers that use a printer ribbon used to be the most popular kind of printer. They're still being used in business, because of how well they can print continuous printouts, but you would have a difficult time finding a supplier. Businesses that use them have them built to order. Not many home users use dot-matrix printers these days, because they're noisy, can't print in colour in the same way as inkjet and laser printers can, and aren't as good as them at printing standard A4 documents. Therefore, they aren't dealt with on this page.
Very decent inkjet printers can be purchased very cheaply (for between £50 and £70), but their quoted print speeds for printing documents and colour graphics can be less than half of those speeds in practice. They also tend to be more expensive to run than more expensive heavy-duty inkjet and laser printers. But most of the cheap inkjet printers are fine for light use.
If you need to print many documents, you should look for a printer with double the minimum speeds and half of the printing costs of the sub-£100 printers. You should look for an inkjet printer that can handle all kinds of office media, including printing envelopes and labels, and printing to recordable CDs and DVDs.
If you need a printer to produce digital photographs, you should choose one that can handle subtle colour tones well. A printer that is capable of printing right up to the edge of the paper (borderless printing) can be bought inexpensively these days. You should therefore read the reviews of the wide range of photo printers that are currently available before you make a purchase.
Note that you should find out how many printer cartridges an inkjet printer uses, and how much they cost compared to similar printers before you make a purchase. Cheap inkjet printers often use expensive print cartridges. For example, the HP PSC 1410 printer-scanner-copier, which is no longer available under that name (it keeps getting a new name, but costs about the same), was priced at under £50/$100 and uses HP 21 (black) and HP 22 (colour) inkjet cartridges. Those cartridges contain only 5ml of ink, which doesn't last very long but they cost as much as HP cartridges containing 20ml of ink.
Fortunately, it has become possible to buy the 21XL and 22XL extra-capacity cartridges that the packaging says can print 2.5 times as many pages (circa 475 pages according to the packaging). They certainly last much longer than the 5ml cartridges. How much ink they contain I can't say because that information is not provided and I was unable to find it on websites that sell those cartridges.
You can buy remanufactured HP 21 and HP 22 cartridges that have been refilled with 20ml or 25ml of ink, but, in my experience, they are unreliable. The cartridges can hold that much ink, but HP only fills the standard cartridges with 5ml of in in order to make a good profit from a cheap printer that is sold at a loss. In my opinion, the XL versions of those cartridges only become available after a printer or MFP has been in use for a long time. Then a new model comes out with new cartridges that are only low-capacity.
You can also refill cartridges, and you can also reset certain makes of chipped cartridges using a resetter that costs around £15. For anyone wanting to know more about this topic, visit this inkjet printer forum: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/index.php
Some users report continual success in refilling inkjet cartridges, not with ink from computer fairs or market stalls, but from specialist suppliers, details of which are all on that printer forum.
A Continuous Ink System also known as a Continuous Flow System (CIS/CFS), is a bulk feed ink system that available for certain makes/models of inkjet printers. A CIS/CFS system uses large (about 100ml/color) ink tanks that are connected with tubes to the printhead nozzles. The tanks can be refilled from an ink bottle or sometimes from a syringe. You can make huge cost-savings by using a CIS system if your printer or MFP uses original cartridges that only have very small amounts of ink in them, such as the HP 21 and 22 cartridges. Note that this system is not available for all inkjet printers and MFPs, only certain makes/models.
Computer magazines usually calculate the cost per page when they review printers. Laser printers are usually more expensive to buy than comparable inkjet printers, and a toner cartridge is more expensive than a set of inkjet cartridges, but they are usually more economic to run, because a toner cartridge lasts much longer than a set of inkjet cartridges.
You may find that even when an inkjet printer is printing in black, it can be using its colour inks to create the black instead of using the black cartridge. In that case, it is using a combination of three colours to create composite black and grayscale tones. Most printer device drivers allow the user to disable an option such as "Use composite black", or enable a setting that forces the printer to use the black cartridge for black.
If the blacks in inkjet photos look washed out, it's because the printer is using its colour cartridges to create composite black, because it uses a pigment-based black that is unsuitable for photos and is only used for printing text. If you want the best photo prints, look for a printer that uses a dye-based black cartridge for black. Some printers, such as the Canon iP4600 printer, uses five cartridges, including both dye-based and pigment-based blacks to create deep shadows in photos and pin-sharp text. The larger PGI-520BK cartridge contains enough pigmented black ink to print about 350 A4 pages, creating sharp, deep black text that dries quickly to prevent smudging. The smaller CLI-521BK cartridge contains dye-based back ink for photo printing.
