Connect to Network Printer in Windows XP

If you are in a corporate environment, you probably can only print to networked printers, unless you are one of the lucky few to have a personal desktop printer. For the rest of us, you have to manually connect to the network printer in one of two ways.

If you are in a domain, then you’re lucky because all you have to do is search and a list of all the printers on the network will show up! If you need to connect to a network printer via IP address, it’s a bit different. I will show you how to do both!

Connect to a network printer on a Windows domain

Whichever method you are using, you will always have to click on Printers and Faxes from the Start Menu or from the Control Panel.

printers and faxes

Now click on Add Printer in the left hand menu under Printer Tasks.

add a printer

On the Welcome screen click Next. Choose A network printer, or printer attached to another computer and click Next.

add network printer

Now if you are on a domain, you want to choose Find a printer in the directory and click Next. This will search for all printers in Active Directory.

find printer in directory

Click the Find button and you should get a list of all the networked printers available in Active Directory.

find printers

Just double-click on the printer and it will install automatically.

Connect to network printer via IP address

If you are not part of a Active Directory domain, then you will have to connect to the network printer via it’s IP address. In order to do this, you will first need to know the IP address of the printer. You can do that by printing the configuration page for the printer. It will list out all of the settings, including the network configuration.

configuration page

For connecting this way, instead of selecting A network printer, you will choose Local printer attached to this computer and make sure to uncheck the Automatically detect and install my Plug and Play printer.

add networked printer

Click Next, choose Create a new port and select Standard TCP/IP Port.

standard tcp ip port

On the Welcome screen, click Next and then type in the IP address of the printer in the Printer Name or IP address box.

add tcp ip port

If the network card for the printer cannot be identified, you might get a dialog about the device type. Just leave the default “Generic Network Card” option and click Next.

Now you will have to choose the driver for the printer you want to install. If it is not in the default list provided by Windows XP, you will have to download it and then click Have Disk and point to the location of the printer driver. Click Next when you are done.

add printer driver

Give your printer a name and choose whether you want to use it as the default printer or not. Click Next and choose whether you want to share the printer with other users on the network. Finally, click Next and you will be given the option to print a test page.

print test page

That’s it! The printer should now show up in the list of printers when you to go Printers and Faxes dialog. If you are having any problems connecting to network printer, post a comment and I will try to help! Enjoy!

Comments [50]

  1. I have followed the above steps and am able to see the printer on both of my computers. However, when I send a document to print, I receive an error stating the document could not print. The printer is connected to the network and I am able to access it through its IP Address via the internet. Also, I am able to print a test page from that site. I just can't print from the computers! I've tried sharing, deleting and re-installing the drivers, etc… Any help will be much appreciated!

  2. Thanks !!! I couldn't connect my NETWORK printer … obviously I should have looked in the options for "LOCAL printer connected to this computer" … even though it isn't … but that is probably too much Windows logic for a Linux guy :-)

    Again, many thanks !

  3. I checked that the following protocols were installed and checked:

    Client for Microsoft Networks

    File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks

    Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

    All were checked.


    fILE AND PRINT SHARING IS CHECKED IN firewAall exception.

    FirewaLL is even turned off. I simply cannot get the network folder to show other computers or printers on the network. All 3 computers can see each other and print to the one printer, however this latest computer cannot. In fact the printers and faxes does not even show up in the start menu.

  4. I have been trying this procedure to pre-load networked printers to a XP Pro, Domain computer to use as the basis for an imaged computer deployment. I can add the printers, but when the user logs in, there is an extra "Connect" option in the context menu for the printer (even though the status indicates ready). When this "Connect" line is present, the selected printer cannot be set as default. Is there a way to "force" local printers to connect?

  5. Aaaaah I love you. Now I can print off the network!

  6. I just connected my printer to our home network today and I am honestly wondering why I didn't do this a long time ago. Thank you so very much!

  7. I have a problem that has been keeping me awake. At work, we have a server based network with an intranet. I was given a printer, a computer, a laptop, and a printer that only has the option to be a network printer. (I do not want to hook it up via parallel cable.) Here is the issue.

