Installing A Printer Using Wires
September 20, 2022 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Difficulty: Windows 11, and long distance

I am technical support for my 9x-year-old father, even though my own technical prowess peaked about 15 years ago. He is trying to install a printer on his Windows 11 laptop, using a USB cable. Sounds simple enough, but Windows 11 seems to insist on Wi-Fi printing. We want to use a cable, as we've never been able to get wi-fi printing to work.

Googling brings up support , but I am doing these steps. The printer remains unlocatable.

Can anyone provide me with guidance as to how to handle this from 3000 miles away?

Thanks in advance.
posted by China Grover to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Can you give us more details? What is the printer? What exactly are you having him do? What is he seeing that isn't what you expect?

The only thing on this page that applies to your situation is "plug it in"

I assume after plugging it in, there will be prompts to follow while Windows tries to download a driver.

Do you have remote control of his screen?
posted by fritley at 5:08 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]

Maybe these instructions will help? They seem more comprehensive (maybe ?).
posted by SageTrail at 5:15 PM on September 20

What's the make & model of the printer? That will help a lot.

Also, make sure he's using a standard USB A-B cable, with the A end (the flat rectangle end, or "host" end) going to his computer, and the B end (the rounded-square, or "device" end) going to the printer. I used to get so many people trying to use a USB A-A cable, because so many printers these days have a USB A port on the front, for accepting a flash drive. So they try to use a USB A-A cable (flat rectangle at both ends) between their computer and the flash drive port, and it isn't going to work.

If it's a very old printer with a just a parallel port, and he's using a USB A to parallel adapter cable, that cable itself is usually a device, and may need drivers of its own to work, and those cables are so obsolete at this point, it could be quite a challenge to find a compatible driver for Win 11.
posted by xedrik at 6:27 PM on September 20 [4 favorites]

Is the laptop plugged into a power outlet? Windows can turn off the printing subsystem to save energy.

Does it show anything detected when plugged in?
posted by nickggully at 7:03 PM on September 20

Another goofy thing, a usb-b cable fits snugly in an RJ-45 ethernet port. Confirm that the cable is in the right place. Source: phone troubleshooting this for a family member.
posted by advicepig at 7:14 PM on September 20 [3 favorites]

Is this a new-ish printer? Bluetooth may be an option as a backup to USB, or if it's a more expensive model WiFi Direct (where you connect to the printer like it's it's own wifi router) may be built in.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:05 PM on September 20

We really really need to know the printer model to give better recommendations.
posted by kschang at 2:57 AM on September 21

we can't do this without the printer model

If it's an AirPrint printer, while you have to explain through the hassle of adding it to a wifi network, afterwards Windows should find it on the network and autoconnect/autoconfigure

If it's a super cheap USB only thing, those things are cursed with horrid drivers that vary even within the same model. Generic instructions can't help here.

remote access via TeamViewer helps a lot
posted by scruss at 7:39 AM on September 21

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