How To Set Up Private Cloud Storage Using A Windows 10 FTP Site

When we refer to the cloud, we’re talking about a storage system that keeps data stored and accessible on the internet. In recent years, the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and other similar convenient data storage options have convinced users of the benefits of a cloud server.

The problem with these services is that they are all third-party. This often means that using them may incur a monthly service cost, potential inaccessibility should the servers or service crash, and security demands to keep data both safe and private.

What if I told you that you could build your own cloud server on Windows? That it wouldn’t be too large of an undertaking and that it would provide more advantages than your typical cloud service? 

How To Set Up Private Cloud Storage Using a Windows 10 FTP Site

To build your own cloud server in Windows would normally require an upfront investment. To start, you’d need a storage system and a minimum of 100Mbps fixed broadband connection. This speed is recommended so that the cloud server can be easily accessed from anywhere.

The internet speeds will be limited to the local service providers in your area. As for the storage system, there are a couple of options from which to choose. One possibility is a NAS, which usually comes with its own web interface and online synchronization options.

For this article on how to build your own cloud server, we’ll be looking at repurposing a home Windows computer to allow cloud storage.

How To Build Your Own Cloud Server In Windows 10

You can build your own cloud server in Windows but it does require a few additions in order to pull it off. It’s also likely to be the cheaper option over something like a NAS as you probably already have a computer readily available.

One of the steps involved will require that FTP components be set up on your Windows 10 computer. This will make your Windows 10 PC internet accessible, meaning you can access it online from other devices, and give it the ability to manage files.

  • Navigate to the Control Panel and click on Programs.
  • Under Programs and Features, click Turn Windows features on or off.
  • Expand the Internet Information Services (IIS) folder and place a check into the FTP Server checkbox. Next, expand Web Management Tools and make sure that IIS Management Console is also checked. Press OK.
  • Once these steps are completed, the components to set up an FTP server will be installed.

Configuring Your FTP Server Site

The next step is to set up an FTP server site that can be accessed over the web.

  • Head back into the Control Panel and click on System and Security.
  • Then, click on Administrative Tools.
  • Double-click on Internet Information Services Manager.
  • In the Connections pane, expand your computer name and right-click Sites. Select Add FTP Site…
  • Add a name for your site and then locate the folder path where you’ll want to store all FTP files. We recommend creating a folder within the root of the main system drive (C:\) or an entirely different hard drive.
  • Click Next. You should now be at the Binding and SSL Settings window. Set all settings to mirror the image below, and click Next.
  • Unless you’re planning to host sensitive data or are using this server for business purposes, an SSL is generally not required. For either of the purposes mentioned, it’s recommended that you acquire an SSL certificate.
  • Again, mirror your settings to that of the image below. The email address should be the one attached to your Windows 10 account in order for you to gain access to it.
  • Click Finish.

Setting Up The Firewall

Different firewall applications would have different setups for enabling connections to your FTP server. If you’re using the built-in firewall in Windows 10, FTP server connections are blocked by default until manually enabled.

  • To enable it, navigate to Windows Defender Security Center and click on Firewall & network protection.
  • Click the Allow an app through firewall link.
  • Click Change Settings, locate FTP Server and place a checkmark in it as well as both Private and Public Access.
  • Click OK.

At this point, your FTP server is now accessible from multiple devices on the same network.

Accessing Your FTP Server From The Internet

It’s time to open the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) port number 21 on your router. Each router is different when it comes to setting up port forwarding

The steps provided here are a general guidance on how to do this safely. By following the link, you’ll be able to set up a static IP address and open a port to allow online traffic through.

Once set up, you’ll be able to access your FTP server files from anywhere.

Things To Remember

Using a personal computer as cloud storage does have some drawbacks to keep in mind. One issue that could occur is automatic updates taking place when you’re not at home. This would cause your PC to shut off, becoming inaccessible. 

Though the files may be accessible across multiple devices, they aren’t automatically synchronized while offline. To pull that off will require a cloud service like OwnCloud or SeaFile.

Another problem would be shared resources between personal use data and cloud storage use. Depending what kind of data you’re storing, your hard drives could fill up fast.

When it comes to storage capacity, a PC is limited only to what you’re willing to pay for additional hard drives. Instead of worrying about increasing your monthly fee for a few extra gigabytes of accessible data, a one-time purchase of an additional hard drive is all you need.

