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Hewlett Packard (HP) Drivers
Installing new HP drivers involves a different process than installing updated device drivers for your other hardware devices. Normally, when you need to install or update a new driver, you’d go into Device Manager and take care of it there.
However, you may have noticed that printers are not listed in any of the categories. If you need to update a printer driver such as an HP driver, you will need to bypass the Device Manager and head directly to the Control Panel.
Go into the Control Panel and find the Printer icon, double-clicking it to see its contents. Now, find your HP printer in the list and right-click it. Choose Properties.
The dialog box that you’ll see will be fairly complex with multiple tabs and options. When you are working with an HP driver, the tab you’ll be most interested in is the Advanced tab.
In this section, you’ll see an area covering the HP driver. In this example, you’ll see that the HP driver is an HP Deskjet 6980 series driver. What if you want to use a different HP driver? You can click the down arrow and choose other currently installed device drivers though unless you’ve installed other compatible drivers, the list may not be terribly useful. Instead, click on the New Driver button. This launches the Add Printer Driver Wizard.
This wizard will walk you through the various steps involved in adding a new printer driver including a new HP driver. First, the wizard creates a list of printer manufacturers. Scroll through the list until you find HP.
Clicking HP will populate the right side pane with related HP drivers. Scroll through until you find the one that matches your HP printer. If you have a disk or have downloaded the HP driver earlier, click the Have Disk button instead. Follow the wizard’s prompts to install the selected HP printer.
If this wizard does not list a driver for your HP printer or for the series that matches your printer, you’ll need to either use the supplied device driver on CD or download a fresh driver from the HP website.
HP’s website is loaded with updated device drivers for HP and Compaq products. If you need an updated HP driver, this website should be your first stop. The HP printer driver page is located here: HP Support
You’ll find updated drivers for all of the supported HP and Compaq printers. First, find your product in the list and click it. Next, choose your language in the drop-down text box.
Now, choose your operating system. This used to be easy; you either had a Windows or Mac and you knew the operating system. These days, if you have Windows Vista, that’s not good enough. You need to know which version of Vista you have: Business, Home (Basic or Premium), Enterprise, Ultimate, or Starter. Even if you know which version, you’ll need to take it to the next level: 32-bit or 64-bit version.
It’s important to select the right operating system because each HP driver is written for communicating with your specific operating system. Download the wrong version and you’ll get unexpected, and unsatisfactory results.
Once you find the HP driver on the HP website, compare its version number to the version on your computer. To do this, move away from the Advanced tab of the printer properties dialog box and click the About tab. You’ll see the version number at the top.
Installing or updating an HP driver for your HP printer isn’t difficult, it’s just different than what you may be used to with other devices. Remember, anytime you need to work with the printer drivers, go straight to the Control Panel and find the Printers icon. Who knows exactly why other than Microsoft, but printers have their own system for dealing with device drivers. This system is completely separate from the Device Manager.