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How to install Windows 7 printer driver for network printer

Posted on 2010-08-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
Hi, I'm getting extremely frustrated trying to install a network printer on Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 32 bit.

I have followed the same process on two machines so far and everything worked, but this third machine has me beat and unfortunately Microsoft don't appear to offer any help on their website as they assume Windows Update will do everything for you (well it doesn't for network printers).

Here's what I'm trying to do:
1. Under Devices and Printers click Add a printer.
2. Choose Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer
3. The "Searching for available printers..." does not find the printer (useless software - it's on the local network!!!) so click "The printer that I want isn't listed".
4. Choose Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname
5. Leave Device type as Autodetect and enter the IP address of the printer, which is 169.254.72.163.  
6. It then attempts to determine the type of printer (which it fails to do) and so gives a list of the printer drivers available on Windows 7.  Unfortunately my printer is an old HP Deskjet 85g and so it doesn't exist in the list, but that's okay as I can click on the Windows Update button and it will download an extended list of printers.  Or at least that's what it did on my other 2 PC's, but not this one, after a few minutes it gives the message:

"Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update. Please try again later."

So I tried later, then I tried later again....  it doesn't work! (wasted more time trying to figure out why, but gave up).

Now this would suggest there's a problem with Windows Update on this PC, but that's not the case as I've successfully installed many updates, in fact, with it being a fairly new install, the updates seem to be happening regularly.

So, having hit a brick wall with Windows Update I tried to find some drivers online, and found them on the following Microsoft web page:

http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=microsoft G85

I downloaded the 1st driver in the list, but haven't a clue how to install it and can't find any information on the Microsoft site on how to do this (I assume the files need to be copied somewhere as they don't include an executable).

Please, please help me to do what Microsoft seem to be trying there hardest to prevent me from doing and setup my printer on a Windows 7 Ultimate machine.
Sorry for the whining but this should be such a simple thing to do (as it was on the other machines) but it has wasted hours of my life.
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Question by:Milleniumaire
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19 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
ploftin earned 400 total points
ID: 33458726
You end up with a .CAB file.  You can extract these files by:

1. Double-click the file (or right-click it and select Open with...Windows Explorer).
2. CTRL+A to select all files.
3. Click the "Extract..." button.
4. Create a new folder somewhere (make a note of where you extracted the files - you'll use this extracted folder location later).

Now add the printer:

1. Go to "Devices and Printers".
2. Click the "Add a printer" button.
3. Click the "Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer" button.
4. Click the "The printer that I want isn't listed" button.
5. Click the "Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hsotname" button.
6. Enter the hostname or IP address of the printer.
7. Uncheck the "Query the printer and automatically select the driver to use" checkbox.
8. Click the "Have Disk..." button.
9. Browse to the folder where you extracted the files (in the top section step 4) and select (Open) the prnhp001 file that is found there.  Click OK to return to the Add Printer dialog.
10. Select your printer type from the list of printers and click the "Next".
11. Give your printer a name and click the "Next" button.
12. Complete the wizard.
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Assisted Solution

by:matrixis
matrixis earned 100 total points
ID: 33458815
The address  169.254.72.163 is a local link address and normally self assigned if the device cannot contact a DHCP server in a router to get an address on the local network.
Check that all the cables are plugged into the router.
it should then get an address the is very simalr to your computer.
e.g. if your computer if 192.168.1.1 then the printer should be 192.168.1.* , the * being a different number.

After you printer gets it's own network IP then it should install fine
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462331
Thanks ploftin, I thought there must be a way of using this file.  I did try using the Have Disk button but it didn't find the required file, although I didn't extract the files from the cab file.

It seems strange that using Explorer I can drill down into the cab file, without extracting the files, but I can't do this when using the Have Disk dialogue and must first extract the files.

I'm sure I also looked for a way of extracting the files from the cab file, but didn't see any "Extract" options, but I shall try again.

matrixis, the printer can be seen and is being used by two other computers on the network, so I know it is connected and available.  I already use my router to assign IP addresses to my equipment based on MAC address, and I did try doing this with the printer, as well as using the printer interface to set its IP address to a value in the 192.168.0.* range (which is what I use), but the printer could no longer be seen!  I have no idea why it wouldn't work, but I had no choice but to stick with the 169... IP address.

When installing the printer using my old Windows XP O/S I was able to use the HP installation software and this also scanned the network for printers, but it always found it (providing it had the 169.. IP address), so I don't understand why Windows 7 can't find it also, or maybe HP are better at developing software than Microsoft ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462476
What is the IP address on your machine?
What is the IP address of your printer?
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462495
Hi powerthink, the IP address of the printer is 169.254.72.163 and the IP address of the PC I'm trying to configure to use the printer is 192.168.0.4.