Now that you have the tools and the knowledge, you can build your own cloud server in Windows and finally kick cloud storage service costs to the curb.

What is “Windows 10 in S Mode”? Can I Change it to Regular Windows?

Microsoft has done some weird things with Windows over the years. Windows running in S Mode is one of those things. 

More and more, we find laptops listed as having Windows 10 running in S Mode, but there’s no explanation of S Mode. There’s also nothing in the laptop ads to let us know that we can take Windows out of S Mode and have a regular version of Windows 10.

What Is Windows 10 In S Mode?

As the name suggests, it’s a mode of Windows 10 as opposed to being its own operating system (OS). 

It’s not public knowledge yet what the S stands for, but based on their marketing, it could be for Security, Speed, Smaller, or even Schools. Maybe all of those. Windows OS names have been cryptic.

Security In Windows 10 S Mode

Windows 10 S Mode is marketed as being more secure than the full Windows 10. It only allows for installing Microsoft verified apps from the Microsoft Store. That does limit the number of apps available, but it shouldn’t limit us from what we can do. 

As of the end of September 2019, there were over 669,000 apps in the Microsoft Store. We should be able to find what we need. All our everyday apps, like Spotify, Slack, NetFlix, and the Microsoft Office Suite are there.

S Mode also uses the Microsoft Edge browser as the default web browser, and it cannot be changed. Microsoft is clinging on to the 2017 NSS Labs Web Browser Security Report stating that Edge is more secure than Chrome or Firefox. That report is 3 years old, so it’s up for debate.

Working in PowerShell, CMD, and tweaking the Windows Registry is also stripped out of Windows 10 in S Mode for greater security. Basically, if it’s an administrator-level tool, it’s not in S Mode, making it that much harder to hack.

Speed In Windows 10 S Mode

Microsoft also says the Windows 10 S Mode has greater speed. Well, at least at startup. It’s a reasonable claim that if it doesn’t have to load the full bloat of Windows 10, it will start up faster than full Windows 10. 

The Edge web browser is the default browser for S Mode, and Microsoft argues that it’s faster than Chrome or Firefox for browsing. Again, that’s debatable as there are too many factors involved in web browsing to make a definitive, objective claim like that.

Size & Windows 10 S Mode

In a game of size-does-matter, Windows running in S Mode has an installed size of about 5GB on the hard drive. A Windows 10 full-installation can range from about 20GB to 40GB, depending on the edition and features chosen. S Mode saves us at least 15GB of drive space. 

As we’ll see below, S Mode is also likely to run well on the absolute minimum system requirements of Windows 10.

Windows 10 S Mode For Schools

The education market is a key to OS dominance. Whatever OS young people first use is likely to be the OS that they’ll prefer later in life. Whatever OS schools are using to teach work skills is likely to be the OS that employers will use so young employees can be productive and quicker. That’s a big part of how Microsoft became what it is today. 

Google knows that and has been getting its small, fast, affordable Chromebooks into schools in droves. S Mode is Microsoft’s counter to that.

Windows 10 S Mode’s speed, security, and even size suit the school market. Plus, S Mode comes with education-specific support with administrator tools like the Set Up School PCs app. There’s also the Microsoft Educator Center, where teachers can learn more about Microsoft products and how best to use them in the classroom. 

The lighter OS should also use less power, making for longer battery life. The idea being that a student could use it all day without recharging it.

Why Are More Laptops Being Sold As Windows Running In S Mode?

We suspect it is because they can sell a laptop with lower-end hardware if Windows is installed in S Mode. That’s not a bad thing! If people need a Windows computer but can’t afford a full-featured laptop, this helps lower the entry barrier. It makes a Windows device a contender against Chrome devices.

Full Windows 10 and Windows running in S Mode have the same minimum system requirements to be installed. 

  • The device needs at least a 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor or System on a Chip (SoC). 
  • There must be a minimum of 2GB of RAM and 32GB of hard drive space. 
  • It must have DirectX 9 or later compatible graphics card and display resolution of at least 800×600 pixels. 
  • The only extra requirement Windows 10 S Mode requires is that the device is able to connect to the Internet on the initial set up.

We know that if we had a laptop with those minimum specifications and tried to use Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise on it, we’d be pulling our hair out very quickly. It would be next to useless. So, we get computers with far greater specifications at a far greater cost.

