Physically connecting a laptop to a printer through an Ethernet cable is just the first step in getting your printer ready for use. Unlike a universal series bus (USB) connection, an Ethernet connection will not automatically install the printer on the laptop. With an Ethernet cable, you also have to install the device drivers that configure the laptop to recognise and work with the printer.
Locate the Ethernet port on your printer, which is often on the back of the unit. Insert an Ethernet connector of the cable into the port. Connect the other connector of the Ethernet cable into the port on the back of your laptop.
Click "Start" on your laptop to access the Start menu. Click "Devices and Printers." Click "Add a printer." Select the local printer option. Click "Next" to use the existing printer port.
Enter the manufacturer and model of your printer on the next screen so that your laptop can locate and install the printer drivers. Click "Next." Name your printer something that will help you recognise it from any other printer installed on your laptop. Click "Next."
Select whether you want to share this printer with other users on your computer. Click "Finish." Click "Print Test Page" if you want to verify the connection with a sample page.
This process will only set up your laptop to work with your printer. If you also want to install the manufacturer specific software that came with your printer, you need the installation CD that came with the printer. Insert it into your laptop and follow the screen prompts for a step-by-step walkthrough.
Depending on the brand and models of your printer and laptop, these instructions may vary. Consult the manufacturer's website or your user manuals for more information.