Windows 8 and Network Printing

Written by Alan Tuesday, 17 May 2011 08:00

For the past 3-4 weeks I have been running Windows 8 Build 7850 on an older laptop.  First, it runs just fine on that old Intel Celeron-based Dell Inspiron.  Second, I have Build 7955, but haven’t got around to installing it yet.  Both of those statements are for preference to what I wanted to write about here.  What I wanted to point out is that one thing that lacks in Windows 8, at least in Build 7850 of it, which is network printing.

It all began earlier when my daughter wanted to print a page from the test laptop – even a young girl likes playing with cool new technology.  I told her that our printer, which is plugged into the desktop PC, should show up as an option since it’s shared via the home network.  When it didn’t I thought there was an easy fix, as in the “add a network printer” option in Windows 7.

In Windows 7 you can click Start = Control Panel =>Hardware and Sound and, under Devices and Printers, find an option to Add a printer.

windows 7 control panel hardware and sound Windows 8 and Network Printing

Once clicked, the Add a Printer option takes you to a dialogue box that gives the options for either Add a local printer or Add a Network, Wireless, or Bluetooth printer.

windows 7 add a printer Windows 8 and Network Printing

Ordinarily, at this point I would click “Add a network printer”, locate the printer attached to the desktop, and “install” it.  However, when accessing the Windows 8 Control Panel Hardware and Sound page, the “add a printer” option is missing.  And, there’s no way to access the menu for adding a network printer (“Add a device” does not allow searching the network).

windows 8 control panel Windows 8 and Network Printing

I doubt the functionality has gone away.  More likely, it hasn’t been added to this early build.  But, it is one more thing, however small, that we have learned about the next-generation operating system from Microsoft.  Perhaps another, more automatic, feature is in the works.  I think it’s more likely, though, that it is just another existing feature that hasn’t been rolled into this build, but will be added later.  For now, there’s no network printing in Windows 8.  Know a workaround?  Let us know in the comments.

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 Windows 8 and Network Printing


Alan is the owner and editor of Making Windows Easy. In addition to writing about technology he is also an avid distance runner and hiker. Read More

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  1. BoxcarJim   |  Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 7:07 pm

    This kinda hidden and the may be a better way but this is how I added my network printers in Win 8, you have to know the IP address to setup the printer too.

    Control panels> System> Device Manager> Action > Add legacy hardware> Install the hardware that I manually select from a list> scroll down to printers> create a new port >Standard TCP/IP Port

  2. Alan   |  Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Good info. Thanks!

  3. Pamela   |  Wednesday, 21 September 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I couldn’t find “Add legacy hardware” under action, but if you right-click on the name of the computer at the top of the device manager list, you will see the option to “Add legacy hardware.”

  4. Alan   |  Wednesday, 21 September 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks. That’s likely a change that has happened since the Build I used to write this.

  5. Trond   |  Monday, 26 September 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Another way is Control panel > All Control Panel Items > Administrative Tools > Print Management > Print Servers > “PC_name” > Printers
    Right click an Select add printer.
    This is also a good place to administrate printer drivers.

  6. TECHIE   |  Sunday, 16 October 2011 at 12:54 pm

    GOT IT!!! i have been going at this all morning and i finally figured it out because i really need to use my NAS connected printer for everything from directions to other projects. First, i went to any document and i click print. The default was DELL XPS. Instead of “Add a printer” i clicked “Find printer” and it SEARCHED MY NETWORK WHICH IS FREAKIN AWESOME! and found my network printer which, on windows 7 computers, i had to map it by IP address.
    sincerely, WINDOWS 8 BUILD 8102 USER!!! FTW

  7. Chris Iveson   |  Thursday, 08 December 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I have build 2805 dual boot with W7 and it found my Epson R285 straight away and printed a new style test page.

    ESC/P Standard 2 V4 Class Driver on W8 x64.

  8. Zwakele   |  Wednesday, 07 March 2012 at 1:53 am

    Very nice, thanks alot….now I have tested everything I need…..when is the official release?

  9. Zwakele   |  Wednesday, 07 March 2012 at 1:56 am

    one thing I’m missing, the Updates…I got no updates what so ever

  10. Birch   |  Monday, 02 April 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Easier still – Browse the network, find the printer you want to use, double click and voila!

  11. Alan   |  Monday, 02 April 2012 at 10:52 pm

    It’s that easy now, but wasn’t when I wrote this based on the Developer Preview.

  12. Xae   |  Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 12:56 pm

    How are the drivers? Is PS and PCL in Windows 8 yet?

  13. Alan   |  Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Not at the time I wrote that, but in the “Release Preview”, there is no problems at all.

  14. eri   |  Friday, 02 November 2012 at 9:53 pm

    i dont know, but im using this :

    1. control panel > hardware and sound > advance printer setup > the printer that i want isnt list up
    2. tick select a printer by name > browse > head to your network printer > next and you are done

  15. Alan   |  Saturday, 03 November 2012 at 7:12 am

    Yeah, it’s all simple now, but I wrote that back during Developer Preview when it wasn’t so simple.

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