How to buy a printer. What to look for in purchasing a new printer.

Table of Contents

Printer Cost

Basic overview of the ranges of printer costs. It all changed in 2019 when the Pandemic hit and millions of people bought (or tried to buy) printers to set up a home office.

Pandemic of 2019
Before After
$30 $100 Cheap, basic, low-end printer. Used to cost as much as an ink cartridge.
$80 $150 Mid-range home printer. Low-end office printer.
$150 $250 Quality home printer. Mid-range office printer.

Printers are almost disposable items. Sometimes they only last 3 years. Expected life is 3-7 years. If you get 10, you’re very lucky.

Ink Costs.

To know how much your printer is really going to cost, you have to figure in ink costs.

For each printer you’re looking up, it will tell you which ink it uses.

Look in the store, or online, how much that ink costs.

And how many pages they say it will print.

Pages per ink cartridge can vary from 100 to 2,500 so it’s a huge difference.

If the documentation of the ink cartridge does not say how many pages, that’s a bad sign. Assume 100 pages.

You will have to guess/estimate how many pages you print per month/year.

If you divide Ink Price / Pages it will print, you get cost per page

Worst Best

Touch Control Panel

Here’s a big, beautiful touch-screen control panel:


I suggest a touch control panel, these days. It will cost a little more, but it comes in handy in one specific instance.

You will need to set up your WiFi on the printer so it can communicate wirelessly with your PC and your phone. During that process, you will likely have to supply your WiFi password, or wireless network key.

That could be 10 letters long, or more.

With a touch-screen control panel, you can just touch the letters and numbers you want to enter.

Otherwise you have to scroll up and down to get to the letters. Much more difficult.

Or if the printer does not even have that sophisticated a setup, you might need to connect it to your PC or phone, maybe through the manufacturer’s app, to set up WiFi.

In general, people find the touch control panel more intuitive.

Also, the bigger the better, of course it costs a little more.

Lighted Control Panel

If your control panel is “touch” it is also lighted, so you’re good.

If you’re considering a model that is not touch, that’s ok, but I would still recommend lighted. Ie LED (light emitting diode) rather than LCD (liquid crystal display).

An LCD (non-lighted) control panel screen requires light from the room to illuminate the screen. Depending on your lighting ocnditions, you might even need a flashlight to read the control panel. That’s a pain.

So I recommend a control panel that emits its own light.

Here’s an example of a non-lighted, LCD panel.

non-lighted control panel

Automatic Document Feeder

For faxing and copying, there are 2 ways to feed the page to the printer/copier/fax.

Open the lid and put the paper face down on the glass is the basic way.

(Note: if your printer is not ALSO a scanner, ie multi-function, or All-In-One (AIO), then it might not have a cover and a glass surface in the first place. Only low-end printers don’t have a scanner too.)

The other method is the “automatic document feeder” (ADF) which is a contraption on top of the printer where you place a printed page, usually face up, and it sucks it in and copies it or faxes it.

Most often, if it has an ADF, you also still have the option of opening it up and putting your page on the glass if you want to.

Here’s pictures of 2 very similar Canon printers, one without, and one with, an automatic document feeder.


no automatic document feeder


with automatic document feeder

Automatic Two-Sided Printing

All printers can print two-sided, also called duplex printing.

The catch is do you have to remove the paper and put it back in, usually upside down, for the printer to print the back page.

I suggest looking for one that does this automatically, meaning, after printing one side of the page, it either keeps the paper inside, or sometimes sucks it back in, and prints the second side for you.

Cheap printers don’t have this, mid-range and up do have it.

You usually have to look deeper, and check the specs to find out if this feature is provided.


All-In-One printers sometimes have the fax function, sometimes not. I guess “All” doesnt mean what it used to.

Faxing, in Feb 2021 is less popular, but still out there.

If you need it, you will often have to look deeper, and check the specs to find out if it’s included.

Note, you will need to route a phone cable to this printer for faxing to work. That usually means you’ll need a phone jack near the printer. Or you’ll be running many feet of wire around your rooms.

Of course, this assumes you still have land line phone service. If not, then you can’t use “fax”. You’ll need some online service instead. Or scan and email your documents. Or take a picture of them and text or fax them. Or use a friend’s fax. Or go to a staples/fedex type store and have them fax them for you.


Especially during the 2019-2020 Pandemic, shipping can be a factor.

Free or cost? How much?

And in a few days, or a few weeks.

Vendors are finding it hard (2019-Feb 2021 at least) to keep printers in stock.

