For anyone using Windows 7, finding the right printer driver download is an automated process requiring little work on the user's part. Following are the instructions to install a printer on different computers on a home network.
Using Windows 7 Automated Printer Setup
One of my favorite features on Windows 7 is the automated printer setup. Our home has all the computers networked together and we share one printer. We were actually dreaded redoing all the printer hookups, but Windows 7 made it easy.
• The first step is actually turning on the printer and connecting it to a computer. Windows 7 will automatically add it to the first computer. Follow the rest of the steps to add it to other computers on the network.
• Next, click "Start" and open the "Devices and Printers." Give it a minute, because it will search through everything to find all your devices and installed printers. It will pull up a few things, but you can ignore them.
• At the top, you will see "Add a device" and "Add a printer". Click "Add a printer" to open up a new window. This too will take a minute or so.
• Click the second option, "Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer" and click the "Next" button. Give it a minute while it searches for printers on the network.
• Select the printer and click Next. The printer will be named something like EPSON Stylus NX4000 on Joe-PC
• Follow the onscreen instructions to install all the drivers for the printer.
Using the Printer CD for Network Printers
Sometimes, Windows does not locate the driver. If this happens, you will need the printer CD. While running the printer CD does not work on older versions of Windows, it will work for network printers on Windows 7.
You should be able to place the CD in the CD drive and it automatically run. If not, then click My Computer and double click the CD drive. At that point, you should see a file title autorun.exe or setup.exe. Click one of these and the CD will automatically install the printer.
Updating the Printer Drivers
On occasion, you will be required to update your printer drivers. The only easy way to do this is with driver update software. Otherwise, you have to search for, download and install the new drivers manually.
Manual installation starts by going to the printer manufacturer's website. Once on the site, look for a page titled "Support" or "Downloads". When you find the page, you will need to look for your exact printer model.
Then you will need to download the latest drivers to your desktop. When the download is complete, go to Device Manager and locate the printer drivers. Right click the printer and select "Update Drivers." Then follow the onscreen instructions to finish the installation.
Driver update software is much easier. It will find the printer driver for you and install it automatically in less than two minutes.