    1. I hooked the router up to the server network.
    2. I hooked the network printer, the work computer, and my own laptop to the router.
    3. I connected to the printer with my personal laptop by
    a. Connecting to a network printer
    b. Typing in http://Ip address
    I was prompted to select a driver, which I did, and sent a test
    page that printed perfectly.
    4. I attempted to do the same thing with my work computer, but when I type in the IP address, it searches for the printer and states that it cannot find it.

    I used a program that showed me a graphical representation of my network from that computer, and it showed me that the printer was on the network.

    Some additional information:
    The internet works fine on the work computer and the laptop.
    I have complete control of the router to which the printer is connected.
    I have administrative control of the work computer.

    Is there a way that the IT guys could have blocked the ability to connect to any network printer? Could they have preconfigured the computer to not connect to certain IP addresses?

    If there are any checks that I can do, please let me know. Fixing this problem will help me greatly.

    Will this local printer selection that you have detailed on this page work around that?

  8. Thanks a lot.

    I was looking around the WEB and all of the instructions were going through a network printer. I could not found anyone else to explain to me that I have to create a TCP/IP connection on my computer.

    Thanks a lot.

  9. How about this: from my server (or remote server), I need to print to a printer not on the network. I have the IP address, that's about it. How do we do this?

  10. How to do I connect my HP2020 to my laptop? It is not a network computer.

  11. Your guide is great! But I still don't get the connection! At the very end of the procedure, I get the following error-message:

    "Unable to install printer. The print processor does not exist."

    I'd be very glad if you could help me with this one as well.


  12. I replaced my modem with another one, and since then, I cannot print from my other computers on the network. I have connected the internet on all the machines, but it just won't print from the other computers. It printed fine with the other modem. Why would it not print now? Can I delete all the printers on those machines and try to add a printer again for all four of them?

    Please help.

  13. Nazzy,

    I will be making some assumptions here since I don't know the detail of how your network is configured. I'm assuming the modem you replaced is a dsl modem and that it has some number of Ethernet ports on it and that your printer has an Ethernet interface as well and you have a cable connecting the dsl modem to the network interface on the printer. Hopefully, that is more or less correct. If you are using a wireless connection to print, that's a whole nother thing! I am also assuming you are not using a domain. Most people don't so you will need to connect using the IP address method listed in the article above. Find the section in the article above that says "Connect to network printer via IP address." Follow those directions below that exactly. Don't skip any steps. As long as you have all the wiring/cabling connected properly, this should work for you. You'll need to do this on each PC you have in order to print. Get one working, print a test page and as long as it works, then you can move on to the next computer. You'll be a pro by the time you get 4 of them done. Good luck!

  14. JPR,

    I think you may have a print driver problem. I haven't used XP in quite some time but here's what I think you should do. Sorry if some of the steps are not exact or out of order…. Turn on the printer and make sure you have it connected. Double click on printers in control panel, add a new printer. I don't recall if there is hardware wizard or if the system starts looking for your printer but anyway, it should locate your printer if you have it powered up. After finding the printer, you will have a choice of using a new printer driver or re-use the existing printer driver (or something close to that). Anyway, pick the "install a new print driver". DO NOT use the existing print driver button/check-box, etc. As long as XP has the printer driver installed, it should install just fine. If it can't find the print driver, XP will tell you that. If that happens, then I would go to the manufactures website and download the latest/greatest printer drive for XP or whatever your OS is and then the installer should be able to find it. Not sure what happens exactly but if the print driver gets corrupted or a file goes missing, using the new driver will reinstall everything and it should work for you.

  15. Linnea,

    If your laptop and printer both have a usb connection on them, just purchase a USB cable the length you want and connect one end to the laptop and the other to the printer. Turn on your laptop. After it is completed booted up, then turn on your printer. Windows should see the printer and if it has the drivers for it, it will automatically install the printer for you. If Windows can not find a driver for the printer, it will tell you that. If that happens, then I would go to and download the latest print drivers for your printer. After doing that, then your printer should be recognized by your laptop. If your laptop or printer does not have a usb cable, then check to see if they have a parallel printer port on the laptop and the printer. If you do, then you can use a parallel printer cable. I'd try the usb method first.

