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):
- Open IE (won't work in Firefox or Chrome)
- Go to http://catalog.update.microsoft.com
- 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.
- Select the most relevant driver, e.g. "Microsoft driver update for HP LaserJet 6P"
- Click "View Basket"
- Click "Download"
- You'll get something like
AMD64-all-XXXX.cabfile 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.
- Open the
.cabfile you just saved using 7-Zip, and extract all the files into some directory.
- Install your printer and select "Have Disk" when prompted for a driver. Then point to the directory where you extracted the files.
- 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.