Windows 7 - What to Do If Your Printer Isn’t Listed

If your printer isn’t detected with Plug and Play and isn’t listed in the printer manufacturer and model selection list discussed in the previous section, you’ll have to find a driver elsewhere. First, your printer probably came with a CD-ROM containing driver software. In the printer manufacturer selection dialog box, click Have Disk, and then click Browse to find the Windows 7 driver files for your printer. Select the appropriate INF file and click OK. If you can’t find the disk or if it doesn’t contain a Windows 7 driver, don’t worry; there’s still hope. Windows Vista, XP, and Windows 2000 drivers are compatible, and your disk most likely has drivers for these OSs.

Virtually all printers manufactured since the late 1990s have Windows XP– or Windows 2000–compatible drivers, and many earlier printers are supported as well. The Windows Update button lets Windows download additional printer drivers from Microsoft, and this may well obtain the correct driver for you. If Windows Update doesn’t help, your next step should be to visit the printer manufacturer’s website. Check out their Product Support section, and look for a way to locate and download drivers. If you can find an appropriate driver, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for downloading it. It will probably come as a compressed or executable file that has to be expanded or run, and this will put the installation files into a folder on your hard drive. You can then use the “Have Disk” feature discussed earlier to point Windows to this folder.

If neither Microsoft nor the manufacturer provides a driver, hope is fading. Still, some off-brand printers or models are designed to be compatible with one of the popular printer types, such as the Apple LaserWriters, HP LaserJets, or one of the Epson series. Also, many printer models are very similar and can use the same driver (with mostly correct results). Check the product manual or manufacturer’s website to see if your printer supports an emulation mode. This might help you identify an alternative printer model, and you can try its driver. Assuming that you have obtained a printer driver, follow these instructions to install it:

1. If you obtained a driver by downloading it from the Internet, run the downloaded file. This will either install the drivers directly or “expand” or “unzip” a set of files into a location on your hard disk. Take note of the location.

2. Follow steps 1 through 4 in the preceding section.

3. Click the Have Disk button.

4. You’re now prompted to insert a disk. Click the Browse button. If you downloaded the driver, locate the folder in which the driver files were expanded or unzipped. If you have a CD, insert the CD, wait a few moments, then browse to the driver files on the CD.
The wizard is looking for a file with an .inf extension, which is the standard file extension the installer setup file provided with all drivers. You may have to hunt around a bit to find a folder with drivers for Windows 7, Vista, or XP.

5. When you have located the folder with INF files, click OK. You might have to choose a printer model from a list if multiple options exist.

6. Continue through the wizard dialog boxes as explained in the previous section.

Use the Internet to see if other people have run into the same problem and have found a solution. For instance, you might use Google to search for “Windows 7 printer driver manufacturer model”, substituting in the manufacturer’s name and model number. However, don’t download a driver from some random site: It could be infected with a virus. Download drivers only from a credible corporate or institutional website.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth

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