2011-05-05

Installing the drivers for an HP LaserJet 6P on Windows 7

From the time where printer manufacturers were still producing near indestructible models. Plus, 5 years on, and I'm still using the toner cartridge that came with the printer. Add an USB → IEEE1284 adapter, plug into a NAS or plug computer, and enjoy your network printer.

Now, I did spend some time getting cups going, but I found it a bit flaky, so I reverted to direct samba access to the raw device. But that means the need for a driver on Windows, and Windows 7 considers that the HP printing dinosaurs are too old to be supported by default. On the other hand, that probably means you'll be able to find a cheap one on ebay.

Now, for those of us who know better and still want to do our Windows 7 printing through a trusted HP LaserJet, the procedure to obtain the drivers is as follows (should work for the whole range of old HP printers, and not just the 6P):

  1. Open IE (won't work in Firefox or Chrome)
  2. Go to http://catalog.update.microsoft.com
  3. Search your model, e.g. "LaserJet 6P". This should list a set of drivers for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, etc. Gotta wonder what the "search for drivers online" feature of Windows is really used for.
  4. Select the most relevant driver, e.g. "Microsoft driver update for HP LaserJet 6P"
  5. Click "View Basket"
  6. Click "Download"
  7. You'll get something like X86-all-XXXX.cab or AMD64-all-XXXX.cab file that you need to save. Be mindful that if you try to use the AMD64 package on a 32 bit version of Windows, or X86 on 64 bit, it will not work, so make sure you get the right one.
  8. Open the .cab file you just saved using 7-Zip, and extract all the files into some directory.
  9. Install your printer and select "Have Disk" when prompted for a driver. Then point to the directory where you extracted the files.
  10. Enjoy another many years use of your LaserJet printer. In all fairness, the early LaserJet printers are so indestructible that you'll probably die long before your printer does.

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Thanks this got me most of the way there. I am not getting the "x86-all.... message I just get a driver. When I install the driver I get an error Printer driver was not installed. Operation could not be completed (error 0x00000002) . Any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. I have altered the instructions slightly so that they are more explicit. You do not get a "x86-all.... message, you get a file with a .cab extension that you need to download. Then you must open that .cab file (which is just an archive) using 7-zip to extract the actual driver files.
      It's only once you have extracted the files from the .cab that you can point to them for the driver installation.

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    2. My PC does'not allow Windows Update. I used HP Laserjet 2200 series PCL5 instead, and it works with my 6P!!!

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  3. Hi Pete,
    I was frustrated from not being able to find Win8.1 64bit drivers for my faithful hp6p, so stumbling upon your blog was my last hope.
    I downloaded and extracted the archive called 'IA64.....cab' which one would think is the 64bit version. During install, I chose the 'Have disk' option and pointed to prnhp001.inf (the only .inf file). Window replied that this was NOT a 64bit driver and exited!
    Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. *DON'T* use IA64. These are 64 bit drivers, but for a completely different type of CPU (Itanium) which you don't find in consumer PCs. What you want are the AMD64 drivers (and yes, these are for Intel x64 CPUs as well, despite the fact that they say AMD).

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    2. Thanks a lot Pete, you are a genius. The AMD64 driver works perfectly.

      Can you understand why this driver is hidden so well?
      It is more or less an accepted fact in the forums, that the HP-6P won't work with Win8

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