Windows 10 in S Mode is likely to run just fine on those minimum specifications. A device built at, or close to, those minimum specs are going to be far more affordable than the full-featured laptops costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

How To Change From S Mode To Full Windows Mode

Now that we know what Windows 10 S Mode is, we don’t need to fear that we’re not getting the full Windows experience. If we want to use the full version of our Windows OS, we can take it out of S Mode and go into regular more anytime we want to. There’s no extra cost either. Just be sure that your device can handle it.

The most important warning is that once we switch to full Windows mode, we cannot easily go back to S Mode. If we created restoration media with the device when we got it, then we can restore the computer to S Mode. 

There has been chatter on the Internet about Microsoft eventually including a way to easily switch back and forth, but there is no official notice about that happening yet.

  • Press the Windows and X keys at the same time. In the menu that opens, click on Settings.
  • In the Settings window, click on Update and Security.
  • In the Update window, click on Activation on the left-hand side.
  • Look for the section Switch to Windows 10 Home or Switch to Windows 10 Pro, click on Go to the Store.
  • The Microsoft Store will open to the Switch out of S Mode page. Click on the Get button. After a few seconds, there will be a confirmation message showing that the process is done. The computer will now be using the full Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. Programs other than apps from the Windows Store can be installed, too.

Can We Go Back to Windows in S Mode?

No, in case it was missed before, rolling back to Windows 10 in S Mode cannot be done. At best, the computer could be completely reset if we have the restoration media from when it was in Windows S Mode. 

The 7 Best Software Versions of Solitaire For Windows 10

Solitaire has offered a fun way to pass the time in offices, classrooms, and homes across the world since 1990. Microsoft first started including its own version of this classic card game with Windows 3.0, with the base game evolving with new graphics and features since then.

If you’re a solitaire addict, however, you might be in the market for something a little different. There are hundreds of different versions of solitaire available, including online and on the desktop. We’re going to focus on desktop Solitaire here, with a run-through of the seven best software versions of Solitaire for Windows 10.

Spider Solitaire Collection Free

Fans of Spider Solitaire, the variant to the standard Klondike Solitaire card game, will get a lot of enjoyment out of the Spider Solitaire Collection. Collection is the right word to use, as this game offers four different Spider Solitaire games for you to try.

The interface is clean and modern, with prominent menu buttons letting you switch games, roll back your last turn and ask for hints on your next move. You can also check how you’re playing compared to past solitaire games, with an achievements board and win/loss statistics available for you to view.

Spider Solitaire Collection Free is skinnable, too, with custom themes, backgrounds, colors, and card sets available. 

Klondike Solitaire Collection Free

From the same development team as Spider Solitaire Collection Free, Klondike Solitaire Collection Free offers many of the same features, a common interface and a similar number of themes available.

Klondike is just another name for the type of solitaire card game used with the original Microsoft Solitaire, so expect the gameplay of this solitaire collection to feel very similar to the original.

Like the Spider Solitaire Collection, this Klondike Collection game offers four Klondike gameplay modes, each with varying rules and “allowed” moves. The achievements board is the same, however.

If you’re confused about the rules for any of the variant games, you can review them by clicking More > Rules.

Simple Solitaire

Simple Solitaire for Windows 10, available in the Microsoft Store, isn’t as polished as other solitaire games on this list, but the name says it all. This game is “just” a solitaire game, with one set of rules following the same basic Klondike game as the original.

That said, there are some improvements. You can change the background and card backs, with six different variants for each available. Like the original Solitaire, Simple Solitaire also offers a hint mode to help you if you get stuck.

An instructions menu, with pictures, helps explain the rules for potential solitaire newbies. There’s also a statistics menu, letting you know your overall win/loss score. 

The only downside to Simple Solitaire is a banner ad at the bottom of the screen, but you may be able to bypass this by turning your internet off while you play.

BVS Solitaire Collection

Other solitaire collections may have several different versions to play, but few go as far as the BVS Solitaire Collection to satisfy gamers, with no less than 535 different solitaire games. You can even modify the rules, creating your own solitaire variants in the process.

Like many of the other collections, BVS Solitaire Collection can be customized, with hundreds of different themes and card backs. A hint mode is included, along with game-end prompts to tell you when you can’t progress, and a statistics board for multiple players to help track your performance against others.