  16. RWA,

    You say your printer is not connected to the network but it has an IP address? The printer itself has an IP address? Or is it that you have the IP address of the printer you want to print to?

    Most people would say that a network connected printer would have an IP address. Those same people would probably also say that if a printer is not connected to a network, then it is usually considered to be a local printer which would not have an IP address (unless it had a built in network interface) and no IP address would be needed.

    If you can clarify your situation a bit, I think I can help you out.

  17. Extremely helpful. now I do not have to go and switch on other laptops to print the documents.

  18. You should include a thumbs up button for this. Very helpful. Thank you.

  19. Hey,

    Thanks for the guide, I forget it for fast but you helped me refresh, and it works just fine after connecting to the netork printer thorugh the local Printer that is connected to this computer option..

    It works..



    no honestly,


  21. You sir, are a scholar and a legend.

    Simple, concise and accurate.

  22. When I tried to type the IP address of the printer, an error message appears saying "A port with that name already exists. Choose another port name" and it does not allow me to move any further in adding my printer.

    Please help!

  23. Hi.

    Really, the content is very helpful. The presentation is clear with each and every step.

    Krishna Mohan Sharma

  24. I have connected my wireless laptop to be able to print to the printer which is connected to my main home PC (via my wireless router). But whenever I turn off my main PC, I am unable to print wirelessly from my laptop?

    Is there something I need to do?

  25. Just solved my problem in 30 seconds. Thanks. Simple and informative. Easy steps.

    I just connected a network-enabled printer using TCP/IP.


  26. Thanks, this worked! I knew that IP address on the printer had to be good for something.

  27. Thank You so much! I admire people like you that go out of their way to help us non-techies!!!!

  28. Thank You very much.

    It saved my day.

  29. I have just replaced my office printer on the network, plugged into the same network lead. Got the TCP/IP address from the new printer and entered it as suggested above. Got the latest printer drivers downloaded from the internet and installed them, selecting the right one after the 'Have Disk' button. Checked the replace printer driver button, print test page … it installed the drivers and sent the data but 'Error' message came up on the printer dialogue box. I can see the printer on the list. What next?

  30. Our XP is FAT32 format, did everything as you said, but windows 7 still can not use the network printer.

  31. Hi Guys,

    Very Urgent i hope you can help me i am trying to set up a Lexmark T632 to a network using a network connection.


    The printer is connected to a Hub and the hub connected to my computer.

    i run add new printer and select new port enter the port number or IP which is get from the printer when i run a print test come back with error when i run a ping time out error.

    can some one help me where i am doing wrong.


  32. Windows XP can be such a hassle sometimes!! Thanks for the clean, nicely setup walk-through! :)

  33. Install the driver through CD then you can able to print. then select the default printer as this printer.

  34. Thanks! Been messing around with this issue for months (company firewall causing the problem). One note to others, you may not be able to print this way if you are on your company VPN.

  35. thank you so much – was really struggling with new printer and old computer which will not look at network and is not wifi capable. Now all sorted.

  36. Thanks for the info! Really helped me out.

  37. hey, i stumbled across this site trying to find my printers ip address off my ipod. i finally figured it out. if you have a newer version, mine is a windows 7. 1. you go to devices and printers 2.right click on your printer 3.left click on printer properties 4.a box will come up, go to the ports tab 5.your printer should be already highlighted and checked off the configure port button 7. another box will pop up, it will have the ip adress highlighted, you will know it is it. :)

  38. thanks so much, very well explained, perfect!

  39. Need your help urgently: I have installed the printer successfully. The printer is not connected to the server or other computer we are accessing it via its IP address.

    I have installed for the other ten users in this department and they are printing harmoniously. However there is only one user I am facing problems with even after I Add Printer like how you explained, for the 10 users to get theirs working. The problem is our printer which is a KONICA MINOLTA C360 Series BIZHUB, has features that include authentication of users which every computer user must authenticate to in order to print from it.

    The authentication part is inactive for this particular user and I cannot enter user details like name, password and department they’re under etc…I blame some windows settings causing this hold up. I am not sure where to start troubleshooting the settings so any hints will be heplful. Thank You

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