How to Add a Printer Without the Software

By Ruri Ranbe

If Windows 7 is unable to find the driver for your printer, go to the manufacturer's website and look up your product model.
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The software included with a printer contains a driver that tells the printing device how and when to perform requests sent from the operating system. While Windows 7 will auto-detect and install printers connected to a PC via universal serial bus, that's not the case for wireless or network devices, or older printers using a line print terminal or communications port. If you have lost the software disc for your business printer, however, you don't have to throw up your hands and purchase a new printer; Windows 7 can find and install the driver via the Add a Printer wizard.

Local Printer

Connect the printer to the serial or parallel port on the computer and then turn on the printer. Click Start, then "Control Panel."

Enter "printer" into the search bar and then select "Add a Printer" from the results.

Select "Add a Local Printer" from the menu. Select the appropriate printer port -- LPT or COM -- from the drop-down menu. Click "Next."

Select the device's make and model from the options. Click "Next." Assign a name to the printer or use the default assignment. Click "Next" to install the printer.

Choose whether or not to share the printer and then enter the requested information into the appropriate fields, if applicable. Click "Next," then "Finish."

Remote Printer

Turn on the printer. Confirm that the device is attached to the print server or that the device is discoverable, if applicable. Connect to the network if installing a network printer.

Click Start, then "Devices and Printers." Select "Add a Printer" from the toolbar or right-click the inside of the window and choose "Add a Printer" from the drop-down menu.

Click "Add a Network, Wireless or Bluetooth Printer." Wait for Windows to find available printers within range. Select the desired printer and then click "Next."

Click "Install Driver," if prompted. Name the printer, if preferred, and then click "Next." Click "Finish."

Shared Printer

Click Start, enter "sharing" into the search field and then select "Manage Advanced Sharing Settings."

Expand "Home or Work" and then select "Turn on Network Discovery." Click "Save Changes."

Click Start, type "homegroup" into the search field and then press "Enter."

Click "Install Printer" and then follow the on-screen prompts to install the driver, if applicable, and make the device available to all users on the PC.


If Windows 7 is unable to locate the driver for the device, check the printer for its model name and number and then navigate to the manufacturer's website. Look up the product on the manufacturer's page and then download the appropriate driver -- Windows 7 32-bit or Windows 7 64-bit -- from the site. Open the file when the download completes and follow the on-screen prompts to install the driver.

To find out which version of Windows 7 your computer is running, click Start, right-click "Computer" and then review the System Type field.


Some older printers lack a driver for Windows 7 32-bit or Windows 7 64-bit. These devices must be installed to an older operating system.