The only downside to BVS Solitaire is the cost. While a 30-day trial is available, this collection will cost you $19.95. That might be a small cost to pay for so many solitaire variants, but this may price out all but the most serious solitaire addicts.

SolSuite Solitaire

As one of the oldest, third-party versions of solitaire for Windows 10, SolSuite Solitaire continues to entertain and impress. This gaming classic has been a solid alternative to Microsoft’s own since 1998.

Produced by the same company as the Klondike and Solitaire Collection Free games, SolSuite is an all-in-one alternative that contains 732 different solitaire games for users to play—nearly 200 more than the BVS Solitaire Collection.

It offers more than 300 different sets, 100 backgrounds, game hints, sound effects, and an auto-play mode to help you solve difficult games. SolSuite also comes with a multiplayer mode with shared statistics, letting you compete to beat games quicker than your friends.

Like BVS Solitaire, SolSuite isn’t free, costing $19.95 for users. A limited trial version, reducing the number of card shuffles per game, is available for download.

PySolFC

For open-source enthusiasts, PySolFC offers a free alternative to paid solitaire game collections like SolSuite. It contains 1000 different solitaire card games, offering the largest number of solitaire game variants to play in one package.

It has many of the common features you’ll see in other top solitaire games on Windows 10, including various different card sets and themes, gameplay statistics and a hint system that allows for auto-play and multiple undo moves.

The interface isn’t as polished or modern as other solitaire games but remains a good, free and open-source option for gameplay on multiple platforms, including Windows and Linux.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Microsoft no longer includes the original Solitaire on Windows10 PCs, but it does offer its replacement—the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. This new solitaire game combines several favorites, including the original Klondike-style Solitaire, FreeCell and Spider Solitaire into a single package.

It’s a departure from typical Microsoft Solitaire gameplay, with daily challenges and gameplay experience (XP) points encouraging regular use. It comes with ads, but you can get rid of these by paying for a premium subscription (costing $10 a year).

The interface is fresh and modern, with gameplay hints and theme options available at the bottom. Achievements are linked to your Microsoft account, allowing you to “level up” (mainly for bragging rights) across multiple devices.

Enjoy Solitaire on Windows 10 and Mobile

Solitaire is a popular card game in its own right, so if you don’t enjoy any of these Windows 10 solitaire games, you can find similar games on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. You can also play an HTML5 version of solitaire in your browser by searching for play solitaire in Google.

Other games and platforms are available if you’re looking for fun ways to pass the time, including through game subscription services.

Essential Software and Features for a New Windows 10 PC

As Apple and Android battle to become the undisputed ruler of the smartphone and tablet world, Microsoft continues to focus on one of its core products for the PC market—the Windows operating system. Thanks to a continuous supply of new apps and features, Windows continues to be invaluable to millions of people worldwide.

Whether you’re a novice user or a PC pro, there are essential software and features that you’ll need to use if you want to get the most out of a Windows installation. We’ve compiled some of the best Windows software and examples of the best features in Windows 10 to help you get started.

The 6 Essential Software Applications for Windows

To streamline your installation, Microsoft doesn’t include a huge amount of software by default, other than some basic “essentials” like Paint and Edge.

You’ll need to download and install additional essential software to make the most of your Windows 10 PC. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some of the best Windows software currently available.

VLC Media Player

The default Movies & TV app in Windows 10 is easy to use, but it’s light on features and won’t play every type of video file. That’s why you’ll need to consider installing VLC Media Player on every Windows PC you own. VLC is completely free to download and use.

If your video file isn’t encrypted or corrupt, VLC should play it. It comes with support for almost every single type of media file imaginable, including live streams and DVDs.

VLC doesn’t just play videos—it converts them, too. This is useful if you want to play videos on devices that are picky about the type of content they can play (like smartphones, for instance.) To do this, just click Media > Convert/Save. 

You can also use VLC to record your desktop or webcam feed (Media > Open Capture Device > Desktop) or to add effects to your custom videos (Tools > Effects & Filters.)

Google Chrome

Rather than relying on the default Microsoft Edge browser, you should consider downloading and using Google Chrome on your Windows PC instead. Simple and quick to use, Chrome lets you customize the browsing experience the way you want it.

