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How to Fix the Windows Cannot Connect to Printer Error

Network Printer Troubleshooting

Common Printer Issues

While sending documents or print jobs to a network printer, people at times come across an error message that says Windows cannot connect to the printer. Sometimes that is accompanied by an Access is Denied error message, while other times, only the error is shown. There are many reasons as to why it pops up on Windows, yet it mostly depends on the configuration.

To fix the error, first check whether the network printer is set up with a LAN port or whether the printer is connected to another system and is shared on the network. According to that, you have to troubleshoot the issue differently. For that, you can use the following network printer troubleshooting steps as a guide.

Troubleshooting Steps for Shared Network Printer

Try these steps in case the printer is physically connected to a system and it is shared on that computer and you are attempting to add the device to a different PC on the network.

  • Click on the Start button, search for Add Printer in the search box of Start Menu, and click on the link that shows up in the search results.
  • When the Add Printer wizard opens, you have to select which printer to configure. For that, select the checkbox A network printer or a printer attached to another computer.
  • Then, click on Next button and select the Connect to this printer Under Name, you have to type the path to your shared printer using the special characters \\ followed by the name of the PC, to which the device is shared, followed by \ and the printer’s name.

Add Printer Wizard

You should be able to connect to the shared printer. However, in case you are receiving the above-mentioned error, then you can attempt to add your printer as a local device. For that, follow the below steps for troubleshooting printer issues. Make it a point to use these steps only if the printer is attached to a different system and is shared on the network.

  • You have to choose Local printer attached to this computer checkbox from the Add Printer wizard and deselect the checkbox under it.
  • On the next window, click Create a new port checkbox and then select Local Port from the drop-down list next to the checkbox. Click on Next button and you will be prompted to key in a Port Name. In the Port Name graphical box, you have to key in the path to the printer.

Printer Port

Network Printer Troubleshooting

In case you have a printer attached to wireless or LAN network, follow the below steps to fix the Windows cannot connect to the printer error.

  • Select the checkbox Local printer attached to this computer, and then choose the checkbox to create a fresh port as mentioned in the earlier step. Instead of selecting a Local Port from the drop-down, you have to select Standard TCP or IP Port.

New Printer Port

  • Then key in the printer’s IP address. In case you do not remember the IP address, take a printout of the printer’s configuration sheet. You should be able to do that directly from the printer’s menus – if you have doubts, check the user manual supplied by the printer manufacturer.

Enable File and Printer Sharing on Windows Firewall

You cannot connect to the printer if Windows Firewall prevents the connection. Ensure an exception is given for printer and file sharing through Windows Firewall on the computer and the PC to which the device is attached. Follow the steps mentioned below to enable the option.

  • Press the Windows button, and open Control Panel from the Start Menu.
  • From the Control Panel, choose Windows Firewall and click on the Exceptions
  • Ensure the File and Printer Sharing checkbox has a tick mark. If not, select the checkbox. That will make sure the application will not block the connection.

Windows Firewall

Update the Printer Drivers

You will come across the printer error if you are adding the device to a Windows 7 PC and the system that hosts the printer has Windows Vista or XP. In which case, you should download the drivers for Windows 7 from the manufacturer website and install it on the host computer. When you attempt to establish a connection from Windows 7 computer to the printer, the driver for the operating system should be accessible from the host PC for installation.

Disable the Antivirus Software that Block Connections

If you have an antivirus installed on the computer and it is blocking the connection, disable the software and then try to connect to the shared printer. If the underlying cause behind the connection issue is the antivirus’ blocking feature, disabling the software should resolve it.

In case you come still across the Windows cannot connect to the printer error while printing on a network environment, get in touch with our tech support professionals via the toll-free number listed above for advanced network printer troubleshooting.

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