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Printer Types
There are three basic types of printer interfaces for a computer. Paralell, Serial and USB.

Older computers use either serial or paralell interfaces. They are characterised by a D-shaped plug with 9 pins (serial) or 25 pins (parallel). They required special printer cables and the corresponding ports had to be available on your computer to plug into them.

Today most printers use USB connections.

Printer Drivers
To be able to use a printer on your computer you must have an appropriate printer driver.

A Printer Driver is a program that converts the information you want to print into a format that your printer understands and every printer is different, so you need the driver that corresponds to the printer you want to use.

When you buy a new printer, it should come with a disk containing the driver files for your printer. If you upgrade to a new version of Windows you may need to update your printer driver to match your new operating system.

If you do not have a driver for your printer or need to update the version, enter the brand and model number here to search online for a driver that you can download.

Scanners and Multifinctional Devices
Scanners and Printer/Scanners (sometimes called MFD's - Multi Functional Devices) also require additional software. The printer component will still require a printer driver and the scanner component also requires software to transfer scanned images from the scanner to your computer. Again, the scanner software should come with the unit, so contact your supplier if you did not receive a disk or go to their website to see if they offer downloads.

Next topic: Connecting to the Internet

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