Windows 10 set network private (defaults to public)

When you are on your home network (not at a coffee shop, or airport, or library) it is safe to set your network to PRIVATE on your Windows 10 PC. You can do this for your WiFi network. There are just you and the people in your building on your network, so it is safe.

To get started doing this, click on the Network icon in the system tray in the lower right of the screen.


First double check that you are, in fact, on your HOME network that you are changing. Otherwise it is dangerous to set your network to private. Check that as shown in this picture:

Click on some blank area the background to get out of this.

Now RIGHT click on this same network icon,


It should bring up a little context menu. Left click on Open Network & Internet Settings


That should open a settings window. Double check here, again, that this is your HOME NETWORK.

If so, click on Change Connection Properties


In the resulting settings page, if it is Public, which is often the default, click Private

X out this window, and you should be all set.

Windows Aero Taskbar Icon Hover Thumbnail Threshold to Show List

Below threshold Windows Aero will show thumbnails. But over threshold, because the thumbnails would be too small, it’ll show list instead.



to DWORD(32bit) 10 or whatever number you want.

Reference: : Windows 10: Change Taskbar Thumbnail Threshold to Show List in Windows 10

A Comprehensive (and I mean comprehensive) Security Recommendation

A Comprehensive (and I mean comprehensive) Security Recommendation is a comprehensive security site with help from experts even for non-techies.

Here’s a post from one of those experts with just about every security recommendation he could think of:

Please take the time to read below on how to secure the machine and take the necessary steps to keep it Clean.



  • It is possible for programs on your computer to have security vulnerability that can allow malware to infect you.
  • Therefore, it is also a good idea to check for the latest versions of commonly installed applications that are regularly patched to fix vulnerabilities.
  • You can check these by visiting Secunia Software Inspector or you can use the following application for this purpose PatchMyPC.
  • You may take a look at UCheck as well.

Visit Microsoft’s Windows Update Site Frequently

  • It is important that you check for Windows Updates regularly.
  • This will ensure your computer has always the latest security updates available installed on your computer.
  • If there are new updates to install, install them immediately, reboot your computer, and revisit the site until there are no more critical updates.



Here are a few additional steps on how to remove all of the tools we used:

  • Please download Delfix.exe by Xplode and save it to your desktop.
  • Please start it and check the box next to “Remove disinfection tools” and uncheck the rest and click on the run button.
  • The tool will delete itself once it finishes.

Note: If any tool, file, log file or folder (belonging to the program we have used) hasn’t been deleted, please delete it manually.


You can delete the following folders:

C:\ProgramData\HitmanPro => to delete the leftovers from HitmanPro
C:\EEK => to delete the leftovers from EmsisoftEmergencyKit

C:\Users\tierz\AppData\Local\ESET => to delete the leftovers from Eset Online Scanner

I suggest you leave Malwarebytes installed for on-demand scans but if you want to uninstall it then you can use this tool



Keep your antivirus software turned on and up-to-date

  • New viruses come out every minute, so it is essential that you have the latest signatures for your antivirus program to provide you with the best possible protection from malicious software.
  • Note: You should only have one antivirus installed at a time. Having more than one antivirus program installed at once is likely to cause conflicts and may well decrease your overall protection as well as impairing the performance of your PC.
  • Note2: You should scan your computer with an antimalware program like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware on a regular basis just as you would an antivirus software. Be sure to check for and download any definition updates prior to performing a scan. Also keep in mind that MBAM is not a replacement for antivirus software, it is meant to complement the protection provided by a full antivirus product and is designed to detect the threats that are missed by most antivirus software.


Be prepared for CryptoLocker and similar threats:

Since the prevention is better than cure you can purchase a license for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (because Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit are also included in the Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3) or try a free program such as Kaspersky Antiransomware for business.

In addition to whatever you choose to use I would suggest you to add CryptoPrevent to supplement them to secure the PC against these lockers. Also make regular backups of your important documents.

You can use a standard user account with UAC enabled. If you need administrative privileges to perform some tasks, then you can use Run As or log on as the administrator account for that specific task.


