The printer is one of the external hardware elements that we most often use in a computer. Whether we are students, professionals or home users, having a printer always at hand can be of great help when making prints, especially if they are abundant. But, if we have a very old printer, we may have problems getting it to work in Windows 10.
The cause of our printer not working on our Windows 10 computer can be found in the drivers. They are small software utilities that will be in charge of giving our device a correct operation. If the printer is relatively new, surely Windows will take care of detecting it and configuring it automatically, but what if we have an old printer?
In this case, we will have to look for drivers ourselves that can make it work in the latest Microsoft operating system. That is why today we are going to help you when it comes to knowing what options we have available when looking for drivers so that our old printer works correctly in Windows 10.
Tips to keep in mind before starting
When it comes to locating the drivers for our printer, we must take into account some details that will help us locate them efficiently, such as the architecture of the operating system or the exact model of our printer.
32-bit or 64-bit operating system
The first thing we need to know is what operating system we have installed. The usual thing is that we use the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 10, so it is important to verify if our system is 32 or 64 bits. This is something we can do from the Control Panel.
To do this we write control panel in the search box next to the Start menu. Next, we click on “System and security” and finally on “System”. A new window will appear where we can see the type of operating system we have, if it is based on a 32-bit or 64-bit architecture.
Exact Printer Model
Another fact to take into account is to know the exact model of our printer, since without it we may not be able to find the appropriate driver. Normally this information is found in the box where we buy the device. As we may no longer have it, we must look at the printer itself if there is any sticker where it indicates the exact model of it.
Locate drivers for our printer model
When it comes to locating the drivers for our old printer, we can choose to use Windows Update, visit the manufacturer’s website or look for drivers that are signed by WQHL.
Detect the printer through Windows Update
Printer drivers are generally downloaded automatically and installed through Windows Update. In the case of our old printer, we must try to carry out this process manually.
To do this, in the search box on the taskbar, we type device manager and select it. A new window will open where we must go to the “Print queues” section and select our printer. Click on it with the right mouse button and select “Update driver”.
Finally, a new window will appear where we will select «Search for drivers automatically». In this way Windows will take care of looking for drivers on its own and if it finds it it will proceed to its installation and at the end we will be able to use our printer.
Go to the manufacturer’s website and download the official driver
In the event that Windows has not been able to find a driver for our printer on its own, we may choose to search for one on the website of the manufacturer of our device.
All printer brands have a section on their respective official websites where you can download drivers for all their models. It will only be necessary to look for our printer model and the page will show us the corresponding drivers or, in the absence of these, an explanation of the compatibility of the device with respect to each operating system.
Find and download compatible drivers
In the event that our printer is very old and we cannot find official drivers for our exact model, we can choose to download drivers for another model that may be compatible.
For example, let’s say we have a CANON MP240 printer. If we enter the company’s website, and look for the drivers for it, a screen will appear indicating that there are no drivers compatible with our operating system.
In this case, what we can do is look for a similar model of the CANON MP series that may have drivers compatible with our operating system. Now, if we look for the MP282 model on the CANON page, which is a more modern model, it does have drivers for Windows 10. On this occasion, we would download these drivers and check if they work with the MP240 model.
Problems Using a Compatible Printer Driver
In the event that we choose drivers that are compatible with our printer, it may work correctly but we may also encounter some problems during its use.
For example, if we want to print on a monochrome laser printer, the supported driver must use the same printer emulation to ensure that the document can be printed legibly, but it may not have the required duplex category.
We can also find problems with the input and output trays of the panel, as well as the default orientation of the paper input. We may also have trouble printing where subtle differences in text color are not preserved. This means that documents such as photos cannot be printed with high image quality.
Test with Windows 7 drivers
Another option that we have available to make our old printer work on a Windows computer is to choose to install the Windows 7 drivers. As we have verified, it is possible that our printer does not have official support for this version of Microsoft’s operating system, so we can try to install older ones.
Continuing with the example that we saw previously, we can see how the CANON MP240 printer does not have drivers for Windows 10 but it does have available for Windows 7. As both operating systems have a similar architecture, we can try to use these drivers to make it work in Windows 10.
Programs to download drivers
One way that can be comfortable for us to download the drivers of a very old printer is to use programs developed by third parties. These applications are responsible for finding all kinds of drivers for any device, so they can surely help us for our old printer.
Driver Genius Professional
It is a useful application with which we will be able to download all kinds of drivers for our computer. It is capable of recognizing more than 80,000 devices. In addition, it can quickly recognize the most up-to-date and specific drivers available for our system. It is capable of detecting devices such as the motherboard, sound card, video card, keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, among others. Its price is 24.77 euros, although we can download a free trial version from this link.
IObit Driver Booster
This program is responsible for analyzing our computer and checking internal and external connected components in order to download their latest drivers. To avoid possible conflicts, it only provides us with drivers that have passed Microsoft’s WHQL tests, downloading from the manufacturers’ official websites. IObit Driver Booster has a free version that we can download from its website. It also has a paid version, with which we can obtain a larger database for old and rare drivers.
This application will be in charge of helping us to obtain all the necessary drivers for the different hardware options of our computer. It will scan our system and look for drivers that we do not have installed or are outdated. Additionally, it can locate and repair corrupted drivers to ensure the best performance. Driver Talent has a free trial version that we can download from here. To use it permanently we must pay $ 19.95.