You access the printer's driver in the Control Panel via Printers and Faxes in Windows XP and via Printers in Windows Vista. In Windows 7, look under Devices and Printers (under the Hardware and Sound category) or just enter the word printers in The Start => Search programs and files box to be provided with a clickable link to Devices and Printers.
The settings differ for the different makes of printers. In Windows XP, for example, to gain access to the settings, you would open the printer that appears as an icon or is listed, and then click Printer => Properties. You will have to explore the available options. If you don't understand any of them, you can make use of a suitable search term in a search engine to find out more information on them.
If you just use black, you cannot use only black cartridges in the printer, because the printer won't work unless all of the cartridges, for black and the colours, are installed and have ink in them. The colour cartridgeslots are designed to accept only colour cartridges, which differ from black cartridges. In every inkjet printer, you will find a diagram that shows where the black and colour cartridges are fitted.
If you only require black, you should use a mono laser printer, which are much more economical to run than inkjet printers. Reviews of inkjet printers, MFPs, and mono and colour laser printers are provided further down this page.
Always read the instruction manual before you install a printer, because there is no such thing as a standard installation. For example, at the time of writing this, Canon inkjet printers required the software to be installed before the printer was connected to the PC. However, most of the current HP inkjet printers required the printer to be connected to the mains before the ink cartridges could be installed otherwise they couldn't be installed. The software on the installation CD was then installed without the printer being connected to the PC. The installation wizard told you when to connect the USB cable between the printer and the PC.
Other than mice, keyboards, and monitors, printers are probably the most popular computer peripheral. Unlike mice, keyboards, and monitors, however, printers are not always a plug-it-in-and-it-works-as-if-by-magic affair because they require drivers, consumables (such as paper and ink) and configuration. Because of this, new printers come with at least two necessities: the user manual to walk you through all the steps (some of which may be unique to your model) and the device drivers - the software that makes the printer work. If you are have the user manual and driver disc that came with the printer, follow the directions and use the disc for a trouble-free printer installation.
If you want to install a printer manually in Windows XP and Windows Vista run the Add a printer option under Printers in the Control Panel in Windows XP which is under Control Panel => Hardware and Sound => Printers => Add a Printer in Windows Vista. Two options are available: Add a local printer (not a USB printer, which is installed automatically), and Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer. (Make sure that your printer is connected to the network, or that your Bluetooth or wireless printer is turned on.)
In Windows 7 look in the Control Panel under Hardware and Sound with View by: Category and under Devices and Printers with View by: Large/Small icons selected, or just enter printers in the Start => Search programs and files box to be presented with a clickable link to Devices and Printers (plus other printer-related links), then choose the Add a printer option.
If you need more information click How to Install Printers to read the full article on installing a printer in Windows XP. For Windows Vista visit Printer Installation in Windows Vista and Find and install printer drivers. For Windows 7 visit Install a printer.
Here are guides on enabling file and printer sharing in Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7.
File and Printer Sharing with Microsoft Windows [Windows XP/2000/98/Me/NT] -
Troubleshooting File and Printer Sharing in Microsoft Windows XP -
File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista -
Sharing a printer on Windows 7 Vista XP network -
Share Files and Printers between Windows 7 and XP -
To find out how to use file and printer sharing in Windows 7, enter the word homegroup in the Start => Search programs and files box.
Locate other guides by using a suitable search term in a web search.
Anonymous information on a computer forum:
1. - "I have a Canon MP360 and recently got the message 'black ink low'. I was able to continue printing for a while but then put in a new PC World cartridge. I could not print in black so changed it to a Canon cartridge. Still no black printing. Did the usual cleaning and deep cleaning but still can't get it to print in black. The colours are OK. I've done a test page and where I get the horizontal lines there is no black but the colours are there. Then when I do the check that gives the little blocks the black looks better than the colours. Any ideas please? ... [The poster found his own solution to the problem.] I did all the usual things and I took out the cartridge and reinserted it. Still no go. Then I went on the Canon FAQs and found that the black won't work without the colours so although I wasn't getting a 'low ink' message for the colours I changed it anyway and lo and behold I got black printing back. Very strange!"
2. - "I had a similar problem with a Lexmark cart. I found that as it had not been used, the ink had dried and blocked it. I left it on a damp tissue until I could see an ink stain. The problem sometimes reoccurs if I don't use the printer for a while, but is easy to clear. It's worth a try!"
As you should know, it is possible to create all of the possible colours from mixing just red, green, and blue. That is how colour television pictures are created, and how colour images are printed.