The router is 192.168.0.1 and the other 2 PC's that I have already configured without any problems (because I was able to use the Windows Update option to get a full list of printers rather than use the reduced list that is provided by default with Windows 7) are 192.168.0.2 and 192.168.0.3.
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462526
How do you know the printer IP is 169.254.72.163?
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462558
The HP Officejet G85 is connected to the network using a HP print server and this has a facility for printing off all its configuration settings (by pressing a button on it).  One of the settings shows this IP address as being the one for the print server.

Also, If I look at the properties of the printers on the other two machines it shows this IP address alongside the TCP/IP port details.
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462589
Ok, Can you use the HP print server to set the IP of the printer to 192.168.0.16?
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462635
Yes this is possible, although changing the IP address of the printer will then stop my other 2 PC's from being able to find it and I will then need to reconfigure it on those PC's.

I can do this when I get home from work tonight, but as I explained earlier I have done this before (admittedly under Windows XP) and the printer couldn't be found, even when I configured it manually through XP i.e. changed the IP address in the printer properties.

Are you assuming that if an IP address in the 192.168.0.* range is used, the Add Printer facility will then be able to find the printer and identify it, then download and install the correct driver?  If so, isn't this likely to use the same "Windows Update" functionality that is supposed to download a full list of printer drivers, but is unable to do this on this machine (for some unknown reason)?
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462646
Yes, after that you have to reconfigure the other 2 computers but at least you have done the right set up.
Cheers.
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462679
Okay, I'll try this tonight as I would prefer to have the printer using the same IP address range as all my other kit and if it does work I can then use the router to assign the IP address to ensure it always gets the same one.

I noticed that when setting up a network printer, at the point where I enter the IP address, it populates the Port Number field using the IP address, however, as I've tried this a few times now, it is appending a number at the end e.g. if the IP address is 169.254.72.163, then the port number would be set to 169.254.72.163_4.

I've tried changing this to remove the _4 but it then tells me this port already exists.  Is there somewhere I can view these "port" settings as I know they are not being used and I would like to remove them.
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462740
Ok, what you can do is go to Port section when right click on the printer, if the port _4 is ticked, select another port, let's say xps document or whatever port, click apply, after that click on the _4, and delete.
Cheers.
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by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462759
Okay thanks, although if I remember correctly, because I'm never able to identify the driver for the printer I have always cancelled the addition of the printer, so a new printer definition never gets created in the Devices and Printers window.  If the printer definition doesn't exist, it isn't possible to change the port setting properties, so these must be being stored somewhere else within Windows.
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33462841
If you want to play with Registry
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Monitors\Standard TCP/IP Port\Ports
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Printers
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control\Print\Monitors\Standard TCP/IP Port\Ports
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control\Print\Printers
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors\Standard TCP/IP Port\Ports
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
This is from windows 7. Don't have xp machine to play with now. Try to see are they the same.
But don't stuff up the registry unless you know what you are doing.
Cheers.
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33462891
Thanks for that, I don't think its worth the risk in changing registry entries.  

It just seems like this is another "feature" of Windows i.e. it creates information somewhere (in the registry?) but this is not cleared down when the process is cancelled!  I may look into this in more detail when I've managed to get the printer set up and working, but it doesn't really affect me.
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Author Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33468864
Powerthink, I changed the IP address of the printer server to 192.168.0.16 and checked that I could ping the printer from the PC I was trying to install it on.  Ping found the printer so I ran the Add Printer utility.  It started the scan but as before didn't find the printer even though the IP address is in the same range as all my other equipment on the network.  I guess Windows 7 networking just isn't up to the task.

ploftin, I followed your instructions and successfully extracted the files from the cab file I had downloaded.

I then re-ran the Add Printer utility and at the point of selecting the printer model clicked the Windows Update just to give it one more try.  Unbelievably, this worked and downloaded a full list of all printer drivers and I was able to select my HP Officejet G85 as I had done on the other PC's that I setup.  I have absolutely no idea why the Windows Update worked this time but didn't work the other half dozen times I've tried it.
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Expert Comment

by:ploftin
ID: 33468981
Haha. So are you all fixed up now? Or can you still not print?
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Expert Comment

by:powerthink
ID: 33470905
Lucky touch ?
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Author Closing Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 33472824
Thanks for your help Experts.
I have awarded the bulk of the points to ploftin as his detailed explanation of how to extract the files from the cab file would have allowed me to install the required printer driver.
I appreciate the suggestions to change the IP address, but this didn't make any difference and in fact I stuck with the 169... address in the end to avoid having to change the configuration on the other machines.
As it happened, I didn't need to use the cab files as Windows Update came through for me and allowed me to download and install the required driver.
I now have a working printer.
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