Cut the cord

There are four different paths to wireless printing liberation:

  • Get a printer with built-in Wi-Fi features. Numerous wireless-ready printers are available.
  • Share your printer on a wireless network. With Windows 7, you can share any printer connected to any computer on your network, as long as the primary PC is up and running.
  • Set up a wireless print server. This small, inexpensive box connects to your printer via USB, giving it wireless capabilities. With the print server connected, you can use the printer as you would any shared device. And you don't have to keep a PC running to use the printer.
  • Connect the printer to your wireless router. If your printer has an Ethernet port, you can connect the printer to your Wi-Fi router directly. This wires the printer directly into your network without additional hardware or the need for an always-on PC.

Mr. Printer, meet Ms. Windows

No matter how you tie your printer to a wireless network, the final step — introducing the newly connected printer to Windows — is the same:

  • Visit the Windows 7 "Devices and Printers" tool in the Start Menu.
  • Here, click "Add a printer" to locate your printer on the network.
  • Select "Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer," then let Windows search for printers on the network.
  • After a moment, the printer will appear in the results pane: Select it, click "Next," and proceed through the remaining steps in the wizard to complete installation.

Note: You may need to install driver software for the printer. If it's not already in Windows, you can find a driver on the printer manufacturer's website or on the disk that came with your printer.

Wireless printing lets you adapt to your workspace without compromising print quality, and it's simple to set up. So what are you waiting for? Ditch the cables and go wireless.