The number of cartridges an inkjet printer uses can vary from one (black only) to seven (six colour and one black). General-purpose inkjets use four colours, but most photo inkjets use six or more. HP's Deskjet 5740 and Lexmark's Z815 use six colour cartridges and a black cartridge in order to print high-quality colour photo images. Epson's Stylus C66 and Canon's PIXMA iP3000 have separate cartridges for black, cyan (a greenish blue), magenta (a deep purplish red), and yellow. But most budget inkjet printers use just two cartridges - a pigment-based black tank for printing text, and a single colour tank that contains cyan, magenta, and yellow inks.
Some printers have a pigment black cartridge for text and a dye-based black cartridge for photos. Printers that only have a pigment black cartridge for text and dye-based cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges print the black photos by mixing those three colours to create black, which is not as black a the black from a dye-based black cartridge.
Note that if a single colour cartridge is used, if one colour runs out the cartridge has to be replaced, because the printer can't work with one part of the tank empty. Moreover, it might be possible to buy cartridges for a particular make and model of printer that are described as being for light use and high yield. The light use cartridges usually contain about half as much ink (or less) as the high yield cartridges but usually cost more than half the price, thereby making it more expensive to use them.
You can purchase recycled, remanufactured, compatible or refilled printer cartridges (made by or refilled by third-party manufacturers) for all of the major brands of inkjet printer, usually at a cheaper price compared to the cost of new brand-name cartridges. But, as might be expected, you should know the about the pros and the cons.
An inkjet printer's manufacturer can state that the warranty will be rendered void if compatible cartridges are used and the printer is damaged so that it requires to be repaired. For instance, Canon has such a clause in its warranty, but it also states that Canon has to prove that the use of compatible cartridges was the cause of the damage.
Note that there are many manufacturers of compatible cartridges that provide their own warranty. This usually states that, in the unlikely event that their cartridges damage the printer, they will bear the cost of the repairs or replacement of the printer.
You should also make sure that the compatible cartridges you buy have an ISO9001 or ISO9002 certification, which means that they have been manufactured to a high standard. I speak from experience when I say that using any of these alternatives (that are not certified) to buying the original cartridges tends to be a hit-and-miss affair that is avoided by buying the original cartridges, which are nearly 100% reliable. The compatible cartridges for some makes of printers tend to work better that for others. For example, the compatible cartridges that are certified work very well on Brother printers while getting them to work with an HP printer is not as care-free.
There are many videos on YouTube that show how to refill inkjet cartridges, particularly HP cartridges, such as this one:
As you can see, it is not usually a very demanding process if you buy a good refill kit such as the one used in that video.
You can look for your own information about a particular make/model of cartridge by entering the relevant key words as a search query in a search engine. For example, enter the printer's make and model within double quotation marks: "canon selphy cp500" compatible cartridges.
Here are the instructions that a manufacturer of recycled/compatible cartridges might provide with its cartridge(s):
If the printer doesn't recognise the cartridge - there may be some dirt or ink on the electronic contacts of either the cartridge or the printer. Using a damp paper towel to clean both electronic contacts should solve the problem. - Please make sure there is no power going to the printer if you are going to clean the electronic contacts. If this does not work try to remove the cartridge, reboot your PC and try to reinstall it again. If it still causes problems then please return to seller for exchange.
All cartridges must be stored upright in their box while in storage and before use. If the cartridge has not been stored in this upright position, then the print quality will be poor until the ink settles to the bottom of the cartridge where the print head is. Simply leave the cartridge installed in the printer for 2 to 6 hours, and quality should be restored. Make sure any spare cartridges are stored upright, so they work correctly when first installed. Try setting the printer to print using its "best" printing setting.
An air pocket may be stopping the ink from leaving the cartridge. Simply remove the cartridge, take a folded sheet of kitchen towel, and rap around the cartridge, and shake the cartridge several times. Then blot the cartridges print head on the towel until a colour or black pattern is seen, now the ink is leaving the cartridge, the cartridge can be inserted into the printer.
Take a single piece of kitchen paper towel, fold it in two and gently dab the cartridge head on the paper towel until you see a head print from the cartridge. If you do not get a good head print from the cartridge, simply wet the corner of the kitchen towel and gently wipe the cartridge head several times, then blot the cartridge head again with the dry kitchen towel. Now insert the cartridge into your printer and run 2 or 3 cleaning cycles. - If it is still poor return to seller for exchange.
Remember that to get the best prints, please ensure you run 1 or 2 print-head cleaning cycles and select the "Best"print option.
Most photo printers have the capacity to read data directly from the memory cards used by digital cameras. Such printers usually offer advanced layout and quality options, and can also be used as a memory card reader when connected to a computer. Just make sure that a photo printer with such a facility supports the same memory card format as your digital camera.
