Printer Driver Causing Your Printing Issues? - dummies

Printer Driver Causing Your Printing Issues?

By Dan Gookin

If you are trying to troubleshoot Windows PC printing issues, the printer driver might be the culprit. Like most things in a computer, your printer requires both hardware and software to function. The printer itself is the hardware. The software is a printer driver that controls the printer, helping Windows talk to the printer and cajole it into printing things in a pleasing manner.

The printer driver is installed when you first set up or add the printer. To check on the printer driver, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Printers window or Printers and Faxes window where printers dwell.

    It can be the Devices and Printers window in Windows 7, the Printers window in Windows Vista, or the Printers and Faxes window in Windows XP.

  2. Right-click a printer icon.

    • In Windows 7, choose Printer Properties from the menu.

      Windows 7 also has a Properties command for your printer, but it’s not the command you want.

    • In Windows Vista and Windows XP, choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

  3. In the printer’s Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

    The Advanced tab in the printer’s Properties dialog box lists the current driver associated with the printer.


    The name of the printer driver should match your printer. If not, you can reset the driver by choosing another one from the Driver drop-down list button in the middle of the dialog box.

  4. Close the printer’s Properties dialog box when you’re done.

If the driver is all screwed up, the best solution is to delete the printer: Choose its icon in the window and choose Delete This Printer from the toolbar or task list. Then use the Add As Printer button or link to add the printer again.

Changing or updating a printer driver is one surefire way to cure those frustrating, otherwise-impossible-to-solve printer problems.