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How To Set Up A Printer With No Installation Disk

Updated on June 19, 2013

Printer disks are on the list of things we can never find when we need them. Though we rarely use them more than once or twice, it can be a major inconvenience when they go missing and we need to install a printer driver. Also, sometimes we might acquire a used printer without it’s driver CD.

Fortunately, it’s easier than most people think to download printer software online from the manufacturer’s website. You can also order another disk in the mail, but printer companies usually charge a fee for this (plus you’ll have to wait days or weeks to receive it). Downloading the driver software is far more convenient, especially when you need to print a document right away.

Usually a quick Google search for you printer model’s driver will lead you to the manufacturer’s download page pretty easily. If you have a more rare printer model or the manufacturer has discontinued offering the software for your printer, you should be able to find your print driver on a torrent site (where users upload and download files from large groups of other users).

The average filesize for a driver is usually around 200-300MB, which won’t be an instant download over a slow connection, but is still manageable for a print job on a deadline and small enough to store on a flash drive for future convenience.

Steps for getting your printer software online:

  1. Google your printer model’s driver (example: “HP Officejet 6600 driver”)
  2. Go to the most relevant result (from the manufacturer, if possible)
  3. Download the driver file(s) for your printer model.
  4. Run the installation program and follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. Forget you ever lost that driver disk. Your printer should be good to go.

Driver pages of 5 popular printer brands:

Driver downloads usually come in application format (files ending in .exe), but sometimes they’re compressed as .rar or .zip files (to make the download smaller). .rar and .zip files need to be extracted or “unzipped,” which is a pretty easy process.

If you already have a program that can extract files (like Winrar), all you need to do is drag any files from inside of the .rar or .zip folder to the desktop or another location of your choosing. Your computer will automatically extract any files while it’s moving them to the destination folder.

Inside of each .rar or .zip folder is usually a .exe file and sometimes an installation guide document. Since the process is pretty simple, you probably won’t need the latter.

Once you run the .exe application file, the driver installation will begin and guide you through the steps. This is all you’ll need to get your printer connected and printing again (granted you have a USB printer cable).

Printers aren’t the only devices that you can easily find drivers for if you lose their physical disks. Drivers for cameras, scanners, MIDI instrument interfaces and nearly everything else can be found online. Many companies would prefer to just do away with the disks and make all drivers downloadable from the get-go, but since not everyone has an internet connection available when they’re setting up a printer, they still have to include them. As long as you do have an internet connection, though, you’ll never have to look for a missing driver disk again.


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