Most inkjet and laser printers can print on envelopes. Inkjet printers that can do so usually have markings on their paper tray to show you where the envelopes are fed. However, laser printers usually have a feed slot specially for envelopes. The paper used in envelopes is thicker than standard sheets of A4 paper, so you have to set the printer's driver to print to envelopes as well as to thick card paper. You can access the printer's driver via Printers and Faxes in the Control Panel in Windows XP.
In Windows Vista, the Hardware and Sound category provides access to the following devices: under Printers you can add or remove printers and connect to other printers on a network troubleshoot printers. From there you can install, remove and set the options for scanners and digital cameras, mice, game controllers, joysticks, keyboards and pen devices.
You click on the printer's icon or reference and then choose Printer => Properties in the window that presents itself to access the driver's features, which differ from one printer to another. For the HP PSC 1400 series of printer/scanner copiers, clicking the Printing Preferences button of the General tab allows you to choose the paper options (size and type). A standard bill envelope is 220mm x 110mm. There are options for different types of paper and cards, etc.
Certain printers have an inbuilt tray that accommodates a CD or DVD disc so that the printer can print a label on it. An example of such a printer is the Canon i965 inkjet printer.
Dell sells inkjet and laser printers under its brand name. Lexmark makes both the printers and the cartridges for Dell, but if you visit a cartridge vendor's site, this is the message that you're likely to see: "Dell printers accept Dell ink and toner cartridges only." In short, officially you can only buy the cartridges for a Dell printer from Dell. The inkjet cartridges have a notch on them so that Lexmark cartridges can't fit Dell printers, and vice versa.
Printer memory is available from Crucial for all of the major brands of printers. Shipping is free and the memory is guaranteed to work or you get a full refund.
Duplex printing is the ability of a printer to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. After a pause to allow the ink to dry, each page is drawn back into the printer for a second pass. It's an excellent way to save paper, but the interval between printing one side of a page and the other side makes duplex printing a much slower process than single-page printing.
Duplex inkjet printers, which can also print single pages, are not as expensive compared to ordinary inkjet printers as they used to be.
If you use decent-quality card stock (200gsm and above), the feed mechanisms on inkjet printers tend to wear out quickly. It is therefore best to use a laser printer that can handle up to 215gsm paper. At the time of writing (December 2007), the Dell Colour Laser Printer 3110cn has that specification. If you use its PostScript driver, it has good print quality and is cheap to run and maintain.
Mono and colour laser printers are usually considerably larger than inkjet printers. A laser printer requires to be placed on a strong table or desk with the space around it providing good ventilation and to allow the user to be able to open its paper trays and/or access panels.
Mono laser printers are as cheap as inkjet printers, but are very much cheaper to run. Colour laser printers used to be very expensive, but the prices have recently become very affordable.
Most laser printers connect to computers via a USB connection, the cable for which is usually not provided with the printer. Installing a printer is usually a simple matter of following the illustrated set of installation instructions that come with the printer. You should follow the instructions, because there is no such thing as a standard installation. Some printers require the printer's software to be installed before connecting the printer to the PC and others require the software to be installed during the installation process.
Many laser printers have an Ethernet networking connection, which is handy if you want to share the printer on an office network. To do that you would use the printer-sharing system that is built into the Windows operating system (from Windows 95 to Windows 7). However, you should note that network printers are not always easy to configure.
Mono laser printers (that have a single toner cartridge) that can only print in black are fairly simple to operate and maintain, but colour laser printers are complex devices that can use anything from four to ten different consumables, including several toner cartridges.
Most mono laser printers come with a normal toner cartridge. However, because of the cost, most colour laser printers come with starter toner cartridges that may need to be replaced after printing about 500 pages. When buying replacement cartridges, you should shop around for the lowest prices on the genuine brand-name cartridges made by the same manufacturer as the printer, and you should choose the more expensive high-yield products that are more economical in the long run than the lower-yield products.
Colour laser printers that can print black, cyan, magenta, and yellow toner in one pass can print as quickly as they can print in black only. But the colour laser printers that require a pass to lay down each colour, print colour pages that take four times as long as printing pages in black only.
Home and office laser printers can produce excellent results with the graphics created by business applications, but they are currently not suitable for printing photos. Certain colour laser printers can produce gloss finishes on image prints, but the low resolutions they use compared to inkjet printers produce photos that look grainier than those produced by even the cheapest inkjet printer.
However, at the time of writing, HP had just introduced 220gsm Laser Gloss Photo paper for its range of Color Laserjet printers that is said to produce excellent results. You can enter a search term such as hp + 220gsm + laser + gloss + photo + paper in a search engine to locate information, reviews and local vendors.
All printers come with the device drivers for Windows XP and Windows Vista, which was officially released on January 30, 2007. Windows 7 was released on 22 October 2009. All new printers should come with drivers for Windows 7. If not, you should be able to download them from the support section of the printer manufacturer's website.
