Where are All the Windows 7 Printer Drivers?

Posted on April 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm by Donna Warren

One of the most common complaints that I hear from PC owners is “Where are the windows 7 drivers for my hardware?”

Many of the same companies that just couldn’t seem to produce drivers for Vista haven’t done any better with Windows 7.

HP receives most of the printer driver complaints but when you consider that they also provide the majority of printers to the business community and a significant portion of the home user market, it isn’t all that surprising that they get the largest number of complaints.

To try and alleviate this problem HP provides a Universal printer driver. The only problem is that half the time it just doesn’t work.

When asked, HP doesn’t seem to have any answers for frustrated owners other than a blog post on why it is so hard to provide printer drivers.

According to HP,

“A printer driver is specific to the exact model of printer. Many printers have variations within a range. For example, the HP PhotoSmart 4200 has eleven different models within the range. Each printer model number has to be tested separately and with a huge variety of applications, from MS Word to commonly used freeware.

There are literally rooms full of printer models running on computers with a new operating system printing from dozens of different applications. This process takes a long time and is very labor intensive. If a defect is found, it has to be fixed and the entire testing process re-started. It often takes longer and costs more money to test a printer driver than to create one.”

Since Microsoft and HP work together to provide drivers for all of the models that have been released over the last few years, I can’t help but wonder if there is another reason for the lack of printer drivers … such as forcing people to update their printer hardware … which is a practice right out of Microsoft’s playbook.

Perhaps, HP should take another play out of the Microsoft playbook. Put out BETA versions of the printer drivers and let the users test them and report any problems they encounter. That should be both cheaper and get working drivers to users a lot faster.

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