Ask LH: How Do I Get My Wireless Printer To Connect?

Dear Lifehacker, Constantly having problems with my wireless printer not connecting. It keeps saying that my WS printer is not connected. Apparently this is a very common problem with Windows 10 but I can't find any reliable workarounds. Do you know of any reputable fixes that don't require a computer tech to fix?? WiFi Luddite

Dear WL,

Wi-Fi problems can be really frustrating - perhaps only beaten by having to try and use a reluctant printer.

We recently answered another users Wi-Fi questions, and put together a guide on improving your home Wi-Fi.

But your issue is another problem entirely. The exact cause is hard to pin down without some extra info, but here are some of our tips to help you get printing again.

Based on your question stating that the printer is not connected, we are presuming that the printer is actually installed and shows up under Devices and Printers in the control panel.

The first step is to make sure you are using the manufacturer's software. In theory, some printers should be able to be set up without needing any software or drivers, but it rarely seems to work in practice.

If you already have the manufacturer's software installed, try fulling uninstalling it, then downloading the latest versions (make sure it is for Windows 10), and try again.

Alternatively, some people have reported success but instead using the older Windows 8 driver on Windows 10.

Another option to try is to get it connected and working via USB first, then try and set it up for wireless use. It should not matter, but it has worked for us in the past.

Depending on how your WiFi itself is set up, it could be causing the issues. We have experience problems with trying to access a device on the 2.4GHz band of WiFi, from a computer connected to the 5GHz band, whereas putting them both on the same band sorted it.

The WiFi password could also be an issue. Try turning off security on your router, and seeing if the printer will connect.

Alternatively, see if you can borrow a different WiFi router to test with. It is unlikely the issue, but it's a an easy option to eliminate. Depending on the model, you may even be able to use your phone as a test access point.

Another thing to consider is how you are trying to search for solutions to the problem. Don’t forget to include the printer model, and the exact error code.

It’s also worth checking if your printer manufacturer has a guide. For example, HP has a support page for issues after upgrading to Windows 10.

Another option is to use the troubleshooting option built into Windows. To get started, type ‘printer’ into the Windows search bar, and click the control panel result. From there, right click your printer, and select troubleshoot. Follow the prompts and you might just be able to fix it.

Depending on your printer, it will have it’s own settings menu. Delve into it and look for any suspect options - for example, is the WiFi on the printer turned on? Is there an option to manually enter the WiFi password?

Hopefully this will give a few useful strategies for troubleshooting the problem.


Have you had printer trouble? Tell us in the comments how you fixed it.

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