If you sign in with your Google Account, you can share your bookmarks, web history and extensions across multiple devices, including between Windows and Android. Power users can separate their browsing experience between work and play profiles, thanks to multiple user accounts

Chrome also includes other useful features like a built-in password manager, tabbed browsing windows, and “incognito” private browsing to keep certain websites out of your browsing history.

If Chrome isn’t for you, then you could download and use Mozilla Firefox instead. 

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office, the premium productivity suite, has been essential to businesses and home offices since 1990. Whether you’re writing a letter, creating a presentation or sorting out your finances, Office has all of the tools you’ll need to get working.

Office is designed to provide a seamless experience, with apps to complement each of your working tasks. For instance, you could create documents in Word, create a presentation in PowerPoint, then email them to colleagues in Outlook. 

There are also other products available, like Access (for databases), depending on your Office package. It isn’t available for free, and you can either purchase Office as a one-off purchase or as a subscription with Office 365

LibreOffice exists as a free alternative, with many of the same tools. Check out our LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office comparison to see which is the best option for your needs.

BleachBit

If BleachBit is good enough for Hillary Clinton, it’s good enough for you to use to safely wipe junk and potentially sensitive files from your PC as part of your regular PC maintenance. As an open-source project, the chances of BleachBit ever being compromised by malware is as close to zero as possible—unlike CCleaner.

Whenever you uninstall software, trace files are left behind—these are the files that BleachBit removes when it scans your PC. It’ll also remove your internet browsing history, including any browser tracking cookies that have been stored on your PC, as well as remove files from your recycle bin and left-over files from Windows updates. 

BleachBit is simple to use. Just select the items you want to clear from the side menu, then click the Delete button to wipe them.

You can also import additional cleaning rules created by the BleachBit community to improve the software, with over 2400 additional rules available for download. To do this, open BleachBit, click the Menu button > Preferences, then enable the Download and update cleaners from community (winapp2.ini) checkbox.

7-Zip

Windows 10 can create and open ZIP files, but it’s a pretty basic, and any ZIP files you create won’t be optimized for the best encryption or compression. You’ll need to install 7-Zip if you want to create more complex archive files.

This free, open-source file management tool supports every kind of archive file, including ZIP, GZIP and RAR. It also has its own file type (7Z), which supports AES-256 encryption and a high level of compression to reduce the size of your archive.

You can add password protection to your archive files, as well as customize the compression method (choosing fast over security, or vice versa). You can also use 7-Zip as a file manager, letting you view your files and folders.

Dropbox

If you want to keep your files secure from a system failure, you’ll need to consider cloud storage. Dropbox is a ready-to-go cloud storage solution for Windows, offering 2GB of free storage for you to back up your files.

The files and folders you save to the Dropbox folder, accessible from within File Explorer, are automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers. Dropbox files are encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption for maximum security.

Along as providing you with a secure place to backup your files, Dropbox also allows you to comment on files, play video files from your storage within a web browser, as well as share files, either publicly or to chosen users.

You can expand your initial 2GB of free storage with additional paid plans, from 2TB to 5TB, or unlimited storage for teams and businesses.

The 5 Essential Features in Windows

While the basic Windows layout hasn’t changed too much since 1995, it’s an entirely different beast under the hood these days. Each Windows release brings new features, each with its own benefits to improve the user experience.

We couldn’t pick them all, but here’s a selection of some of the most essential features you’ll expect to see in Windows 10.

Multitasking With Virtual Desktops

Unless you have a second monitor, your screen real estate can fill up pretty quickly with open windows, desktop shortcuts, and more. Mac and Linux users will already know the benefits of having multiple virtual desktops available to spread across—a feature that came to Windows with the release of Windows 10.

Improved productivity is the real reward for users who use virtual desktops on Windows 10. Rather than switch between open windows on a single desktop, you’re able to switch between them (fully open) in virtual desktops instead.

You might do this to separate your work and gaming apps, or just to give you more space while you work. There are no limits to the number of virtual desktops you can create.

To set up a new virtual desktop in Windows 10, just click the Windows + Tab keys on your keyboard, then click New Desktop at the top. Your existing desktops will appear in the sliding menu at the top—just click on a virtual desktop to switch to it.

You can also switch between them quickly by pressing the Windows + Ctrl + Left/Right Arrow keys instead.