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor -
You have to download the Upgrade Advisor and run it on the desktop or laptop computer that you intend to upgrade. It produces a report telling you which of your hardware and software is or is not likely to be compatible with Windows 7 (including printers) and what to do if any of it is not. You should have your printer connected and turned on when running the advisor.
If your computers are networked, all you have to do is enable file and printer sharing (look it up using Windows Help and Support) on each computer in order to use a single printer that is connected to one of them. The computer connected to the printer has to be turned on in order to use the printer. If you need more information for Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, use a search query in a web search engine, such as windows xp file and printer sharing, replacing xp with vista or 7 if you are using those versions of Windows.
If you have spare USB ports on your computers and one on your printer, you can connect them using a Bluetooth wireless connection. You must have a Bluetooth adapter in the printer's USB port and a Bluetooth adapter in a USB port on each PC. If you have a laptop/notebook PC with inbuilt Bluetooth, you don't need an adapter for it. You should then be able to print from any of your computers.
Dye-sublimation printers don't use liquid ink. They use a ribbon that is permeated with cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes. The print head heats the dyes, which become a gas that transfers to photo paper where it becomes solid again. Each colour is printed separately so the printer has to move the paper across the fixed print head three times. Inkjet photo printers are much slower than dye-sublimation printers. However, because different quality and layout settings affect the amount of dye used, it's difficult to calculate how much a a typical print costs. Note that the ribbon can only print a set number of pages before it needs to be replaced, which is more often than an inkjet photo printer needs to have its ink cartridges replaced. Moreover, dye-sublimation printers can't print over the full length of a page. The photo paper used has perforated tear-off strips that have to be removed. If you want more information on this technology, usethe term in a web search.
If you want to print documents or photos, you'll need to buy an inkjet or laser printer. There is plenty of information about printers on the Internet (suppliers' and manufacturers' sites, and information sites).
You can buy a good brand-name inkjet printer retail for a little as £26. High-end laser printers are more expensive than high-end inkjets, but both mono and colour models are available at prices that are competitive with inkjets. Moreover, laser printers are usually cheaper per page to run. That said, there are inkjets that can match them in the cost per page. Mono laser printers only offer black and shades of grey. Any printer you buy (inkjet or laser) will come with a CD/DVD containing its drivers and other printing software.
If you use a printer for heavy-duty image printouts, make sure that it comes with enough RAM memory installed, and make sure that you can add more memory at a later date.
You should take pains to find out how much the ink cartridges (for inkjets) and toner cartridges (for lasers) cost before you make a purchase. The prices can vary wildly from model to model, and they are seldom included in the manufacturer's adverts.
The reason that printers can be so cheap is because the manufacturers will recoup many times the cost of a printer by selling the ink cartridges and toners expensively. In fact, you can often get a printer free of charge if you agree to purchase all of the cartridges from a particular supplier.
Good printer buying advice is provided by amazon.com (US) and amazon.co.uk (UK).
1. - Having read many printer reviews, I would say that this is the order of rank among laser printer manufacturers - Hewlett Packard (usually the most expensive brand by far), Lexmark, Okidata (Oki), Brother, NEC, Epson, and Canon. The order of rank for inkjet printers is more difficult to establish, because most of the above companies produce very good inkjet printers, but HP is probably at the top of this list as well, closely followed by Canon, Epson, and Lexmark. Lexmark's inkjet cartridges are usually more expensive than the other brands' cartridges.
2. - Don't purchase the cheapest model. The more you spend, within reason, the longer the printer will last, and the more economical it will be in the long run. If you do a lot of text printing, it is much more economical to buy coloured letterheads and use a monochrome laser printer than it is to use a colour inkjet printer. You can now purchase a monochrome laser printer of good quality at a very affordable price. Toner cartridges (for laser printers) cost significantly more, but they can print many thousands of pages more than the equivalent amount spent on inkjet cartridges. Mono laser printers are cheaper to run than most inkjet printers. The cost per page produced by cheap laser printers, although still inexpensive, is usually about twice that of the expensive models. In the UK it is about 2 pence a page compared to 1 pence a page.
3. - Don't purchase a "Windows printer". - In other words, do not buy a printer that lists Windows as a system requirement, otherwise you won't be able to obtain drivers for it if you want to use the printer with another operating system such as Apple's OS/X, or Linux.
4. - Make sure your version of Windows is listed among the versions that the printer supports. All current printers support Windows XP and Windows Vista, but Microsoft ended support for Windows 98/Me in 2006, so you probably won't be able to find drivers for those versions of Windows. A good printer will usually last much longer than a PC. However, unfortunately printers can also last longer than the versions of Windows that supports them.
