How to Fix a Printer Driver Error

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

The printer driver is the connection between your computer and your printer that relays commands to tell the printer how and what to print [source: Canon]. There are many possible reasons why your printer driver might stop working. For example, it could be corrupted or incompatible, the settings might be wrong or it might be missing updates [source: Microsoft]. Fixing a printer driver error is often simply a matter of updating, installing or reinstalling the driver [source: Microsoft].

Here's how to install a new printer driver:

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  1. Go to the printer manufacturer's Web site and search for print drivers, printer drivers or drivers.
  2. Find the right driver for your printer model.
  3. Download and install the driver [source: Adobe]. You may have to restart the computer after installing the new driver.

Reinstalling the driver software that came with the printer is fairly easy. Simply insert the disc in your disc drive and follow the instructions that appear on your screen [source: Microsoft].

You can update your driver using Windows Update. Once it's set up, Windows Update will download and install recommended updates for your printer automatically [source: Microsoft]. Here's what how to set it up:

  1. Press Start in the bottom left corner of your screen. A popup menu will appear.
  2. Type Update in the Search bar, and a list of results will appear. Depending on your version of Windows, you may have to select All Programs from the first popup menu. Click Windows Update and in the left pane, click Check for updates. Depending on your version of Windows, you may have to select Select the updates you want to install page, followed by clicking OK. You'll then click Install updates on the Windows Update page. Similarly, you may have to select View available updates and then click Install for the driver you wish to install [source: Microsoft].
  3. Provide a password or confirmation if you're prompted to do so. This will show that you're authorized to make this type of change. When the process is complete, a box will pop up, saying that the printer driver has been installed correctly [source: Microsoft]. //]]]]> ]]>

Originally Published: Jun 29, 2011

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Printer Error FAQs

Why do I keep getting a printer error?
There are many reasons why you may get a printing error. The most common reason is an unreliable connection between the printer and the computer. You might also have a paper jam, out-of-date drivers or a print spooler service with bad data.
Which printers are the slowest?
According to experts, the slowest printers are inkjet models because they use a spray gun that has to move around the paper. Most spray guns are small and will have to cover a wide surface area, which makes them slow.
Are laser printers better than inkjets?
Laser printers have been touted as better devices than inkjets when it comes to printing documents. However, inkjets are substantially better at printing high-quality photos. Inkjets also take up less space in rooms.
What does 'printer in error state' mean?
This is an indication of a problem with the printer itself. Check to see if the printer is properly turned on and connected to your computer. Also, see if the paper is properly aligned with the tray and there is enough ink available for printing.