How to Find the Printer on Your Network in Windows 10

Learn how to fix printer issues in Windows 10, 8, and 7

An inability to find a printer on a network usually occurs when you try to set up a connection. However, it can also occur when attempting to use a wireless printer that you have already connected to. The printer will not appear in the available printers and devices list when performing a search.

Causes of Inability to Find Printer on Network

The most common and easily resolved reason for this issue is that the printer is offline. However, it could also be caused by several other factors, including the following:

  • Disabled Windows settings.
  • The printer has not been added to the homegroup.
  • The printer is not connected to the network correctly.
  • Updates are required.
  • Network issues exist.
Man collecting papers at printer
TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

How to Fix Inability to Find Printer on Network

The solution for this issue can be as simple as a reboot. If this does not allow you to connect, checking settings, installing updates, and checking for network problems are the best steps.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

  1. Restart your Windows system. You might need to wait for your Windows system to install updates. The combination of restarting the printer and your Windows system will often resolve odd connection issues.

  2. Restart your router and modem. Doing so is another way to resolve simple network connectivity problems.

    When you restart your router, you will interrupt the network connection for every device on the network, so if other people are connected to the network, be sure to make them aware of the interruption.

  3. Check your printer manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to update your printer’s firmware. On the printer, look through the menu options for a way to update the device. Download any newer version of the printer’s firmware detected and install it. This process may require a reboot of the printer.

  4. Download and install any available Windows updates. If prompted, allow the system to restart. Repeat the process until you see a message that says no updates are available. Then, test printing.

  5. Update your printer drivers in Windows. In most cases, you can find the most recent drivers for your device at the manufacturer’s website. For example, Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP all provide device drivers online. Some manufacturers periodically release updates that fix problems, improve performance, or enhance security.

    Driver update software may require you to remove existing drivers, so be prepared for a possible system restart.

  6. Update your router's firmware to fix various connection problems with specific devices. In many cases, you can access the router administration page by entering your router’s network address in a browser. If restarting and updating devices don’t fix your network printer problem, you may need to adjust specific settings to get things working again.

  7. Select alternative network connection methods in your printer’s administrative settings. If you consistently have difficulty connecting to a printer over your Wi-Fi network, you might try to establish either a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi direct connection instead. Allowed connection methods may include wired networks (e.g., Ethernet), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and Apple’s AirPrint. Make sure to enable network printing options in your printer's settings.

  8. If possible, configure your router to assign a static IP address to your printer. It ensures that you can always find your printer at a specific address. Without this configuration, your printer’s address could change after a restart. In most cases, from your router’s administrator page, you can find your printer on a list of devices currently on your network, then adjust a setting to assign the device a specific IP address.

  9. You also might enable universal plug and play settings on your router. Again, this will be a setting in your router’s administrative settings. This is often a simple checkbox option that is either enabled or not. With plug and play enabled, your printer and Windows system may more easily connect over your network.

  10. On your home network, connect to your Wi-Fi network and configure it as a “private” network in Windows. This will may it easier for devices on the network, such as your printer and Windows system, to “see” each other.

  • How do you connect a printer to Wi-Fi?

    To connect your printer to Wi-Fi, first power it on. To connect the printer to the wireless network, look at your device's specific directions. It's typically a simple process of powering on the system and connecting to the network through the printer interface or a companion app on your computer or mobile device.

  • How do you connect a printer to a Windows laptop?

    To wirelessly connect a printer to a Windows laptop, first make sure the printer has Wi-Fi access. Open Windows Search and type printer. Select Printers & Scanners > Add a printer or scanner. Select your printer > Add device.

  • How do you fix it when your printer is offline?

    If your printer is offline, try plugging it in and turning it on, or rebooting your computer. You can also power cycle the printer, check the network connection status, update the driver, or uninstall and reinstall the printer.

Was this page helpful?