5. - Unless the speed of the printer is of crucial importance, it is not usually necessary to select one printer over another just because it can print faster. Most new printers can print acceptably fast for ordinary business purposes.
6. - 300 dots per inch (dpi) is all you need for business correspondence. There is no need to set the printer to print at 1400 dpi or higher. Doing that is just a waste of ink. Configure the printer to use the most economical modes for your particular printing requirements.
7. - Re: the HP Printer Control Language - PCL. - Your printer should support PCL 5 or better compatibility. Enter PCL or Printer Control Language in a web search engine.
8. - Before you purchase a printer, find out how much the toner cartridges or inkjet cartridges cost, how many cartridges are used, how many pages on average one cartridge is reported to print , and the average cost per page. Ordinary colour inkjet printers use four colours of ink - black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. But photo inkjet printers can use six or more colours. The printer will usually use two cartridges - one for black and one for colour - or have a different cartridge for each colour. Some printer manufacturers provide this important information on their websites, and it is usually provided in PC magazines whenever they review printers.
9. - For business use, a 50- or 100-sheet paper tray is inadequate. A sheet-feeder that can hold 200 to 250 sheets is required. You will be surprised at how fast the paper is used up.
10. - If an inkjet printer uses a combined colour cartridge, unless you can get the cartridge refilled manually, or do it yourself, you have to throw away the ink when one colour runs out, because it won't work when one colour runs out. Epson printers are often criticised for wasting ink in this way, and because if the cartridge runs dry the printer itself is irredeemably ruined. As mentioned earlier in this article, new Epson and HP printers use chipped cartridges that have the print-head on the cartridge, which is an expensive overhead. New Canon printers use non-chipped cartridges. The print-head is built into the printer. Therefore, Canon printers are less expensive to maintain than Epson and HP printers.
All new printers come with installation instructions (usually a user manual) that covers the installation of the ink cartridges (inkjets), toner cartridge (lasers) and the connection and installation of the printer to the PC. If you have a second-hand machine that did not come with a user manual, you can download a copy from its manufacturer's website.
You should not assume that all printers are installed in the same way, so always read and follow the manual. Some printers require the software to be installed before the printer, others require the printer to be connected first. With some printers, they have to be connected to the mains and switched on before the cartridges can be installed. With other printers, you can install the cartridges with the printer switched off. Because there is no standard installation procedure, I am only providing an installation overview here.
Note that it is advisable to buy the cartridges manufactured by the printer's manufacturer (HP, Canon, Epson, Brother, Dell, Lexmark, Kodak, Xerox, etc., because the remanufactured or refilled product usually causes problems with the printer, especially when the printer uses a print head instead of cartridges with built-in print heads. Read the following forum thread on this topic:
Where do you get your ink? -
Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 will not install a printer's (or a scanner's) software device drivers automatically unless it is a Plug and Play (PnP) device.
As long as a printer is connected to the computer (also switched on) and it is a Plug and Play (PnP) printer, Windows XP/Vista/7 should recognise and install the software device drivers in the same way as for any other device. If the machine is not switched on, Windows does not detect it and load its drivers.
For some reason, (e.g., if the machine is not a Plug and Play device) you may have to install the printer manually using the Add Printer Wizard in Windows XP/Vista/7.
If Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 doesn't install the drivers automatically, it has an Add Printer Wizard.
To use the wizard in Windows XP, click the Start button, and then click Printers and Faxes. In the Printer Tasks bar click Add A Printer to open the wizard's Welcome screen.
In Windows Vista, after you have connected the printer to the PC and have turned it on, click Start => Control Panel => Hardware and Sound => Printers. Click Add a printer which launches the Add Printer Wizard. Click Add a local printer.
In Windows 7, Devices and Printers is under Hardware and Sound, but the quickest way to open that window is to enter the word printers in the Start => Search Programs and files box and click on the link to it that is provided. The rest of the process is fairly simple. You select the port that the printer is using, and select the printer's manufacturer. If the printer isn't listed, click the Have Disk button, which requires a source, such as a CD/DVD containing the drivers, or a folder that contains a file that installs the latest drivers.
The image below, from an MSI motherboard manual, shows where the LPT Parallel Port is located on an ATX motherboard (the largest port - top middle). You can download the manuals for the latest MSI motherboards free of charge from msi.com.
All new printers use a USB 2.0 connection (and will soon be using a USB 3.0 connection that is backwards compatible with USB 2.0), but, although they are not being manufactured, printers that use a LPT parallel port are still in use.
