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Resolving HP Printer Driver Problems for Windows XP

March 23rd, 2011 No comments

If you’re a long time user of Windows XP and you don’t want to upgrade to the newer versions of Microsoft’s operating system, then you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. A whopping 44% of all PCs accessing the internet still run this venerable OS today. As reliable as it is, Windows XP is indeed starting to show its age, especially in the realm of compatibility with the latest hardware, be they sound cards, CD or DVD drives, or even printers.

This has become especially apparent for some Windows XP users who may be having trouble getting the newest printers from HP to work with their PCs. If you’re one such user, then you need not replace your printer or operating system just yet. Here are a few things you can try to resolve your HP printer driver issues.

Updating Windows

Because of its continued popularity, Microsoft still provides support for Windows XP in the form of updates. These generally improve security and functionality and also help keep the operating system compatible with the latest devices by expanding the number of installed hardware drivers in the system. Consequently some of the newest devices, HP printers included, will require that certain updates be installed. You can check for updates for your copy of Windows XP here. If you haven’t bought your HP printer yet and want to know for certain if Windows XP supports it, check out the Windows Catalog of supported hardware components here.

Finding the Right Driver

Drivers and proprietary software for different operating systems are included with any HP printer you purchase. This is no different for Windows XP. Instructions for how to install the driver and printer should be clearly stated. However, there are times when the provided driver might not seem to function properly.

The first thing you should do is to check if it installed properly in the first place.You can do this in two ways. First, you can access the Control Panel and select the Add/Remove Programs function and check if the driver software is listed there. If it is and the printer still refuses to work, try uninstalling the driver and then reinstalling it again.

Another method is to access the Device Manager by right-clicking on the My Computer Icon, selecting Properties, and the clicking the Hardware tab. Click the Device Manager button in this window to reveal all the devices detected by your system. When connected and turned on, your printer should be on the list, along with a diagnostic status from the system, telling you if it is in working order or not. If the driver is missing or improperly installed, it will display a message saying that no drivers could be found for the printer.

If you think that the drivers packaged with your printer are not functioning or outdated, then you could try downloading an updated version from HP’s website here, as well as updates for printer firmware that could increase your device’s efficiency and extend its lifetime.