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Chapter 7. Printing and Faxing > Installing a Printer

Installing a Printer

A local printer connects directly to your computer through a USB, parallel, serial, or infrared port. Your printer’s manual describes how to attach it to the back of your computer; it’s simple. Newer printers attach through a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port; older ones attach through a parallel or (rarely) serial port. You can use a cableless infrared connection if both your printer and computer (typically a laptop) have infrared lenses. Printers also accept wireless Bluetooth USB adapters. For information about ports, see “Connecting Devices to Your Computer” in Chapter 8.

When you connect a printer to your computer, Windows often recognizes the device and searches its extensive collection of built-in drivers to run printers. A printer driver is software that lets programs send commands to a particular printer. If your printer doesn’t appear on Windows’ built-in list, you can use the driver on the CD or floppy that came with the printer. If you upgraded from an earlier Windows version, XP inherited the existing printer driver and settings, and your printer may work fine. In any case, check the printer manufacturer’s web site for a more recent driver.


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