Practice Safe Internet

One of the main reasons people get infected in the first place is that they are not practicing Safe Internet. You practice Safe Internet when you educate yourself on how to properly use the Internet through the use of security tools and good practice. Knowing how you can get infected and what types of files and sites to avoid will be the most crucial step in keeping your computer malware free. The reality is that the majority of people who are infected with malware are ones who click on things they shouldn’t be clicking on. Whether these things are files or sites it doesn’t really matter. If something is out to get you, and you click on it, it most likely will.  Below are a list of simple precautions to take to keep your computer clean and running securely:

  • If you receive an attachment from someone you do not know, DO NOT OPEN IT! Simple as that. Opening attachments from people you do not know is a very common method for viruses or worms to infect your computer.
  • .zip, .exe, .com, .bat, .pif, .scr, .cmd, .cab .vbs or .js do not open the attachment unless you know for a fact that it is clean. For the casual computer user, you will almost never receive a valid attachment of this type.
  • If you receive an attachment from someone you know, and it looks suspicious, then it probably is. The email could be from someone you know infected with a malware that is trying to infect everyone in their address book.
  • If you are browsing the Internet and a popup appears saying that you are infected, ignore it!. These are, as far as I am concerned, scams that are being used to scare you into purchasing a piece of software. For an example of these types of popups, or Foistware, you should read this article:
    Foistware, And how to avoid it. There are also programs that disguise themselves as Anti-Spyware or security products but are instead scams.  For a list of these types of programs we recommend you visit this link: About Malwares, Rogues, Scarewares, SmitfraudFix
  • Another tactic to fool you on the web is when a site displays a popup that looks like a normal Windows message or alert. When you click on them, though, they instead bring you to another site that is trying to push a product on you. I suggest that you close these windows by clicking on the X instead of the OK button. Alternatively, you can check to see if it’s a real alert by right-clicking on the window. If there is a menu that comes up saying Add to Favorites… you know it’s a fake.
  • Do not go to adult sites. I know this may bother some of you, but the fact is that a large amount of malware is pushed through these types of sites. I am not saying all adult sites do this, but a lot do.
  • When using an Instant Messaging program be cautious about clicking on links people send to you. It is not uncommon for infections to send a message to everyone in the infected person’s contact list that contains a link to an infection. Instead when you receive a message that contains a link, message back to the person asking if it is legit before you click on it.
  • Stay away from Warez and Crack sites! In addition to the obvious copyright issues, the downloads from these sites are typically overrun with infections. Avoid using cracks and unknown programs from sources you don’t trust. There are MANY alternative open-source applications. Malware writers just love cracks and keygens, and will often attach malicious code into them. By using cracks and/or keygens, you are asking for problems. So my advice is – stay away from them!
  • Be careful of what you download off of web sites and Peer-2-Peer networks. Some sites disguise malware as legitimate software to trick you into installing them and Peer-2-Peer networks are crawling with it. If you want to download a piece of software a from a site, and are not sure if they are legitimate, you can use Bitdefender TrafficLight or Avira Browser Safety to look up info on the site. Note: skip this advice if your antivirus have a Web Guard.
  • DO NOT INSTALL any software without first reading the End User License Agreement, otherwise known as the EULA. A tactic that some developers use is to offer their software for free, but have spyware and other programs you do not want bundled with it. This is where they make their money. By reading the agreement there is a good chance you can spot this and not install the software.
  • You may want to install Unchecky to prevent adware bundled into many free programs to install.
  • Make the extensions for known file types visible: Be worried of files with a double extension such as image.jpg.exe. As a default setting, Windows often hides common file extensions, meaning that a program like image.jpg.exe will appear to you as simply image.jpg. Double extensions exploit this by hiding the second, dangerous extension and reassuring you with the first one.Check this out – Show or hide file name extensions.
  • Disable Autorun: It’s a good idea to disable the Autorun functionality to prevent spreading of the infections from USB flash drives. Check the article here for more information. Also you can install McShield – to prevent infections spread by removable media.
  • Disable and Windows Scripting Host: If you don’t use any script files then you can go ahead and disable Windows Scripting Host using the tool provided by Symantec – NoScript.exe. Simple download and run it and click on the Disable button and reboot the computer. If you need to run any js. or vbs scripts at a later stage you should run NoScript.exe again and select Enable, then reboot the computer.
  • Install Adblock Plus to surf the web without annoying ads!


Create an image of your system (you can use the built-in Windows software as well if you prefer)

  • Now when your pc is malware free it is a good idea to do a backup of all important files just in case something happens it.
  • Macrium Reflect is very good choice that enables you to create an image of your system drive which can be restored in case of problems.
  • The download link is here.
  • The tutorial on how to create an system image can be found here.
  • It’s a good idea to add Macrium to the boot menu to access it if Windows won’t start and you don’t have a Rescue CD.
  • The tutorial on how to restore an system image can be found here.
  • Be sure to read the tutorials first.


Follow this list and your potential for being infected again will reduce dramatically.


Safe Surfing !



Edited by B-boy/StyLe/, 28 March 2017 – 09:45 AM.