If an LPT port has been installed in Windows XP/Vista/7, it will appear under the Ports (Com & LPT) heading in the Device Manager. If a COM or LPT port is not listed, it has to be installed by using the Add New Hardware utility that is in the Control Panel in Windows XP. (It is just Add Hardware in Windows Vista under Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel.) In Windows 7 it is Add a device under Devices and Printers (itself under the Hardware and Sound category).
Installing a parallel port printer:
The image below also from an MSI motherboard manual shows where the USB ports are located on an ATX motherboard. Most recent motherboards provide four USB ports. USB ports are not shown in the Device Manager because they are controlled by the USB Controllers, which are listed in the Device Manager if the motherboard, BIOS, and the operating system (usually a version of Windows) support USB, and USB has been installed by enabling it in the BIOS.
Most current printers are connected to a computer via a USB port, but you usually have to buy the USB cable separately, so you have to make up your mind which type of cable you want to use (LPT or USB).
An LPT parallel port has to be installed in the Device Manager if a parallel port printer cable is used, and the computer's motherboard must have a parallel port. Most current motherboards (September 2008) still provide a parallel port, but it is old technology that will soon be disappearing from motherboards.
Note that you have to have a motherboard and operating system that supports USB in order to be able to use a USB keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, etc.
The same goes for the new FireWire devices.
Windows 98/Me/XP/Vista/Windows 7 provide full USB support.
Versions of Windows 95 prior to version OSR 2.0 do not support USB at all. Windows 95 OSR2 can be made to support USB inadequately by installing an update, but it is not nearly as good as the version that is built into Windows 98. Therefore, if you have Windows 95 and you want to use USB, you should upgrade to Windows 98.
Note that Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 98/98SE/Me on 11 July 2006, so no further updates will be provided. However, the MS Knowledge Base articles will still be available from Microsoft's site.
If Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports are available, and Enhanced Host Controller will show under Universal Serial Bus controllers in the Device Manager. If there is only a USB Universal Host Controller, then only much slower USB 1.1 ports are available, but you can install a PCI USB 2.0 adapter card that adds USB 2.0 ports to the system.
Note that USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) is now available and all new PC motherboards provide it. A USB 3.0 cable is required to use a USB 3.0 device, but a USB 2.0 device can be used on a USB 3.0 port using a USB 2.0 cable.
SuperSpeed USB 3.0 FAQ - http://www.everythingusb.com/superspeed-usb.html
See the USB section of this site for more information on the Universal Serial Bus.
As you can see by clicking the following hyperlink, there is a heading in the Device Manager called Ports (COM and LPT), which has a + sign beside it. The USB ports are not listed under the Ports heading, they are controlled by the USB Controller.
To use USB devices, there has to be a Universal Serial Bus controllers heading in the Device Manager. If there is no such heading you will have to enable USB in the BIOS, and Windows will install it automatically. You might have to load the Windows CD/DVD if the files are not present in the Windows folder (usually the C:\Windows folder). The USB Controller can often be updated by installing the update from the manufacturer of the computer's motherboard's website. Updating it can often solve problems with USB devices.
If you're using a parallel port for a printer and there is no LPT printer port listed in the Device Manager, you'll have to make use of the Add New Hardware utility (in Windows XP) in the Control Panel to install one.
(It is just Add Hardware in Windows Vista under Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel.) In Windows 7, it is Add a device under the Hardware and Sound category in the Control Panel.
In Windows XP, Scroll to the Ports heading on the list and choose an LPT port.
There are BIOS settings that enable the modes of operation (SPP/EPP/ECP/Normal) for parallel-port printers, and there may be another LPT port setting under Power Management Setup that enables the power-management timers that cuts the power to the printer when no activity is detected. The printer's manual should tell you which options to enable for that particular printer. These settings do not apply to USB printers, which are controlled via the USB Controller.
Look under the Integrated Peripherals section of most BIOSes for the Onboard Parallel Port, Onboard Parallel Mode, and USB settings.
You must use the correct mode for a parallel-port printer. For example, if you set the mode as SPP for a bi-directional printer that requires the printer to be able to communicate with the computer, it will not function because the SPP mode is not bi-directional. Most new printers require EPP or ECP mode to be set, but an older printer might require the SPP mode.
How To Install printers [Windows XP] -
Installing a printer or scanner in Windows Vista and Windows 7:
To find out how to install a printer in Windows Vista and Windows 7, enter install a printer or install a scanner in the Start => Help and Support search box.
Image scanners come in several types - drum, flatbed, film, and hand scanners. All multifunction printers (MFPs) contain a flatbed scanner.
Installing a scanner is much like installing a printer. The manual that comes with the device should provide you with the necessary information. The maximum optical resolution that a scanner supports is the most important specification. The artificial computer-generated interpolated resolution is not of much importance.
