How to Update Printer Drivers

Drivers cause a lot of headaches for a lot of people. Outdated or corrupt drivers can cause your PC to become unstable and crash. Updated drivers can contain bug fixes, stability improvements, and even new features and capabilities. When it comes to your printer, you need to update drivers primarily if you're running a new version of an operating system or if you experience printing problems. I'll use Windows 7 to show you how to find an outdated printer, and I'll show you how to download the updated one from the manufacturer's Website using HP.com as an example.

Step by Step: Discovering an Outdated Printer Driver

Step 1 Open the Windows 'Devices and Printers' panel by clicking the Start button, typing devices and printers in the search box, and pressing Enter. A list of all available printers on the system will appear.

Printer error

Step 2 If your printer has a yellow exclamation-point icon on it, or if it does not appear at all, downloading new drivers is necessary. Of course, you can also download new drivers even if Windows reports that nothing is wrong with the printer, because the update may fix bugs you have not yet encountered.

Step by Step: Updating an Outdated Printer Driver

Step 1 To update the printer drivers, first confirm the model of your printer. You can usually find the name or number on the printer itself, or in the 'Devices and Printers' panel that you opened earlier.

Step 2 Go to your printer manufacturer's Website; in our example, we're going to HP.com. Click Support & Drivers, select the Download drivers and software (and firmware) button, and type the name and number of your printer into the search bar. Click the Go button.

Step 3 In the next section, select your operating system version to get the latest correct driver. Once you have chosen the operating system, click to download the driver under the 'Driver' heading.

Select the right driver for your OS

Step 4 After you have downloaded the driver, run the installer to complete the setup. A reboot may be required in some cases, but afterward your printer will have the latest driver version that its manufacturer offers.

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