Everyone loves the idea and process of getting a new computer. Being able to do exciting new things, at a much faster rate, is something that makes even light computer users giddy. However, it is rare that this same enthusiasm extends toward a new printer. This is particularly true for printers in an average home, where a minimal amount of printing takes place. Home users tend to only upgrade a printer when it breaks down, or if a new printer can be purchased for less money than it would cost to replace the ink cartridges on the old printer. However, if you have kept your old printer around for several generations of computers, then you might notice that some new problems are arising that could seem insurmountable. Fortunately you are not alone, and there are some things you can try to get your old printer to work with your new computer.
Finding the Printer Driver or Printer Software
This should be the first step you take when attempting to get an old printer to print with your new computer. The driver is a necessary piece of the puzzle, as it is the software on your computer that is able to connect to the printer and transmit print information to the printer. With operating system like Windows 7, many print drivers for old computers are already loaded, and Windows will be able to identify and connect your old computer with ease. However, Windows 7 does not include a driver for every old printer, so you might need to do some digging.
The best place to start looking for a driver for your old printer is at the manufacturer’s website. Below are some links to the more popular printer manufacturer’s support websites.
Hewlett Packard – http://www8.hp.com/us/en/support-drivers.html
You can use the search function at each of these websites to locate the drivers and software that are still distributed for that printer. Many popular older printers may have received driver updates that make them compatible with Windows 7 and other newer operating system but, if the support website does not list Windows 7 drivers, you may need to search the Internet for a solution for your specific printer model. Many tech enthusiasts have discovered ways to make older printer models work with operating systems for which there should not be compatibility. You can use your favorite search engine to find information about these situations. For example, a good query might be “printer model number windows 7 64 bit driver.” If the driver exists, or if someone has found a way to make the printer compatible in this environment, then you may be able to find your solution.
Find the Right Cable for Your Old Printer
A lot of older printers used a large cable called a parallel cable to connect directly to the computer. Unfortunately, most newer computers do not have a port for this connection type. Therefore you will need to get a conversion cable that allows you to connect it to your computer through something that you computer does have, like a USB port. If you search popular electronics retailers, such as Amazon, for a parallel to USB cable, you will find that it is possible to use printers with a parallel cable on computers with a USB port. If your printer uses a serial cable, then you would need to find a serial to USB cable instead. Some brick and mortar electronics retailers might carry a cable like this, but your best and cheapest option will usually be online.
If you find a driver for your old printer and a cable that allows you to connect it to your computer, then you should have no problem getting your old printer to print on your new computer.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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