When you purchase a printer, the installation and configuration information is usually supplied by the manufacturer. An installation CD that includes the drivers, manuals, and diagnostic software is included with the printer. If there is no CD, you can download the tools from the manufacturer’s website.

Although all types of printers are somewhat different to connect and configure, there are procedures that should be applied to all printers. Before you install a printer, remove all packing material. Remove anything that prevents moving parts from shifting during shipping. Keep the original packing material in case you need to return the printer to the manufacturer for warranty service.

NOTE: Before connecting the printer to the PC, read the installation instructions. In some cases, the printer driver needs to be installed first before the printer is connected to the PC.

You can connect and use a printer as a local or network printer. Some printers can be connected as both local and network. A local printer is connected directly to a computer port, such as a USB, parallel, or serial port. The local computer manages and sends the print jobs to the printer. Local printers can be shared over the network with other users. A network printer is connected to a network using a wireless or Ethernet connection. The network printer allows multiple users to send documents to the printer over the network.

If the printer has a USB, FireWire, or parallel port, connect the corresponding cable to the printer port. Connect the other end of the data cable to the corresponding port on the back of the computer. If you are installing a network printer, connect the network cable to the network port.

After the data cable has been properly connected, attach the power cable to the printer. Connect the other end of the power cable to an available electrical outlet. When you turn on the power to the device, the computer tries to determine the correct device driver to install.

CAUTION: Never plug a printer into a UPS. The power surge that occurs when the printer is turned on damages the UPS unit.

Printers can be shared over a network. Connecting a printer to a network requires cabling that is compatible with both the existing network and the network port installed in the printer. Most network printers use an RJ-45 interface to connect to a network.

NOTE: Always check the packaging for cables when you buy a printer. Many manufacturers keep production costs down by not including a cable with the printer. If you have to buy a cable, be sure that you buy the correct type.