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HP printer drivers - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Feb. 2nd, 2006

04:39 pm - HP printer drivers

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It's time for another in my intermittent series of "tech tips", aka "obscure problems that had me banging my head against the wall until I figured out the solution".

If you add a printer to Windows XP/2003 (and possibly other versions too), and choose to share it, there's an option to install additional drivers. That way, someone running NT4 can connect to it, and automatically get the drivers from your machine. That's the theory.

In practice, it goes like this:
1. Tick the box for "NT4 support".
2. Get prompted for the necessary driver files.
3. Go to HP website, find/download relevant files.
4. Tell Windows where to find the files, by browsing to the relevant .inf file.
5. Get the error message "Windows cannot locate a suitable printer driver".

The issue is that the device name inside the .inf file has to exactly match the device name in Windows XP.

Taking the HP 895Cxi as an example, the original line in the HPDJ.INF file says:
DEVICENAME="HP DeskJet 895C Series Printer"

I then had to modify this to say:
DEVICENAME="HP DeskJet 895Cxi"
at which point everything worked fine.

N.B. You can comment out a line in a .inf file by putting a semi-colon at the start, so that's a useful approach in case you're worried about breaking anything.

That's the second time I've come across this problem, but there was enough of a time-lag in between that I only remembered "I have to hack around inside the .inf file". So, now I have a permanent entry to remind me, and hopefully this is useful to someone else too.



[User Picture]
Date:February 3rd, 2006 10:27 am (UTC)
Aha, so .inf files are text? How uncommonly sensible...
(Reply) (Thread)
Date:August 10th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)

Installing HP Laserjet on Windows XP - Shared on Vista Ultimate

A year and a half later, another operating system, and your fix saved me. Thanks!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Installing HP Laserjet on Windows XP - Shared on Vista Ultimate

Glad to be of service, and thanks for the extra info :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Date:October 18th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Installing HP Laserjet on Windows XP - Shared on Vista Ultimate

WOW, I was looking for a solution for like... 5 hours before i stumbled up on this page. Even though the solution is simple, yet you're a genious. I just expected the inf-files from HP to be 100% correct... I won't ever again... I kept getting the "Windows cannot find a suitable printer driver" error.

I tried to install a XP driver which were called:
"HP LaserJet 2300 Series PCL 6"
in the inf file for XP, but in the inf file for NT4 it was called:
"HP LaserJet 2300 Series PCL6"

See? one of the device names has an extra space in between "PCL" and "6".

I simply removed the extra space in the NT4 .inf file and voila! - I could install the xp drivers to my NT4 server and it all worked like a charm!

A tiny space was all that messed up my day, but you made it!


// Lars in Stockholm/Sweden
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Date:March 31st, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Installing HP Laserjet on Windows XP - Shared on Vista Ultimate

Hey guys, I have an HP 3030PS unit sitting on a windows xp pro pc with the non-universal drivers installed, and I'm trying to install the universal x64 driver on the server 2003 x64 box to have it show up on the terminal services...I cannot find the "devicename" section in the .inf files...any suggestions?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Date:March 31st, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Installing HP Laserjet on Windows XP - Shared on Vista Ultimate

I got 'er, here's the lowdown...

Here's how I pulled it off:

1. Add the printer on the server as a local printer (uncheck the plug and play box) using the x64 driver

2. change the port to the proper network location

3. when the hp universal plug and play software (that you should have already installed, if not, do it now) will come up and ask you where the printer is at, use the UNC code of it's location i.e. \\computername\printername

and there's a checkbox on that page that tells the HP software to make this a permanent printer in "printer and faxes", make sure that's checked...now you're good to go ;)
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