By Dan Bouchard
“I’ve been printing to this printer for years and now all of a sudden my files won’t print.” Does this sound familiar? If so, baring a mechanical malfunction in your printer, the most probable cause for this problem is an old or corrupt print driver. Symptoms: Very slow printing, garbled text, missing elements or not printing at all. All of these can be effects of your print driver gone bad.
A print or printer driver is a small program that allows your software application to communicate with your printer. If this program is out of date or ends up getting corrupted, your once simple task of click / print, turns into one more headache to deal with in your busy day.
“But I haven’t changed anything.” This may not be completely true. The driver must be able to “talk” to A) your printer, B) your software application and C) your operating system. A small change in any of these could spell doom for your print driver. For instance, has your Windows operating system gone through an update lately? Since Microsoft issues Windows updates on a regular basis, and most people have automatic updates turned on, chances are it has. Has your application vendor issued any patches or updates? Although it would be unlikely that you would get an update to an application without knowing, it’s possible especially in Microsoft Office. Have you had a mechanic in lately to work on your printer? If so, it’s possible that he installed some new “firmware” on your printer rendering your current driver unusable. Have you installed new software of any kind on your system? This can wreak havoc on print drivers.
If your driver is corrupt, usually reinstalling the driver will be sufficient to correct the problem; however it is a good idea to make sure you have the most recent driver installed. Given the fact that you have to install it anyway, it would be a good idea to go to the printer manufacture’s web site and download the most recent driver. All printer manufacturers update their drivers on a regular basis and make them available for download. Installing a new driver is a fairly straight forward process and the website should have instructions for installation of your particular driver. Just remember to uninstall your current driver prior to installing the new one.
For something that was originally designed to be a simple tool, print drivers have evolved to be very complicated programs. The nice thing is, updates are free to download and can contain new features. Don’t fool around with old drivers. For better, faster printing, the latest driver is the best driver.
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