So you have your printer all set up and ready to print. You’ve decided to go the wireless route: connect your printer to the PC and queue jobs wherever you want. Correctly. There’s just one problem: the printer gives you a “enter the WPS PIN for your printer” message and refuses to connect to the PC or the router without it. You have no idea what this means and you get a little excited. Don’t worry, it’s a common item on the HP Printer Error Code list, and we’re going to explain it all to you.
What does WPS stand for and why do you need it?
WPS is short for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, and it’s a really fancy way of describing a password that your printer’s PC/router asks to know that nothing crazy is going on. The WPS pin is to the printer what the wireless password is to the router: Just as you need the Wi-Fi key to connect a PC, smartphone or tablet to your router, you need the WPS pin to connect the HP printer to the router . And since you’ll be working wirelessly, it’s probably a good idea to check out our guide to finding the HP printer’s IP address.
HPUserManualGuide Tip: While the WPS pin on the HP printer and good old-fashioned Wi-Fi passwords have some similarities, there’s a catch. With WPS pins, there is often a very limited time to enter the PIN before it becomes invalid. Most printers give you 90 seconds to enter an issued PIN, and if you weren’t fast enough, you’ll have to repeat the process again.
The two different types of WPS available
Depending on the printer model you have and the device you connect it to, you generally have two ways to get your WPS up and running. One involves simply pressing a WPS button on the printer, while the other is a bit trickier and requires you to access the computer/router settings. And while pressing a button certainly sounds easier than tinkering with the options, things are rarely that simple when it comes to troubleshooting HP printers.
Using a “WPS Button” to Connect Your HP Printer
As we mentioned, your printer usually has a WPS button as part of the interface, and pressing it will automatically connect the printer to the router. However, this depends on whether you have correctly set up the printer beforehand.
During the installation process of your HP printer, your computer will prompt you to enter the HP printer’s WPS pin, which will either be displayed on the printer’s LCD screen or on an automatically printed sheet. This is where the 90-second part comes in: if you miss the window, you’ll need to restart the setup and get a new WPS pin from the printer interface for the button to work.
Provided you have configured the WPS button, you can easily access it from the HP printer interface screen. Depending on the model, it will be located in the ‘Wireless’ or ‘Settings’ section (you can find the model in the HP Printer Manuals section).
Using a “WPS pin” to connect your HP printer
This option means that you can access the router from your computer and enter the WPS pin there. If you take into account the ticking of the clock mentioned above, it’s actually not such a bad alternative. Additionally, our guide to setting up a wireless HP printer describes some of these steps in more detail.
After connecting your printer to the computer, log in to the router by typing 192.168.1.1 into the address bar of the browser. Your router must have a WPS compatibility option with the printer you just installed, and there must be a WPS pin option in the router’s web interface. Use the steps above to get your printer’s WPS pin, enter it into the router’s interface and save it. This should now allow a wireless connection between the three devices (computer, router and printer) without having to press a button each time. If you think this is complicated, wait until you know how to clear the memory on the HP printer.
If the WPS configuration doesn’t work, try the HP Smart app
The steps above are a bit cumbersome, which is why HP has gone to great lengths to create a smart app. How nice of them! With any luck, this smart app will know where to find the WPS pin on the HP printer without forcing you to use a timer, access the router, and do all that other stuff when you just want to print.
You can download the HP Smart App from several places, such as HP’s own download section or the Microsoft Store page. Then just ask, “Where can I find the WPS pin on my HP printer?” and it will answer like a genie from a bottle. While it sounds dandy, it doesn’t always work that way, and the app doesn’t support all printers and all operating systems. But if you’re looking for the easiest way, this might be a good option to try and see if your PC, router, and printer are all compatible with the smart app.
If nothing works, try updating the drivers
The printer configuration is not working properly. The LCD does not show the WPS pin for the HP printer. The router will not accept it. The HP Smart app does nothing. You are in the entire HP Printer Not Printing business. Don’t worry, you may just need to update your printer drivers before trying the steps above. For Windows, go to the HP Software and Driver Downloads section, find your printer model and get the latest drivers.
If you use Mac, go to the Apple AirPrint (macOS and OS X) section for a detailed explanation of how AirPrint works without the need for drivers. Yes, they will also tell you how to find the WPS pin on an HP printer on a Mac. They might even answer the age-old heartwarming question: Why is my HP printer offline?