What to do if Windows 10/8.1 can’t find printer on network

Marian Cularea By: Marian Cularea
4 minute read

Home » What to do if Windows 10/8.1 can’t find printer on network

I know a lot of PC users who updated they’re operating systems recently to Windows 10, Windows 8 , but as always we managed to find a few glitches — one of which is the issue with printers. It seems that after the update to Windows 10, 8, some users are having trouble finding their personal printers.

Whether you are using a printer through USB connection or from a wireless connection on Windows 10, 8 you might experience some difficulty detecting the printer. This problem might occur for several reasons one of which is the compatibility problem between the printer driver and the operating system. Here are a few quick methods what you can do to fix your Windows 10, 8 printer issues.

Find your Windows 10, 8 printers

  1. Check your printer connection
  2. Check your printer driver
  3. Run the printer driver in compatibility mode
  4. Update your computer
  5. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

1. Check your printer connection

The first step we need to take, and I know most of you probably checked this, but just to be sure is to check all the wires on the printer and on the computer.

  1. Make sure the USB is plugged into the printer.
  2. Make sure the other end of the USB cable is plugged into the PC running Windows 8, 10
  3. Make sure you have your printer powered up by checking the power cord from your printer to the supply outlets.
  4. Power up the printer by pressing the power button on the printer.
  5. For wireless printers we need to make sure the printer is connected to our router.

— RELATED: Printer switches off repeatedly? 8 ways to fix it

2. Check your printer driver

  1. We need to look at the driver we have installed for the printer. Usually you can find this on the manufacturer’s printer website or on a CD that came with the printer.
  2. If the driver is compatible only with Windows 7, for example, it probably won’t work on your Windows 10, 8 operating system.
  3. If you have the driver for the Windows 7 operating system, then you will need to go on the manufacturer’s website of the printer and get the latest version of the driver from there.
  4. You can check for printer drivers by typing the model number of the device on the manufacturer’s website.
  5. After you install the correct driver for Windows 10, 8, simply reboot your PC and see if you can find the printer.

3. Run the printer driver in compatibility mode

In some cases, although you have the Windows 10, 8 driver of the printer, the operating system might still not recognize the printer.

  1. In this case we need to go in the folder we have copied the driver.
  2. Click (right click) the Setup.exe file you have there.
  3. Click (left click) on “Properties”.
  4. Click (left click) on “Compatibility” tab you have in the upper side of the window that opened.
  5. Now in the “Compatibility” tab go to the section that says “Compatibility mode”.
  6. Check the box next to “Run this program in compatibility mode for:”.
  7. Now in the drop menu under “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” click (left click) the dropdown menu.
  8. Click (left click) on Windows 7.(from here we will try to trick our driver so that it thinks its running on Windows 7 even though we have Windows 10, 8).
  9. Click (left click) on “Apply” you have on the lower side of the Window.
  10. Reboot the PC and see if it recognizes the Printer.

— RELATED: Fix ‘Printer Offline’ error in Windows 10, 8 or 7 (once and for all)

4. Update your computer

  1. Unplug the USB from your Windows 10, 8 PC.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. After the PC starts up, hover the mouse cursor to the lower left corner of the screen and click (left click) on “Start”.
  4. Click (left click) on “Search” in the “Start” menu.
  5. Type in the search box “Windows update”.
  6. Click (left click) on “Check for updates”check for updates
  7. Accept all updates that need your approval to execute.
  8. Restart the Windows 10, 8 PC after the updates are done.
  9. Plug in the USB cable to the Windows 10, 8 PC.
  10. Install again the drivers for the printer you have on the CD (If the driver is for Windows 10, 8), if it isn’t then go on the manufacturers website and install the Windows 10, 8 drivers from there.
  11. Reboot the PC.

5. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

In case the issue persists, you can also use the built-in printer troubleshooter. Both Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 feature a built-in troubleshooter that can you fix general bugs affecting your printer. To launch it, simply go to Settings > Update & Security > select Troubleshoot in the left-hand pane > locate the printer troubleshooter, as well as the Hardware troubleshooter and run both.

fix printer scanner windows 10 april update

You can also launch the printer troubleshooter from the Control Panel. Open the Control Panel > type ‘troubleshoot’ in the search menu located in the upper right-hand corner > click on Troubleshooting and then select ‘View all’ to list all the troubleshooting tools available on your computer. Select the printer troubleshooter and launch it.

printer troubleshooter control panel

These are the five methods that you should try in order to find your printer on Windows 8 or Windows 10. Let us know which method worked for you.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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