A New and Improved Smart Menu

The Smart Menu has been a staple of almost every major Windows release since 1995. A disastrous attempt to remove it in Windows 8 led to a new and improved revival with Windows 10, where it’s no longer “just” a list of your installed software. 

Acting as the control center for your Windows PC, the Start Menu gives you access to pretty much everything you need, including apps and settings, on your PC.

Split into two, the left-hand section lists your installed software, with recently installed apps listed at the top. It also provides you with quick-access buttons to access your files and photos, as well as to bring up your PC’s power menu. 

The right-hand section is customizable, with “live tiles” to display content from your favorite apps, as well as for updates on the latest news and on your unreal emails. It also allows you to add shortcuts to your favorite files and folders. You can categorize these tiles into different sections for greater clarity.

The Windows 10 Start Menu lets you search, too—just access the Start Menu and begin typing to search your PC or the internet. You can also quickly access important system tools, like PowerShell and Disk Management, by right-clicking the Start Menu button.

Built-In Malware Protection

With the dominant market share, Windows has always faced a problem with malware. Windows Defender (now named Windows Security) is Microsoft’s attempt to handle this problem head-on, providing users with built-in antivirus protection to act as a full replacement for third-party software.

Windows Security is enabled by default on any Windows PC that doesn’t have third-party antivirus protection installed. If Windows Security detects other antivirus software, it’ll mostly disable itself to prevent interference. 

Otherwise, Windows Security is designed to protect your Windows 10 installation from threats as soon as Windows is active. It protects your PC by running scheduled scans for the latest malware and viruses, with regular updates to keep your protection up-to-date.

Along with virus protection, Windows Security also includes a system firewall, controls for unrecognized apps, system performance tools, and parental controls. To check out Windows Security, right-click the Start Menu button and click Settings. From here, click Update & Security > Windows Security.

Voice Control With Cortana

Cortana might not be the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant competitor that Microsoft originally hoped it would be, but it still provides you with a complete hands-free experience, letting you control your Windows PC using your voice. 

Using Cortana, you can perform searches, set reminders or timers, launch and control other apps, access files, control other smart devices, access your settings and more. 

You can set Cortana to activate with the phrase “Hey Cortana” from the Cortana settings menu (Settings > Cortana), or by clicking the circular Cortana button in your Windows taskbar. 

It’s also possible to disable Cortana completely if you have concerns about Microsoft’s privacy policy.

Integrated Xbox Streaming

The Xbox Console Companion app, included with Windows 10, is the perfect accompaniment for Xbox gamers. It gives you complete control over your Xbox remotely, letting you download games, speak to your friends, and check out your gaming achievements. 

It’s best feature, however, is Xbox game streaming. That means you can play your Xbox games, with your Xbox controller or a chosen alternative, straight from your Windows PC. It streams the video output from your Xbox to your PC, letting you view it full-screen, or in a smaller window to let you play while other windows are visible.

With the Xbox Companion app, Microsoft is building an ecosystem that allows for greater flexibility on how, and where, you play your favorite games. For best use, you’ll need a wired connection, although you can reduce the quality of the connection for acceptable gameplay over a WiFi network.

Making the Most Of Windows

When you set up a new PC, these are some of the most essential software and features that you’ll be using, first and foremost. You may have your own preferences, and that’s fine—Windows is designed for maximum customization, letting you use the apps and settings that suit your needs the most. 

If you’ve just bought yourself a new Windows PC, get yourself up and running quickly by installing these apps first.

How to Troubleshoot Common Printer Problems in Windows 10

One of the joys of using Windows 10 is that, unlike older Windows editions, it’s pretty capable of taking care of installing any extra peripherals like your printer. If you do run into a printer problem setting it up on Windows 10, there are some easy fixes.

Most of the time, you can take care of a Windows 10 printer setup problem by following some fairly standard steps, like double-checking cables or connectivity. Installing drivers is a must, but if all else fails, you can run the Windows Troubleshooter to try and fix the most common printer setup problems for Windows 10 printers.

Check For Missing Cables Or Wireless Connectivity

It might seem fairly straightforward, but one of the most common printer setup problems on Windows is a lack of connectivity between the printer and your PC.

For wired printers, that means a cable that isn’t quite plugged in at either end. Modern printers use USB or ethernet, so double-check that your supplied printer cable has a snug fit at both ends. Troubleshooting wireless printers can be trickier, however.

