Printer Configuration in Windows 7

Before you start

Objectives: Learn how to install printer and how to manage it using Devices and Printers window in Windows 7.

Prerequisites: you have to know printer management concepts in general.

Key terms: printer installation, printer management, Windows 7, properties

 Installing Printer

In todays world, almost all printers are plug-and-play. In majority of cases we will simply plug in our printer, and Windows will install drivers for it automatically. If it doesn’t have drivers in its drivers store, it will try to find them in Windows update. If this fails, we can always install drivers which came with the printer or simply download drivers from the manufacturers site and install them.

Despite that, we should be aware of how to add printer in Windows if we don’t have self installing drivers. For example, we have connected Samsung ML-1640 printer to our computer. Windows tried to install it automatically but the installation failed because Windows couldn’t find the drivers.

 1 Error Message

Error Message

Next, we downloaded drivers from the official website and installed them. In our case this solved the problem, since we downloaded the EXE file which took care of installing drivers for us automatically. But, in some cases with other printers we will only get ZIP file with driver files in it. In this case we have to add our printer manually. To manage printers in Windows 7 we can go to Start > Devices and Printers. Here we will see a button for adding a printer.

 1 Device Manager

Device Manager

When we click on “Add a printer”, we will be asked what type of printer do we want to install. We can choose a local printer or a network printer.

 2 Type of Printer

Type of Printer

If we select a local printer, we will be asked to choose a port. We can select an existing port or we can create a new port. For the purpose of this demo we will use a USB001 port.

 3 Port Selection

Port Selection

The next thing is to define the manufacturer and the model of our printer for the driver installation. Windows already has many drivers available, which we can choose from the list. But, if our printer is not listed, we can try selecting Windows Update option. If Windows Update doesn’t work, we have to use the Have Disk option which will enable us to select driver file manually. So, let’s say that we have extracted our ZIP file which contains drivers to C:\Temp, when we click Have Disk, we would click Browse, and navigate to the driver files located in C:\Temp location.

 4 Setup From Disk

Install From Disk

You’ll notice that Windows will only let you select Setup Information file (*.inf file). When you select the setup file, you will be able to proceed and install the printer.

Managing Printer

Once the printer is installed, we can go to its properties. Notice that you can select two properties, one for the device (Properties), and one for the printer itself (Printer properties). To see the properties of the printer itself, we have to select the Printer properties. On the General tab we can see the name of the printer, available paper. We can also print a test page here and change preferences.

On the Sharing tab we can choose to share our printer.  Here we can also choose to add additional drivers for different versions of Windows.

 6 Sharing Tab

Sharing Tab

Notice that we have an option to render print jobs on client computer, which is selected by default. This way, clients will do all the processing and just send the print job to the print spooler.

On the Ports tab we can see on which port our printer is located. Here we can select multiple ports, and document will print to the first free checked port. Here we can add, delete and configure existing ports.

On the Advanced tab we can define the availability of the printer, select the driver for the printer, choose how to spool documents, and other options.

On the Security tab we can modify permissions for our users. As you can see, by default everyone can print.

 7 Permission


The CREATOR OWNER can manage its documents. This is the user who created the print job, so it can manage its own print jobs. Administrators will have all permissions. Of courser, here we can add additional groups and users and configure permissions for them.

Print Server

Every computer which has printer installed can act as a print server. Let’s check this out by clicking “Print server properties” button in Devices and Printers window. Here we will see tabs named Forms, Ports, Drivers, Security and Advanced. On Forms tab we can define new forms with new measurements. On Ports tab we can work with ports. On Drivers tab we can manage printer drivers on the computer. On the Security tab we can define default permissions which will be defined for everybody and every printer.