Having trouble getting your laptop to recognize your printer connection? Here’s how to fix that error.

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General Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Check physical connections:
    • Ensure the printer is properly connected to the laptop via USB cable or wireless network.
    • Check for any loose or damaged cables.
  2. Restart devices:
    • Turn off both the laptop and printer.
    • Unplug the power cords for a few minutes.
      Turn off both the laptop and printer.
Unplug the power cords for a few minutes.
    • Restart the devices and try connecting again.
  3. Update printer drivers:
    • Open Device Manager by pressing Windows key + X and selecting it from the menu.
    • Locate the printer under Print queues and right-click to update the driver software.
  4. Check printer settings:
    • Ensure the printer is set as the default printer in the laptop settings.
    • Check the printer properties for any errors or issues.
  5. Run printer troubleshooter:
    • Go to Settings on the laptop and select Update & Security.
    • Click on Troubleshoot and select Printer to run the troubleshooter.

Connect and Install Your Printer

Printer connection screen

Connect the printer to your laptop using a USB cable or through a Wi-Fi connection.

If you are using a USB connection, plug one end of the cable into the printer and the other end into a USB port on your laptop.

If you are connecting wirelessly, make sure your printer is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your laptop.

Once the physical connection is established, you may need to install the printer drivers on your laptop.

Go to the Control Panel on your Windows laptop, then select “Devices and Printers.”

Click on “Add a printer” and follow the on-screen instructions to install the necessary drivers for your printer.

After the drivers are installed, your laptop should recognize the printer connection.

If you are still experiencing issues, try power cycling both your laptop and printer, or check for any troubleshooting guides provided by the printer manufacturer.

Updated: April 2024

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Update and Install Printer Drivers

1. Open the Control Panel on your Windows operating system.
2. Click on Device Manager to view a list of connected devices.
3. Locate your printer under the Printers section and right-click on it.
4. Select Update Driver Software from the dropdown menu.
5. Choose to Search automatically for updated driver software to let Windows find and install the latest driver for your printer.
6. If Windows is unable to find the driver automatically, visit the manufacturer’s website and download the appropriate driver for your printer model.
7. Once the driver is downloaded, run the installation file and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
8. Restart your laptop to ensure that the new printer driver is properly installed and recognized.
9. Try reconnecting your printer to your laptop to see if the issue has been resolved.

By updating and installing the correct printer driver, you can resolve the connection error and ensure that your laptop recognizes the printer properly.

Use the Printer Troubleshooter

If your laptop is not recognizing your printer connection, one simple fix you can try is using the Printer Troubleshooter tool on Windows. To access this tool, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Start menu and type “Troubleshoot” in the search bar.

2. Select “Troubleshoot settings” from the search results.

3. Scroll down and click on “Printer” under the “Find and fix other problems” section.

4. Click on “Run the troubleshooter” and follow the on-screen instructions.

This tool will help diagnose and potentially fix any issues with your printer connection. If the troubleshooter is unable to resolve the problem, you may need to check the printer’s connection to your laptop or reinstall the printer drivers.

Remember to check that your printer is connected to your laptop either via USB, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi, depending on the type of printer you have. Additionally, ensure that your printer is powered on and properly set up on your network.

Add a Network or Wireless Printer

Step 1: Make sure your printer is connected to the same network as your laptop. This can be done either through a wireless connection or by connecting the printer to your router using an Ethernet cable.

Step 2: Open the Control Panel on your Windows operating system. You can do this by clicking on the Start menu and searching for “Control Panel.”

Step 3: Click on “Devices and Printers” and then select “Add a printer” from the menu.

Step 4: Your laptop will search for available printers on the network. Once your printer is detected, select it and follow the on-screen instructions to install the necessary drivers.

Step 5: If your printer is not automatically detected, you may need to manually enter the printer’s IP address. You can find this information in the printer’s settings or by printing a network configuration page.

Step 6: Once the printer is successfully added, you can test the connection by printing a test page. If the test page prints successfully, your laptop should now recognize the printer.

Reboot and Update Your System

If your laptop is having trouble recognizing your printer connection, a simple reboot and system update might be all that’s needed to fix the error.

First, restart your laptop to refresh the system and clear out any temporary glitches that might be causing the connection error. This simple step can often resolve minor issues with device recognition.

Next, check for any pending system updates that might be needed to ensure compatibility between your laptop and printer. Updating your operating system can sometimes resolve connectivity problems by installing the latest drivers and software.

After rebooting and updating your system, try reconnecting your printer to see if the error has been fixed. Make sure all cables are securely plugged in and that the printer is turned on. If the issue persists, you may need to troubleshoot further or seek assistance from technical support.


Why is my laptop not recognizing my printer?

Your laptop may not be recognizing your printer due to hardware issues. Check the connection for wired printers and ensure the wireless option is turned on for wireless printers.

Why won’t my computer recognize my printer via USB?

Your computer may not be recognizing your printer via USB because the USB cable may not be correctly inserted into both the computer and printer. Try disconnecting and reconnecting the cable at both ends, as well as trying a different USB port.

How do you add a printer that isn’t showing up?

To add a printer that isn’t showing up, you can manually add it by going to the Devices section in Settings, selecting Printers & Scanners, and then clicking on Add a Printer. From there, choose “The printer that I want isn’t listed” and follow the prompts to add a local or network printer with manual settings.

How do I make my printer discoverable to my laptop?

To make your printer discoverable to your laptop, you can connect it with a wire or follow these steps to add a wireless printer: Select Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners > Add a printer or scanner.

Example Message

If your laptop is not recognizing your printer, try troubleshooting the connection by checking the cables, updating printer drivers, and ensuring both devices are properly connected to the same network. Download this tool to run a scan

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