The steps involved in getting your printer up and running aren't complicated but you should be sure to read the manual before you start because the manufacturer may have specific instructions for your particular model. This is especially true if you are installing an all-in-one device since the steps for connecting the fax machine to your phone line are not covered here.
- Take everything out of the box and be sure you have everything you will need. Besides the printer itself, you will need the ink or toner cartridge, the installation disk, a printer interface cable, and paper. Most manufacturers don't include cables along with the printer, but you can easily find standard parallel printer cables at most computer supply stores.
- Remove all the packaging material that might still be on the printer. There might be restraints within the printer itself--used to keep non-stationary parts from moving around during shipping--that you will need to remove. Your manual should be able to guide you in their removal.
- Make sure your computer is turned off. Attach the printer cable to both the printer and the computer and lock or screw in place.
- Attach the printer power cable to the printer, and then plug it in. Do not yet turn it on.
- If you are installing a laser printer, you will now need to install the toner cartridge. Gently rock the cartridge before installing to loosen any caked toner and spread it evenly through the cartridge. A protective plastic strip keeps the toner in place during shipping. Avoid juggling the cartridge after removing this strip as spilled toner is difficult to clean up. Remove the strip according to the package instructions and install the toner cartridge into the laser printer as directed by the manual.
- If you are installing an inkjet printer, you will probably need to power-up your printer first, allowing the cartridge carrier to move out from its "home" position under one of the sides. A plastic strip on the outside of the cartridge protects the ink nozzle and the copper electronic contacts during shipping. Remove the strip, raise the cover of the printer, and then follow manufacturer instructions for installing the cartridge (or cartridges, in the case of color inkjets printers). Close the cover and turn the printer off.
- If your printer has a removable tray, install it at this point. Then add paper to the tray or built-in hopper. Be careful not to overfill the tray or it will jam. Turn on the printer, your monitor, and your PC.
- When your computer starts up, Windows should detect the new device you have connected and ask if you want to locate the drivers for it. A driver is a program that allows your computer to communicate properly with your printer and was probably included on a disk included with your printer. If Windows does not recognize the printer, and offers to install the proper drivers, you may need to run a specific installation program provided by the manufacturer in order for it to work properly. Installation instructions vary greatly between manufacturers and even between models, so read the installation instructions included with your manual to determine how to proceed.