All you Need to Know about Downloading and Installing Printer Drivers
Windows-based PCs have been the lifeline of many businesses over the years, and that trend is showing no signs of changing. On the heels of the emergence of this came the need for printers to make hard copies of digitally stored documents, and in turn the need for printer drivers to make them work properly.
What is a Printer Driver?
A printer driver is nothing more than a program installed in the operating system which converts data, so that other programs in the PC can communicate with the printer. Said communication can be facilitated through cables or a wireless network connection. As long as you have the right driver for your printer, it will give you the exact printout that you initiated from the PC. This would be an exact copy of the document that is in the software you used. Often the printer not printing is found to be caused by the absence of the right driver.
How a Printer Driver Works
After you have successfully installed a printer’s driver, you are done connecting the printer to a Windows PC. Any prompts you make to the printer get sent via the PC software, assuming the connection works fine. After this, the printing process starts and completes properly. Barring hitches, this setup generally needs to be made only once in a printer’s lifetime, unless you reinstall your OS or uninstall the printer driver, that is.
Printer Driver Types
- Cloud Drivers: Of these, the most common one you see these days is the Google Cloud Print application. The cloud driver lets you print to just about any printer, but for this to work, you need the software application to recognize cloud-based instructions, as well as for the device you are using to be connected to the same cloud network. These drivers make the job of printing easier the first time around, because you don’t need to have any others installed in your PC. The only catch is that you need to be connected to the internet, and both the printer and the PC need to be registered with a working Google account. Cloud drivers are not that common in the office setting.
- Device Printer Drivers: These drivers are unlike cloud drivers in that they require actual software-to-hardware communication. Device printer drivers are what you normally see used in operating systems. You have Printer Control Language (PCL), which is used mainly to control HP Deskjet and Laserjet printers, which is completely device dependent, and has support on many OSes. This enables fast printing, and can finish most printing works.
Installing a Printer Driver on a Desktop or Laptop
For this to be done properly, the following steps need to be performed.
- Open Windows and look up Change Device Installation Settings.
- Choose Yes, and then hit Save.
- Link the printer to the PC using the USB cable that came with the former.
- Search for and open Devices and Printers, or wait for it to pop up as a prompt after connecting the hardware.
- Choose Add Printer.
- Choose Add a Local Printer.
- You will now see a prompt to select the port that you wish to use for the new printer; just choose Use an Existing Port.
- Choose Next.
This will bring up the Add a Printer Wizard on the PC. Follow through to install the printer driver. Pick between a wireless and USB connection as needed. Shared printers are mostly on wireless networks, so accordingly pick that, or not.
If That Does Not Work
You may see that the above procedure did not work, or you have a completely different OS from what you need for it to pan out. The best thing to do in such cases is simply install the driver by running the setup file made by the printer manufacturer for that particular model of printer. In order to install, you first need to make out the type of printer you are going to be using, and then go online and look it up using the model number and name. Pretty soon you should have the latest driver file with you.
To do this right, you will need the compatible driver, and to get that, you must search with the version of your operating system as one of the keywords. On top of that, you must also specify whether the OS is a 64-bit or 32-bit version. While some installations can go right regardless of which bit-version you are running, it is safe not to lean overly on that possibility.
Perhaps you won’t need to go through all this trouble—oftentimes the printer package comes with a CD included that has an umbrella driver, which works for multiple operating systems. It is only when this is not enough that you are faced with the need to go online and download the right driver, or failing that, call and tell us that your printer does not print the way it’s supposed to.