How to install a PC parallel port computer printer

Updated: 07/13/2023 by Computer Hope

This page covers installing an older parallel port printer to a computer. If you have a newer computer or are using a USB (universal serial bus) printer, see: How to set up and install a computer printer.

Before getting started

When connecting a parallel port printer, make sure the computer is off. Unlike a USB, a parallel port plug should not be connected and disconnected when the computer is running.

Connect cables


If you have any parallel devices, such as a scanner or zip drive, connected to the computer, we recommend you temporarily disconnect them while installing the printer. If these devices are connected, they may be interfering with the printer being automatically detected. Once the printer is successfully working, these devices can be connected again.

Parallel Port

Begin first by connecting the parallel data cable to the back of the printer. Once connected, follow that cable to the back of the computer and connect it to the parallel port. When connecting the printer, be careful not to disconnect any other cables. If cables need to be disconnected to access the parallel port, ensure the cables are connected back to the same location.

After connecting the data cable to the computer and printer, connect the power cable to the printer.

Set mode in BIOS or CMOS

Once the computer and printer are connected and turned on, as the computer is booting, enter the BIOS setup. Verify in the setup that the LPT port mode is set correctly. Today, most printers work from any printer port mode. Unless your computer manufacturer specifies a specific printer port, we recommend Bidirectional be selected if available.

Install software and drivers

All new printers should include drivers for the printer to work with your operating system. Once you have followed the steps above, use the diskettes or CD (compact disc) to install your printer drivers to allow the computer to work correctly.

If your printer didn't include drivers, your drivers are out of date, or you believe the drivers are corrupt, visit our printer drivers page for a listing of drivers.


Printer software is different from printer drivers. Many printers may come packaged with bonus software to be used with the printer. Installing this software does not set up the printer. Also, this software is not required and should only be installed if it's something you want. However, drivers are always required unless Windows already has the necessary drivers.