A scanner's scanning optical resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). A scanner with an optical resolution of 1,200x2,400dpi can capture 2,880,000 (1,200x2,400) pixels of information from a square inch of a document being scanned. Most magazines are only printed at 300dpi, so scanning their pages at higher resolutions than that won't increase the detail that is captured any higher than that. However, if you are scanning film, you should use a scanner with a minimum optical resolution of 2,400dpi.
See this page for the technical information on how a scanner works:
Read Working with the Scanner and Camera Installation Wizard for information on installing a scanner in all of the versions of Windows Vista.
You shouldn't have any problems installing a scanner by following the instructions that come with it if you haven't installed a USB printer or scanner before, but if you need instructions, the search term install a scanner followed by the version of Windows your computer uses will find relevant how-to articles.
February 2, 2013. - Note that you can now buy a mouse that runs scanner software. The actual scanner is not required, just the mouse and the software. An example is the relatively inexpensive LG LSM-100 and LSM-150 Smart Scan scanner mouse. You just have to run the optical mouse over what you want scanned - a map, document, etc. - and you see on your screen what it has scanned. You just have to keep running the mouse over the blank areas until they are filled in. This means that you can scan large maps and documents very easily. The software that comes with the above-mentioned scanner-mouse can crop the image to your liking and do many other things.
If you can't obtain the device drivers for a particular make/model for Windows Vista or Windows 7 & 8, try using the following program that has a free trial period:
Hamrick Software VueScan 8.6 review - "Hamrick Software's VueScan Professional is our favourite cross-platform scanner interface, supporting over 1500 USB, SCSI and FireWire scanners, from budget flatbeds to professional 35mm negative scanners and sheet-feeders. Versions are available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The Windows version has a generic driver that allows you to use almost all the supported devices. This makes VueScan perfect if your scanner is no longer supported with driver releases for your current operating system, although some scanners will still require their original drivers." - http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/software/1279051/...
The scanner software that is provided with a particular make/model of scanner might not be satisfactory to some users. The following forum thread provides some useful advice on third-party scanner software and a workaround that allows you to use your existing wordprocessor and graphics software instead of scanner software.
Expert reviews - Scanners - http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/scanners
To find other scanner reviews, you can enter the search term scanner reviews or the make and model of the scanner you want to buy in a web search engine.
Printing requires making the printer print documents and images as they appear on the screen, or in draft form, so you need to have control of the quality of the printing (Draft, Normal, Best). Therefore, Windows gives the user access to a configurable driver.
For most printing requirements, such as word-processing, printing web pages, etc., the manufacturer's device driver is all that you need. In Windows XP, you access the printer driver via Printers and Faxes in the Control Panel. In Windows Vista look under Hardware and Sound => Printers.
To access the settings right-click on the entry for the printer and then click on Properties in the menu that presents itself.
You can set the type of page to be printed to (A4, A3, etc.), the orientation of the page (portrait, landscape), the quality of the printing, and even colour management. There is also usually an option that, if enabled, makes the printer print a test page.
If your printer supports them, you can also install third-party drivers, such as PostScript, that provides even greater control on the output. Most laser printers support PostScript. If you install another driver for the printer, another entry for that printer will appear under Printers and Faxes in the Control Panel. You have to use the correct instance of the printer in order to make use of a particular driver.
Visit the USB pages of this site for more information on USB.
There are plenty of tutorials on the web on how to install a printer so that it can be shared by the client computers on a Windows network. It is merely a matter of enabling settings on the computer that is connected to the printer that you want to share on the network. The settings depend on the version of Windows (or some other operating system such as Linux) being used. A network can have client computers using any operating system that has the networking protocols (usually TCP/IP) that link them on the network.
The following links provide information on File and Printer Sharing in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Set Up a Wireless Network in a Small Office [Windows XP] -
File and Print Sharing in Windows Vista -
File and printer sharing: frequently asked questions [Windows 7] -
Answers to some common questions about file and printer sharing in Windows 7. -
Note that many printers now have a wireless capability that allows them to connect to a network just like a network-enabled laptop or desktop PC.
Duplex printing is the ability of the printer to print on both sides of the paper, as is required when printing a book.
Automatic duplexing requires printer hardware that takes the pages as they come out of the printer and then feeds them back into it the other way up. This makes duplex printing very easy. Inkjet printers have to pause to allow the ink to dry before re-feeding the paper.
Manual duplexing requires a manual re-feeding of the pages.
What is Duplex Printing? -
Reverse-order printing means that the printer is set to print the last page first and the first page last so that the whole book or articles does not have to be reordered, because the first page will be at the top of the pile instead of at the bottom.
Multiple-up printing saves paper by reducing the pages so that many pages can be printed to a single sheet of paper.