Easy Computer Basics, Windows 10 Edition (2016)
Chapter 3. Connecting Peripherals and Other Devices
If you just purchased a brand-new, right-out-of-the-box personal computer, it probably came equipped with all the components you could ever desire—or so you think. At some point in the future, however, you might want to expand your system—by adding a printer, a webcam, a USB hub, or something equally new and exciting.
Everything that’s hooked up to your PC is connected via some type of port. A port is simply an interface between your PC and another device, either internal (inside your PC’s system unit) or external (via a connector on the back of the system unit). Different types of hardware connect via different types of ports.
Connecting Devices via USB
Most external devices—including printers and smartphones—connect to your PC via USB. This is a type of connection common on computers and other electronic devices; it carries data and provides power for some connected devices. USB is popular because it’s so easy to use. All you have to do is connect a device via USB and your computer should automatically recognize it.
Connect one end of the USB cable to your new device.
Connect the other end of the cable to a free USB port on your PC.
USB, which stands for universal serial bus, is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s. There have been multiple versions of USB to date. All USB cables use similar connectors, but each successive version transmits data faster than previous versions. The most common version is USB 3.0, although USB 2.0 ports and cables are still common. The latest, USB-C, is just beginning to show up in new hardware.
Tip: USB Hubs
If you connect too many USB devices, you can run out of USB connectors on your PC. If that happens, buy an add-on USB hub, which lets you plug multiple USB peripherals into a single USB port.
Connecting a Printer
Most printers today connect to your computer via an easy-to-use USB cable. After you’ve connected the printer, you can then configure it from within Windows.
Connect one end of a USB cable to the USB port on your printer.
Connect the other end of the USB cable to a USB port on your system unit.
Connect the printer’s power cable to a power outlet.
Note: Older Printers
Many older printers used a different type of connection cable, called a parallel cable. Newer printers use USB connections because they can be connected without powering down, as was required with parallel connections. (In addition, USB cables are a lot thinner than parallel cables, which saves on space.)
You must now install the printer within Windows. Click the Start button to display the Start menu.
Click Settings to display the Settings window.
In the left-hand column, make sure Printers & Scanners is selected.
Scroll to the Printers section. If your printer is not listed, click the Add a Printer or Scanner button and let Windows search for it.
Connecting Your PC to Your TV
If you want to watch Internet streaming video (from Netflix and other services) on your TV, you can simply connect your TV to your personal computer via HDMI cable. Connected this way, anything you watch on your PC will display on your TV screen.
Connect one end of an HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your computer.
Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to an open HDMI connector on your TV.
HDMI, which stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, has become the connection standard for high-definition TVs. Most TV sets today have two or more HDMI inputs, typically used to connect cable boxes, Blu-ray players, and the like. HDMI transmits both audio and video signals.
Note: Mini HDMI Connectors
Not all PCs have HDMI ports. Some have mini HDMI connectors, which require the use of a special HDMI cable with a mini plug on one end and a standard plug on the other.
Switch your TV to the HDMI input you connected to. Your computer screen should now appear on your TV display.
To view programming full-screen, click the full-screen button in the app or window you’re viewing.