While wireless printers make printing jobs trouble-free, sometimes you may have a hard time connecting them. Your computer may not discover the printer or throw an error while trying to add it.
When your computer cannot find a wireless printer, it is most likely due to a dynamic IP address assigned to your printer. However, unstable network connection and improperly set sharing permissions are equally responsible for the error.
In this article, you will learn different approaches to fix when your computer not finding a wireless printer.
Table of Contents
How to Fix Computer Cannot Find Wireless Printer?
If your computer can not find the wireless printer, you first need to reboot your PC as well as the printer. Rebooting the devices often solves the problem without further hassles.
Likewise, you need to do some preliminary checks before connecting it. At the very first, you must ensure that your printer is in Scan mode else your computer won’t find it. Depending on the manufacturer, the steps to turn on the scan mode may differ.
If your printer has a touch panel, you can easily navigate through Wi-Fi settings to turn it on. Else, you need to keep pressing the Wireless button or a combination of Wireless and Information buttons to turn on the mode. Then you can follow the steps to add a wireless printer to your Windows PC.
Fix the Network Issues
Since the problem mainly deals with a wireless connection, you should first fix the network issues. It will help if you shorten the distance between your printer and router. Also, your computer and printer must be on the same Wi-Fi so the PC can discover it.
The best method to connect your printer to the network is either by directly entering the Wireless security key or using the WPS button on your printer. You should also turn on WPS functionality in your router before you can connect your printer using it.
Sometimes the outdated router’s firmware can cause issues, and you can not use the WPS feature, so updating the router firmware is a good idea in such cases.
Install the Correct Driver
The main reason why the printer does not show up on your computer is due to the use of incompatible printer drivers. Whether it be a wired or wireless printer, first, you need to hardwire the printer to your PC and install the drivers. Most printers out there is plug-and-play, automatically installing the correct drivers for your PC once they are plugged in.
But if not, you must install the compatible version of your printer driver yourself before you can start using it. If your printer comes up with a CD or a DVD drive, you can use it to install the relevant drivers. Else you need to search for the model and version of your printer on the manufacturer’s website to get the correct driver.
Run the Troubleshooter
An integrated printer troubleshooting tool in Windows also helps determine if there is any issue with the printer. It will diagnose and suggest fixes that will help solve the problem.
- Hit Windows + I
- Choose the System menu from the left. Then click the Troubleshoot option from the right section.
- Click Other troubleshooters in the next window.
- Locate Printer option and click Run button.
- It will check for errors and suggest relevant fixes. You can take the necessary actions afterward.
Make Your PC Visible on Network
If you are using a shared printer over a network and facing issues connecting it to your PC only, chances are there that you have turned off the Network discovery.
When Network discovery is turned off, neither your device is visible to other devices, nor can you see and add other devices on the network. So, you must first make your PC visible on the network before you can use the wireless printer.
- Hit Windows + R
controlin the text field.
- Then press Enter key to open Control Panel.
- Select Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
- Choose Change advanced sharing settings from the left.
- Check the box next to Turn on network discovery under Private and Guest or Public.
- Click Save changes.
Check Sharing Permissions
You can access the wireless printer by directly connecting it to your Wi-Fi network or sharing via another PC on the network. In the latter case, you should appropriately set the sharing permissions. Else, you won’t be able to connect to the printer.
The PC sharing the printer must have an active Internet connection and not be in sleep mode. The steps to share a printer through a PC are:
- Launch Control Panel on your PC.
- Then navigate to Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
- Under the Printers section, right-click over your printer.
- Choose Printer properties from the context menu.
- In the new window, jump to the Sharing tab.
- Check the Share this printer option.
- Click Apply > OK.
VPN assigns a different IP address to your PC for private browsing. Using a VPN on your PC might create an IP conflict resulting in an issue in finding a wireless printer. So, if you have any VPN profiles activated on your PC, please consider turning them off. You can consult this article on how you can set up and remove VPN profiles from Windows PC.
Tip: Not only VPN but Antivirus and Windows Defender also sometimes interfere while trying to connect to wireless printers. Consider disabling them and connecting to the printer again. But remember, you should activate them again once you finish setting up the printer.
Re-add the Printer
If there are any errors during the printer installation, it can prevent the PC from finding the printer. You can remove the printer profile and add it again. Re-adding the printer can help your PC find if any glitches prevent it from doing so.
- Press Windows + R
controland then hit Enter. It will open Control Panel.
- While on the Control Panel, select Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
- Right-click over your printer under the Printers menu.
- Select Remove device.
- Click Yes in the confirmation popup.
- Once you removed the printer profile, now it’s time to re-add it.
- Hit Windows + I
- Choose Bluetooth & devices menu.
- Then select Printers & scanners.
- Click Add device button beside Add a printer or scanner.
- Choose your wireless printer from the list. If not shown in the list, click Add Manually.
- In the next window, check Add a Bluetooth, wireless or network discoverable printer and click Next.
- Please select your device and add it.
Assign Static IP to Your Printer
This is the most crucial thing that many wireless printer users out there miss. Printers generally retrieve IP addresses using DHCP configuration, meaning the router assigns them a new IP address every time they are connected to the network. To be precise, your printer gets a different IP address every time you restart the router or printer.
When the printer is configured to receive a DHCP IP address, you cannot guarantee that the printer will receive the same IP address set on your PC. Thus created IP conflict can prevent your PC from finding the wireless printer.
The IP address assigned to your printer is recognized as a port on Windows PCs. First, you must set a static IP from your router’s IP configuration page. The steps to assign a static IP can differ depending on which router you own. Once you set the static IP address for your printer from the router’s configuration page, next you need to change the port on your printer settings.
- Open Settings on your PC. You can do this by hitting Windows + I
- On the Settings page, choose Bluetooth & devices from the left pane.
- Then choose Printers and scanners from the right section.
- Under Related settings, click Print server properties.
- In the new Print server properties window, jump to Ports tab.
- Select your printer and click Add Port button.
- In the next popup, choose Standard TCP/IP Port and click New Port.
- Click Next in Add Port Wizard window.
- Type in the IP address and Port name you assigned on the router configuration page and click Next. It will detect the printer on that IP and assign a static IP.
Reset the Printer’s Network Settings
If your printer’s network settings are misconfigured, you may have a hard time connecting it to the wireless network. As a result, your computer can not find the printer. You can easily reset the printer’s network settings from the control panel on your printer. The steps to reset the network settings are pretty similar in most printers. Here, we are taking reference to HP printers for elucidation.
- Navigate to the printer’s control panel.
- Tap the Wireless button on your printer’s touch panel.
- Then tap the gear icon (Settings).
- Scroll down and tap Restore Network Settings.
- Tap Yes.
- Once the network defaults are reset, you need to reconnect your printer to the Wi-Fi.
Tip: You can also reset the entire printer if you are still unable to connect it to your computer. Resetting the printer flushes every customized setting and configuration that might possibly be interfering with the network discovery. You can consult this comprehensive guide on how to reset your printer.
Use USB Connection Mode
You may have certainly figured out the solution till here. But if not, there might be something serious with your printer. Maybe the Wi-Fi module of your printer has malfunctioned or been damaged. You can seek professional help at any time and repair it if needed.
If you are in a hurry, you can also use a LAN cable and connect your printer to the router. It will overcome any Wi-Fi-related bugs. Meanwhile, you can also use a USB cable to connect your computer and printer.