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Everyday printing  >  Printing tips & how-tos

Downloading and installing a printer driver

Keep your printer in top working order by making sure you have the latest driver software.

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Content starts here

»  What is a printer driver?
»  What will an updated driver do for me?
»  When should I update my driver?
»  How do I install a new  HP printer driver on my computer?
»  Non-HP printer owners
»  Where can I find more help?
»  Learn more
Mother and daughter printing documents.


Learn how a simple software update can help you get the most out of your printer and keep it running smoothly. We’ll show you how to check for updates, download, and install the latest printer drivers.

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What is a printer driver?

Driver is a term used to describe the software that allows your computer to communicate with your printer. The driver is what lets you change your printer settings, such as paper size or print quality, for any given print job. Printer drivers are easy to find and install and are your secret weapon against diminishing print quality over the life of your printer.

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What will an updated driver do for me?

Regularly making sure you have the latest printer driver is one of the easiest pieces of maintenance you can do to keep your printer in top working order. Update your driver to avoid or eliminate printing problems, take advantage of your printer’s latest features, and ensure maximum print quality.

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When should I update my driver?

Man printing documents.

You need to update your printer driver if you have recently:
  • Purchased a new computer
  • Purchased a new printer
  • Updated your computer’s software
  • Updated your computer’s operating system
You might get some other cues from your printer that it’s time for an update, such as:
  • Incomplete documents
  • Documents with missing characters 
  • Printing takes longer to print than it used to

Stay a step ahead by using a calendar application such as Windows Calendar or Microsoft Outlook to set up quarterly reminders to yourself to check for driver updates. Or, visit HP’s Subscriber's Choice, and sign up to receive regular driver alerts and software updates.

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How do I install a new HP printer driver on my computer?

Screen shot of steps 1 and 2.

From the Support and Drivers page, select “Download drivers and software (and firmware).” Then enter your product number.

Screen shot of step 3.
Click the “Check” button, and follow the instructions.

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Because software is constantly being improved, it is important to make sure you have the latest driver. You can perform an automatic check to see if the latest driver is installed on your computer, by heading to the Support & Drivers page.

  1. Select “Download drivers and software (and firmware).”
  2. Enter your product number. (This alphanumeric code is usually found on the front or top corner of your printer. If you aren’t sure of your product number, click the How do I find my product name/number.
  3. Click on the “Check” button and follow the instructions to see if the latest driver is installed correctly.

To install:

  1. Select your operating system, such as Windows Vista or Windows XP, from the list of options.
  2. Select the basic driver or a driver and software bundle from the list of options. Usually, the first choice is the most basic driver update.
  3. You may see the message “Do you wish to save or run this file?” Click “Run.”
  4. Follow the instructions to finish your installation.
  5. Restart your computer once the installation is complete.

Non-HP printer owners

image of installation instructions

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You can usually find the most current version of your printer’s driver software on the support page of the printer manufacturer’s website, along with installation instructions. You can also call the manufacturer directly and request that a new driver be mailed to you on CD.

Where can I find more help?

For quick access to support and troubleshooting, software and driver downloads, real-time chat support, and timely e-mail assistance for HP printers and All-in-Ones, visit HP Total Care.

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Learn more

Make the most of your printer’s features and keep the quality prints coming with these helpful hints on Maximizing your printer.

If you are beyond a standard driver update and looking for a new printer, explore the HP printer buying guide to check out various features, price points, and tips for choosing an HP printer that meets your needs.

Before you replace your existing printer, read about Recycling ink cartridges and printer hardware for recommendations on recycling, reselling, and donating your used equipment.

»  For help finding the HP products that are right for you, check out our buying guides. Compare prices, features and more!
»  See more Printing Tips and How-tos

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