How to Get Your Old Printer to Work with Your New Operating System

What You'll Need
Printer cable

When you buy a new computer, you need to be able to make your old printer work with it. In essence, this means that the operating system on your computer has to be able to see the old printer and communicate with it. It’s not a difficult procedure at all, as long as you know what to do. How to do it will vary from operating system to operating system, but the basics will remain very much the same


Step 1 - Attaching the Printer

Start by attaching the cable from your old printer to the back of your computer. In many instances, this will be done with a USB cable, unless you have a very old printer (and in that case you should perhaps consider getting a new printer).

Depending on the make and model of printer, you might need to install the drivers onto your new computer using a CD that came with the old printer. If this is the case, you should go ahead at do that at this point.

Step 2 - Adding the Printer

With most modern Windows computers, printers tend to be plug and play peripherals. This means that the computer will detect the hardware, both its function and model, and add it automatically. This won’t invariably be the case, however. Sometimes you’ll need to add the printer manually. Thankfully, this is an easy task.

Step 3 - Manually Adding the Printer

Click on “Start” and then on “Control Panel” (these instructions are for Windows XP, but Vista works very similarly). With the control panel open, go to “Printers and Faxes.” Double click on the icon to open it up. In the panel on the left you’ll see “Add a New Printer.” Click on this, and it will open up the Wizard that can guide you through the procedure.

If you’re only using one printer, you will want to make this your default printer. If you replace it, you can add a different printer using the same method and make that your default.

Step 4 - Network Printer

If you have a network in your home and business, you’ll need to be a system administrator in order to put the printer onto the network. With that, you’ll be able to add the printer to the network in the same manner.

Step 5 - Drivers

It’s important to have the right drivers for your old printer. It’s quite possible that new drivers are available. In order to check, you’ll need to go online. Try the site belonging to the printer’s manufacturer first. Type in the model and see what there is. Download the driver. It will be an .exe, or executable file. After downloading it, you’ll need to install it on your computer. Open up the file and click on install. Follow the instructions, and the driver will install itself in the correct folder.

Step 6 - Test

To finish the installation, print a test page to check that the old printer is properly connected to the computer. If you use the Wizard, you’ll be prompted to do this, and it will serve as an alignment page.