By: John C. Arkin
If you want to ensure that your older printer keeps working well with the rest of your hardware and software, then you may need to update those drivers and other software occasionally. However, identifying these items for an older model printer can be a challenge. Below are some tips that can help you.
Why Drivers are Important for Printers
Without the right driver, your printer is simply not going to work with the rest of your hardware. A driver is a piece of software that basically acts as a translator between your printer and your computer.
Free Ways to Find Printer Drivers
Before you abandon your older but perfectly functional printer because of a lack of driver support, make sure to check these potential sources:
The manufacturer. Many manufacturers continue to have downloadable drivers available for free through their web sites even for older models. For example, the Epson printer’s site still makes available drivers for the Epson Stylus C80 which was first released in 2001.
PrintCountry. If you want an easier solution, you can go to PrintCountry.com. Once there you have to select the brand and model of your printer and the operating system you are currently using. The printer driver is then emailed directly to you instantly. The service is completely free to use and includes a large catalog of brands and models to choose from.
Paid Services for Finding Drivers & Software
Besides the options listed above, you can also find a few sites that give you access to drivers and software for older printer models but only if you are a paid subscriber to the site. Choosing this option is rarely the best solution for several reasons:
Available for free elsewhere. Although you may feel desperate to locate the drivers and other software for your printer so it work with your hardware, you can find these downloads for free using other methods, including the ones listed above.
No more convenient. These paid sites argue that they provide a more convenient option for finding drivers and software for these printer models because everything can be located through one web site. While digging through a manufacturer’s web site can take time and patience, the PrintCountry.com alternative is very similar in set-up to most of these paid services (better, in fact, than the search features used in some) but the service is completely free.
If the options above do not help you locate the driver software you need for your printer model, there is another option if you are using a Windows operating system. Microsoft includes a number of built-in drivers for printers and along with these it adds a "Generic/Text Only" driver that is not designed to work with any specific model. Your printing options will be limited if you choose this driver but it will prevent your old model from becoming nothing more than a bulky paperweight.