How to Hook Up a Barcode Scanner to a Laptop

By Gemma Craig

Any company that sells physical items must maintain an inventory, otherwise it risks running out of certain products or over-investing in others, harming its business over time. Barcodes and barcode scanning is a common way for businesses to track sales and inventory without laborious manual methods, such as counting, and can be implemented by any small business using a barcode scanning device and a laptop computer. Once hooked up properly, the barcode scanner can be used to scan products into an application that logs and sorts its information for later perusal.

Connect a PS/2-to-USB adapter to your barcode scanner if it uses a PS/2 connector instead of a USB cable, then plug the adapter into one of the laptop's USB ports. If the barcode scanner uses a USB cable instead of a PS/2 adapter, simply plug the cable directly into one of the USB ports on the laptop.

Insert the disc that was included with the device into the laptop's optical drive and wait for it to load. Once it loads, follow the installation prompts that appear in order to install the software and driver for the barcode scanner. Remove the disc once the installation process has finished.

Launch the barcode's software by double-clicking on its icon. Scan a product's barcode to ensure that the scanner works correctly and that its information is logged by the software. Some barcode scanners include a sheet of paper that contains two barcodes, one for Windows computers and one for Macs. Scan the Windows barcode in order to register the correct emulation for your laptop.

Items you will need

  • PS/2-to-USB adapter (if needed)

  • USB cable (if needed)


Reboot the laptop if the barcode scanner is not detected after installing its driver.