How to Download & Install HP Printer Drivers

By Jason Artman

Every hardware component installed in a computer requires a driver--software code with instructions for how to use the hardware--to be installed. In the case of a printer, not having the appropriate driver installed will prevent the printer from working. If you have purchased an HP printer that did not include a driver disc--perhaps because it was used--you will not be able to use it until the driver is installed on your computer. HP maintains a large support website where you can locate and download the driver for virtually any printer the company has produced.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet connection

Step 1

Connect your printer to a power outlet and turn it on. Generally, the power supply connects to a port on the back of the printer, and the power button is on the front control panel.

Step 2

Turn your computer off if you are connecting the printer to the computer using a parallel cable. The connectors on the ends of a parallel cable are approximately two inches wide. Connect one end of the parallel cable to the back of the printer, and connect the other end to the back of your computer. Turn the computer on. If a "New Hardware Found" message appears on the computer, click the "Cancel" button to return to the desktop. If you are connecting the printer to the computer with a USB cable, skip this step.

Step 3

Open a Web browser and browse to the HP Support and Downloads website by entering the address or using the link in the Resources section.

Step 4

Select the radio button near the top of the window labeled "Download drivers and software." Click in the box labeled "For Product" and type the model name and number that you see on the front or back of the printer, "Deskjet 6940," for example. Click the double arrow to the right of the text entry box. If more specific information is needed, a new window appears with multiple model numbers, such as "Deskjet 6940" and "Deskjet 6940dt." Click the model number that most closely matches what you see on your printer.

Step 5

Select the operating system installed on your computer, such as "Microsoft Windows Vista."

Step 6

Click the download link for the type of software that you want to install, such as "HP Full Feature Software and Driver." Some printers may offer a choice between this and the driver only. Installing the HP full feature software is generally recommended as the full software may allow you to access features of the printer that are not available through the operating system alone.

Step 7

Click the blue "Download" link at the top of the window after making your selection, and save the file to your desktop.

Step 8

Double click the downloaded file to begin installing the driver, then follow the prompts to install the driver on your computer. If the printer is connected via a parallel cable, the printer is ready to use when the installation is complete. If a USB cable is being used, connect the cable to a port on the back of the computer when prompted by the driver installation software. When the software is finished being installed, restart the computer to begin using the printer.