Wireless printers, like most WiFi devices, will need to be connected to your own wireless network before other devices can print to it. Check your printer documentation further for guided steps on how to do this, but in many cases, there should be a WPS button on both your printer and your network router.

Depending on your printer model and manufacturer, this device may be listed as WPS or has a generic label like WiFi. By pressing this button on both devices, your printer should automatically connect to your wireless network. If it doesn’t work the first time, make an additional attempt.

From there, your device should be detected by Windows, as long as your Windows PC or laptop is connected to the same network. If the WPS method doesn’t work, you may need to look at connecting your printer to your PC using USB first and configuring the wireless configuration manually.

Install Missing Printer Drivers

Printers are a common peripheral for Windows 10 PCs. With that in mind, Microsoft has a vast catalog of printer drivers already available for download and installation when a new printer is connected.

In most cases, you shouldn’t need to do anything to install a printer driver, as Windows should do this for you. That isn’t always the case, however. Microsoft may lack the drivers for new or uncommon printer models, or it may just fail to install automatically. 

  • First, use Windows to search online for relevant driver software. To do this, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Settings
  • From here, click Devices > Printers & Scanners.  
  • At the top, click Add a printer or scanner.
  • Wait for Windows to scan your device for the printer. If Windows detects it, click on it when it appears in the search list. If it can’t locate your printer, click The printer that I want isn’t listed instead.
  • In the Add Printer wizard, choose the relevant option for your device. If it’s a wireless printer, select Add a Bluetooth, wireless or network discoverable printer and click Next to continue. 
  • Select My printer is a little older if your printer is older (for instance, if it doesn’t use USB).
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for your type of printer to begin the installation. You can also use the Windows Device Manager to locate or update your drivers. To do that, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Device Manager
  • In Device Manager, look for the Printers category. If you can’t see your printer listed here, click View > Show hidden devices or look for your device under Other devices instead.
  • Right-click on your device and click Update driver
  • Click Search automatically for updated driver software in the window that appears afterward.
  • Windows will search online for relevant drivers for your printer and, if found, install them automatically. If Windows can’t find your printer, you’ll need to locate and install the missing printer drivers yourself.

    Look for your printer model in the downloads or support sections of your manufacturer’s website, and download the latest driver package for your device.

  • Once you have the latest drivers for your printer, you can then return to Device Manager, right-click on your device, then click Update driver > Browse my computer for driver software instead. Alternatively, your manufacturer may provide an installer to install your drivers for you automatically.

Set As Default Printer

If you have multiple printers installed, you may have some issues when you come to print a document. Setting your new printer as the default Windows printer can fix these issues, preventing you from accidentally sending printed documents to the wrong printer.

  • To set your printer as the default Windows printer, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Settings
  • In Settings, click Devices > Printers & Scanners. You’ll need to uncheck the Allow Windows to manage my default printer checkbox, or you won’t be able to set a default printer yourself.
  • Once this setting has been disabled, click on your printer and click Manage.
  • In your printer management settings, click Set as default to make it the default Windows printer.

If your printer configuration is correct, you should be able to begin printing from this printer. This will be the default option whenever you choose to print.

Run The Windows 10 Troubleshooter

If your printer still doesn’t work after following these steps, running the Windows 10 Troubleshooter could resolve the printer problem. This checks your printer configuration and guides you through some additional steps to get your printer up and running.

  • To launch the Windows 10 Troubleshooter for your printer, right-click your Windows Start menu. 
  • Click Settings, then Update & Security > Troubleshoot. 
  • In the Troubleshoot section, under Get up and running, click Printer
  • Click Run the troubleshooter to begin.
  • You’ll need to select your printer from the list provided. Select the relevant printer, or select My printer is not listed, then click Next to proceed.

Windows will then begin searching through your printer configuration and any relevant Windows settings to search for conflicts. If any printer problems are detected, Windows will ask you for permission to apply the relevant fix to get your printer working.

Resolving Your Windows 10 Printer Problems

These tips aren’t exhaustive, but these instructions should help you resolve some of the more common setup problems that Windows 10 printers sometimes throw up for users.

If you still face issues setting up and using your printer, try removing your printer or reinstalling the printer driver as your next step before contacting your manufacturer’s customer support team.