Whenever you buy a printer, the device itself typically comes with an installation CD. You power on the printer, connect it to your computer, and insert the installation disc. The process is very straightforward. Now, you might have lost the installation CD, or misplaced it, and probably panicking right now. But believe it or not, you don’t need it.

You can install a printer without the installation CD. Companies provide software just in case you lose the disc and the devices themselves come with their own alternative installation process.

Install a Printer with a USB Cable

Whenever you plug a new device into your computer via a USB port, what usually happens is your computer installs the necessary driver for the two devices. Your PC and the external device need it to communicate, like a mouse, keyboard, or printer in this case. All you need to do is connect your computer and printer together with a USB cable.

Here’s how:

1. Take the USB end from the printer and plug into an unoccupied USB port on your computer, then turn on the printer.

The simple act of turning on your printer while it’s connected to your computer should initiate the installation process, but if not, continue on with the steps below.

2. Open the Windows Start menu. See the gear icon in the bottom-left corner? That’s Windows Settings. Go ahead and click on it.

3. Now, in the Windows Settings, click Devices. It has the subtitle ‘Bluetooth, printers, mouse.’

4. In Devices, click on Printers & Scanners in the left-hand column. At the top of the page, click +Add a printer or scanner. Your computer will scan for any active connection (thanks to USB cable).

5. When your printer appears in the ‘Add a device’ window, select it and the installation will begin.

Install a Printer with Software

Not all printers come with a USB cable for easy connections to nearby computers. If your printer doesn’t have one, you can still install the printer with software. The software typically comes with the CD, but that same software can be found on the printer’s website (the brand’s sites).

1. You first need to visit your printer’s website and download the necessary software, which is called a ‘driver.’ This is done by locating your printer’s exact model and visiting its support page.

2. When you’re on the printer’s support page, there should be a Drivers section. Clicking on the driver will initiate the download of said driver.

3. Unzip the printer installation file by right-clicking on it and choosing Extract All or Extract Here. Pick a location to unzip the files to. Your desktop is a good place.

Tip: If you don’t have the option to extract, download and install 7zip or WinZip.

4. Double-click on the printer software setup file and follow the installation wizard to set up your printer.

Bottom Line

And there you have it. As you can see, using an installation CD isn’t the only option available for installing a printer. The reason CDs come with the device is just in case someone isn’t using a network; it provides the necessary software to get started. If you lose the CD, you have a few backup options.