What is a printer driver?
A printer driver is a computer program than enables software to communicate with a printer. Every brand of printer has specific software that it uses, based on its operating system, that converts data to be printed to a form specific to the printer.
If printer drivers are outdated, your printer might not work as intended until you download and install the most recent update.
How to update printer drivers
The method for updating your printer drivers will depend on the operating system you have, so the best thing to do is check your manual or the printer manufacturer’s website.
However, to update a printer driver on Windows 10 follow these steps:
- 1. Go to Control Panel
- 2. Click on ‘Hardware and Sound’
- 3. Click on ‘Device Manager’ to show all of the connected hardware on your machine – look for the ‘Printers’ drop-down which will contain any relevant printers
- 4. Right click the printer you want to update the drivers on and click ‘Update driver’
- 5. Choose whether to search for drivers automatically or manually – choose automatically unless you have already downloaded the latest drivers or have them on external storage
- 6. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, you can look for one yourself on the manufacturer’s website and download before installing manually
- 7. Run the installer to complete the set-up.
If you’re running Windows 7, the printer driver update process is slightly different:
- 1. Go to Control Panel
- 2. Search for ‘Device Manager’ and click it in the results to show all of the connected hardware on your machine
- 3. Find your connected printer in the list of devices – it’ll usually be under ‘Ports (COM and LPT)’ or ‘Universal Serial Bus’
- 4. Right click the printer and open up ‘Properties’
- 5. Choose the ‘Driver’ tab and click ‘Update Driver’ – choosing to find new drivers automatically or locally on your computer
Checking your printer’s manufacturer website for printer driver updates is simple. For example, if you have a Lexmark printer, you can find your recommended driver on the support page, as you can with Xerox and Samsung printers.
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Why learn how to update a printer driver?
If you want to run a new version of an operating system or are experiencing problems with your printer, you’ll need to know how to update your printer driver.
This is something that printer manufacturers do from time to time, as just like computer programs, drivers have to be updated to fix bugs and add additional features.
Drivers help the computer and the operating system communicate, so it is essential that their software is kept up-to-date. If the driver becomes corrupted, the computer may crash.
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How is a universal printer driver useful?
Universal printer drivers are useful if a business has many computers of different ages, especially if they use different operating systems, as print drivers are often operating system-specific.
It is worth noting that some of the most modern machines are not compatible with operating systems as young as three years old.
If you need any advice on printer software or are still struggling to update your printer driver, contact our experts on 0800 840 1992 or visit our website today.