Printer drivers allow your printer to ‘speak’ to your computer. But out-of-date drivers can be the source of many printing problems. Updating the drivers on your printer can be an easy, effective fix.
Older printer drivers may have bugs that can be cured by updating the driver. Similarly, if you’ve upgraded your operating system – from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, for example – the older driver may not work properly.
How to update your printer driver in Windows 10
It's relatively simple to update a printer driver in Windows 10, and you can follow this same process when updating drivers for other connected hardware and peripherals.
First, click the Start button or tap the Windows key on your keyboard, then type device manager into the Windows 10 search box. The top result will autofill with Device Manager - click this.
You'll see a list of entries here - scroll to the one for Printers then expand this to see the name of your own printer underneath.
Right-click on the name for your printer and select Update Driver from the menu that appears. Select the option to Search automatically for updated driver software.
Provided your computer is connected to the internet, it will do the rest of the work for you - seeking out a new driver and installing it automatically.
Search online for new printer drivers
If the above method hasn't been successful, then you can manually check for newer drivers, too. The best way to do this is to note your printer’s model number, then visit the manufacturer’s website. Look for a new driver in the download or support area for your device. Make sure you get the one that’s designed for your operating system.
In some cases, you may not find a driver for Windows 10 yet – if so, download the Windows 8.1 driver instead.
Drivers are usually EXE files. After downloading a driver, double-click to install it and follow the on-screen steps. Some printers also have additional software – and firmware – that you can update, too.