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Printer setup problems? There must be a better way.

Dear sellers, I noticed lately that you have become accustomed to needing a smartphone or tablet to install many devices, including printers. Once upon a time, devices came with instruction manuals. Now they come with instructions for downloading an app. Only then do you get information about the device. And then those devices require them to be set up on my wireless network with a smartphone, a necessary part of the process.

Initially, it was very easy to set up devices this way. But as phones have added more restrictions and selections to improve privacy, connecting devices has become more complicated.

Recently I tried to help someone install a printer (which of course needed a phone to access it). First we had to make sure Bluetooth was turned on. Next, we had to make sure that the vendor app had rights to location services. Even then he failed to connect to the printer and I couldn’t help him with the setup. I’ll have to visit him in person to figure out what’s going on (and I’ll be bringing an old Android tablet that I’ve often used to connect tech).

For this particular printer, we couldn’t find a way to use the phone app to connect the device to Wi-Fi. Normally there is a way to manually join hardware to your network. But in this case, if I can’t connect the printer wirelessly, I may need to use a network cable as a workaround. Recently on the Askwoody forum, PK Cano helped a user set up a similar printer and an HP 8025e.

“I uninstalled everything they installed from both Control PanelPrograms and Features + Devices and Printers and SettingsApplications (including the smart app),” Cano said in a post. “Then I disallowed MS to control printing in the settings. I set a static IP address and other IP information in the printer menu. In this case 192.168.1.100. Used the Router’s IP address as gateway and DNS server Do not connect via USB until you have installed the HP software – it will ask you to connect during the process.

“From the HP.com website, I downloaded the full software for Win8.1 (that’s right, NOT Win10, you’ll need to change OS from the drop-down menu) and installed it. This avoids the need to install smart app from MS Store.If you choose wireless connection during installation, it should ask you to connect USB first and will retrieve id and password network Decline all web-based printing options.

printer WSD port Microsoft

Configure printers with an IP address, not a web address, for more reliable printing.

I also recommend setting up printers with IP addresses, not a web address. To review a printer’s configuration, click Start, go to Settings, then Devices and Printers, and choose the printer. Click manage, then click printer properties. Review the port tab in the resulting properties screen. I find printers work more consistently when not configured using Web Services for Devices (WSD), but rather as true TCP/IP printers. WSD is not a connection type; it is simply a way for connected devices to announce their presence on the network. An IP address is still required for WSD to work.

I recommend manually setting up a printer with a static IP address within your home network range. Generally speaking, most home Wi-Fi networks are in the 192.168.1.x range. To determine what your IP range is, go to your computer and launch a command prompt. Type ipconfig /all.

The resulting window will let you know the IP address that your router distributes. You will then need to configure your wireless printer by choosing an IP address between something above 192.168.1.2 and below 192.168.1.254. If you have access to your router, you should be able to access a list of devices on your network. Choose a number not used by other devices. Once you have installed the printer on your Wi-Fi network, you should be able to access all of your computers, find this printer, and add the device via the IP address.

If your printer shows a WSD address on your computer, go to the printer, print the printer configuration, and find the IP address used. Then configure the printer on your computer with an IP address. To do this, when you are in the properties of the printer, click on the ports, then on add a port and select the standard TCP-IP port. Add the printer’s IP address and assign this TCP/IP port to the printer. This will make your printer work more reliably.

Regarding the previous issue with smartphone requirements, my recommendation is to stick with printer manufacturers such as Lexmark or Brother; their printers tend to be easier to set up, especially if you don’t have a smartphone.

And don’t forget that you can still set up a printer with a wired connection. If a printer has a network cable, plug it into the back of the printer, then into the router; it should then retrieve an IP address. Find the print menu to print a configuration page. This will print the IP address used by the printer. Next, go to your computer and click Start, Settings, Printers & Scanners, then add a printer or scanner. If it does not find the printer immediately, click “The printer I want is not listed” and then “Add a printer using TCP/IP address or host name”. Enter the printer configuration IP address and the printer should add itself to your computer and find the driver it needs. Even though your printer is now in another room next to the router, you can at least print.

Printer setups can get complicated quickly. Requiring smartphone apps for the process only adds insult to injury. We have to find all sorts of workarounds to install the printers. Stop trying to be helpful with these apps; they just make it harder.

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