How to Add a Network Printer in Windows 8

Adding a printer in Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. Unfortunately, this process still isn’t quite automatic, and a number of driver issues (especially with older printers) can present themselves to those switching from Windows XP or older versions of the operating system.

For most folks out there, adding a printer is a very straightforward process that isn’t inherent given the strong emphasis being given on the Modern UI Devices feature. I thought I could add a network printer to my Windows 8 Pro machine using the devices feature, but apparently I couldn’t.

So here’s how I accomplished setting up a networked printer on Windows 8.

First, You’ll want to launch the Control Panel. This can be done in a number of different ways. You can access it through the Settings Charm, by searching for it in the Modern UI, and by right-clicking the lower-left corner of the screen in Desktop mode and selecting it from the hidden administrative menu.

Once you’re in the Control Panel, you’ll need to get to the Printer settings. You’ll find this under the Hardware and Sound section of the menu.

Now that you’re in the Devices and Printers menu, you’ll see a visual inventory of your various attached peripherals and printers. You might even see a fax or document printer under Printers. Don’t be fooled; these aren’t actual physical printers but software-based printing options. At this stage, you’ll want to select Add a printer located in the upper-left area of the window just above the Devices section.

Next, you’ll be prompted with a list of available printers on your network. If the printer you’re looking for is listed, you need but to give it a single left-click and select Next. If it isn’t, you may need to indicate that the printer isn’t listed by selecting the option at the bottom of the window and following the directions accordingly.

The next thing you’ll be asked to do is select your driver from a list of printers. If you don’t find your printer’s make and model in this list, you may need to download the appropriate drivers from the manufacturer. Most printers will come with a driver disc you can insert and install. Windows Update is also a popular solution as it will download the latest drivers from Microsoft’s driver library. Often, this will be all you need to do.

You might be prompted to choose between an existing driver and one provided by Windows Update. My advice would be to go with the recommended item (as indicated) in this case.

At this point, you’ll be asked to name your Printer. Call it anything you’d like. It’ll simply be a reference point for the system when selecting a printer for a given task. Once you hit Next you’ll be met with another dialogue which will ask whether or not you want to share your printer with other users in the network. A networked printer shouldn’t be shared by individual systems. This option is best used in cases where the printer is attached to your PC via USB. Since you had access to the printer already, I’d recommend not sharing the printer.

At this point, you should be returned to the Devices and Printers menu where you will see your newly installed printer. If it has a green checkmark next to it, it’s set up as your default printer. If you wish to set it as a default printer and it doesn’t already have the checkmark, just right-click it in the menu and select Set as Default Printer from the menu.

If you have any Windows 8 questions, please leave a comment below and let us know.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Jules

    I’m trying to add a homegroup printer to my rt 8.1 surface. The printer is plugged into my pc (not wireless) and the pc and my laptop are both win7. Both can access the printer fine. When I attempt to add the printer to the surface I can see it in the add printer search but when I try to add it I get the following error “Windows cannot connect to the printer”. the details pane shows error code “Operation failed with error 0xxxxx490.

    • Jules

      Ok, so it looks like my printer is not compatible with rt………….oh well……………

  • ojklj

    cheers. nice and easy. helpful.