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How to Configure a Printer, Scanner, or Fax in Windows 7

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  onwindows's Photo
Posted Nov 18 2009 02:59 PM

Like any other device, printers, scanners, and fax machines have properties that you can configure. This section looks at the properties you’ll work with most.

Changing Ports for Printers, Scanners, and Fax Machines

If a setup program works correctly but configures the device incorrectly, the likely problem is the associated port. Each printer, scanner, and fax machine you use with your computer is configured to work with a specific port. USB printers, fax machines, and scanners use virtual USB ports. Parallel and serial printers use LPT and COM ports. Network-attached printers use standard Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) ports. A problem you may encounter is the case of a printer being configured to print using the FILE port instead of the correct port. Because the FILE port prints documents to a raw printer file, your computer won’t spool to the device.

You can view and set the ports for a printer or fax machine by following these steps:

  1. Click Start→Devices and Printers. In Devices and Printers, right-click the printer you want to configure and then select Printer Properties (not Properties).

  2. In the Properties dialog box, select the Ports tab, as shown in Figure 12.16.

  3. In the Port column, clear the checkbox for the incorrect port and then select the checkbox for the correct port.

  4. Click OK.

Figure 12.16. Selecting the correct printer port

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If you are experiencing problems with a TCP/IP port, ensure that the IP address associated with the port is correct. The IP address typically is listed as part of the name of the port. If the IP address isn’t correct and no port is available for the correct IP address, follow these steps to resolve the problem:

  1. On the Ports tab, click Add Port.

  2. In the Printer Ports dialog box, click Standard TCP/IP Port and then click New Port.

  3. In the Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard, click Next.

  4. As shown in Figure 12.17, type the IP address of the printer or fax machine and then click Next.

  5. When you click Next, the wizard attempts to contact the device and automatically determine the protocol details as well as the adapter type. If the wizard is unable to detect the print device, make sure that the print device is turned on and is connected to the network. Also ensure that you typed the correct IP address or printer name in the previous page. If you entered the incorrect information, click the Back button and then retype this information.

  6. Before you click Finish, note the protocol and adapter type details. This information must be correct for your computer to work with the printer. Click Finish and then click Close.

  7. If the protocol and adapter type were incorrect, click the port in the Properties dialog box and then click Configure Port. Use the options in the Configure Standard TCP/IP Port Monitor dialog box to specify the correct information and then click OK twice. (See Figure 12.18 for an example.)

Figure 12.17. Entering the IP address

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Figure 12.18. Correcting the protocol and adapter details

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To resolve a problem with a network-attached scanner, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Explorer, access C:\Program Files\Windows Photo Viewer, where C: is your system drive, and then double-click ImagingDevices.exe.

  2. In the Scanners and Cameras window, click the scanner and then click Properties.

  3. On the Device Settings tab, the current hostname or IP address is listed. If this information isn’t correct, enter the correct hostname or IP address of the scanner, and then click OK.

Changing Printer, Scanner, and Fax Machine Drivers

You can manage drivers for printers, scanners, and fax machines just like you can any other drivers. To change the drivers for a printer or fax machine, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start→Devices and Printers. In Devices and Printers, right-click the printer you want to configure and then select Printer Properties (not Properties).

  2. On the Advanced tab, click New Driver.

  3. Use the Add Printer Driver Wizard to select and install the new driver.

To change the drivers for a scanner, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Explorer, access C:\Program Files\Windows Photo Viewer, where C: is your system drive, and then double-click ImagingDevices.exe.

  2. In the Scanners and Cameras window, click the scanner and then click Properties.

  3. On the Device Settings tab, click New Driver.

Setting Printer Scheduling, Prioritization, and Other Options

The Advanced tab of the Printer properties dialog box provides most of the options you’ll want to configure. You can use these options to configure your printer by completing the following steps:

Figure 12.19. Configuring the printer as necessary

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  1. Click Start→Devices and Printers. In Devices and Printers, right-click the printer you want to configure and then select Printer Properties (not Properties).

  2. In the Properties dialog box, select the Advanced tab, as shown in Figure 12.19.

  3. Use the following options to optimize the printer configuration:

    Always available and Available from

    Printers are either always available or available only during the hours specified. Select “Always available” to make the printer available at all times or select “Available from” to set specific hours of operation. Print jobs sent outside the designated hours are held in the printer’s queue until the scheduled use time.

    Priority

    Print jobs always print in order of priority. Jobs with higher priority print before jobs with lower priority. Use the Priority box to set the default priority.

    Driver

    Shows the current driver being used for the printer. If you click the Driver list, you’ll see a list of all printer drivers being used on your computer.

    Spooling options

    The spooling options control whether and how a document is spooled to a hard disk before being sent to the printer. Spooling a document before printing allows applications to finish printing faster. To enable spooling, select “Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster.” To disable spooling, select “Print directly to the printer.” With spooling, select “Start printing after last page is spooled” if you want to ensure that the entire document makes it into the print queue before printing. Otherwise, select “Start printing immediately” if you want printing to begin immediately when the print device isn’t already in use.

    Hold mismatched documents

    A mismatch can occur if a document tries to use a form or type of paper not currently available in a printer tray. Typically, printers will stop all printing and wait for the mismatch to be resolved. If you want the printer to hold mismatched documents rather than try to prevent them, select this option.

    Print spooled documents first

    Select this option to allow the printer to print jobs that have completed spooling before jobs in the process of spooling, regardless of whether the spooling jobs have higher priority. This helps to maximize printer efficiency by ensuring that documents that have started printing can finish printing without interruption.

    Keep printed documents

    Select this option to keep a copy of documents in the printer queue on the print server. If you’re printing files that can’t easily be recreated, you might want to use this option so that you can easily reprint a document without having to recreate it.

    Enable advanced printing features

    Select this option to allow the use of advanced printing options, if available, such as “Page order” and “Pages per sheet.” If you encounter compatibility problems when using advanced options, you can disable the advanced printing features by clearing this checkbox.

    Printing Defaults

    Clicking this button displays the Printing Defaults dialog box, which you can use to specify defaults for paper sources, document sizes, color matching, print resolution, and more.

    Print Processor

    Clicking this button displays the Print Processor dialog box, which you can use to set the print processor and default data type for a printer. The print processor is the software component that tells your computer how to render the raw printer data. About the only time you may need to configure print processor options is when you are working with an older Unix printer.

    Separator Page

    At the office, separator pages may be a requirement. To select a separator page to print before each document, click the Separator Page button. In the Separator Page dialog box, click Browse, scroll down, and then click Sysprint.sep if you have a PostScript printer or Pcl.sep if you have a PCL printer. Click Open and then click OK.

Windows 7: The Definitive Guide

Learn more about this topic from Windows 7: The Definitive Guide.

This book provides everything you need to manage and maintain Windows 7. You'll learn all of the features and enhancements in complete detail, along with specifics for configuring the operating system to put you in full control. Bestselling author and Windows expert William Stanek doesn't just show you the steps you need to follow, he also tells you how features work, why they work, and how you can customize them to meet your needs.

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