If your newly purchased or reset printer isn’t working, or your device can’t connect to it, then you may be missing the dedicated driver from your manufacturer. We recommend first checking if your device supports a universal printer driver, which is the easiest way to fix the issue as you can download, run and install it, before adding the printer. If this still doesn’t work, installing the specific driver for your model of printer is required. Today we’ll show you the most common printer drivers for Windows computers.
If you’re using a mac, you can likely use AirPrint. If Airprint isn’t working you’ll need the printer driver from your manufacturer and install this into your Mac OS.
What are Universal Printer Drivers?
Universal Printer Drivers (UPDs) are software programs that allow compatibility between various printing devices and operating systems, such as Windows. These drivers enable users to print documents from different printer models with ease, as they work across multiple printer brands and models. They eliminate the need for installing separate drivers for each device, thus simplifying the process of managing and maintaining printers in an office or home setting.
Benefits of Using Universal Printer Drivers
There are several advantages to using UPDs for your Windows computer:
- Compatibility: UPDs are designed to work with a wide range of printer models, making it easy to connect and print without worrying about driver compatibility issues.
- Easy installation and maintenance: Installing a single UPD can support multiple printers, which reduces the number of drivers needed to be installed and maintained on a computer. This saves time and effort when setting up or troubleshooting printers.
- Consistent user experience: Since UPDs offer a unified interface, users can easily navigate and configure their printing preferences, regardless of the printer model being used.
- Reduced IT workload: In organisations, using UPDs can reduce the workload on IT departments by streamlining printer setup and management, as well as minimising driver-related issues.
Selecting the Right Universal Printer Driver
When choosing a UPD for your Windows computer, consider the following factors:
- Supported printer models: Ensure that the UPD you select is compatible with the printer models you intend to use. Check the manufacturer’s website for a list of supported devices.
- Operating system compatibility: Verify that the UPD is compatible with your Windows operating system version (e.g., Windows 10, 8, or 7).
- Functionality: Some UPDs may not support advanced printer features such as duplex printing or color management. Confirm that the UPD you choose supports the functions you require.
- Manufacturer reputation: Opt for UPDs from reputable manufacturers, as they are more likely to offer continued support, updates, and better overall performance.
Benefits of Using Universal Printer Drivers
Streamlined Printer Management
One of the primary benefits of using universal printer drivers (UPDs) is the simplified management of printers. UPDs enable IT administrators to install and manage a single driver for multiple printer models, saving significant time and effort. This centralized approach eliminates the need to install multiple drivers for every printer model, reducing the complexity of printer management.
Enhanced Compatibility and Flexibility
Universal printer drivers are designed to work with a wide range of printer models from various manufacturers. This compatibility allows users to print documents on different printers within their organization without needing to install separate drivers for each printer. Furthermore, UPDs provide greater flexibility as they support various print languages and protocols, such as PCL and PostScript, ensuring seamless communication between the printer and the computer for accurate print outputs.
Reduced IT Costs and Efforts
Using universal printer drivers can contribute to cost savings and reduced IT workload in several ways. By streamlining printer management, organisations can cut down on the resources needed for printer driver installation and maintenance. Additionally, using a single UPD reduces the chances of driver-related issues, lowering the number of helpdesk calls and support tickets. Finally, UPDs facilitate smoother printer upgrades and replacements, as the same driver can be used for new printer models, minimising downtime and compatibility issues during the transition.
Top 5 Most Common Universal Printer Drivers
The 5 Most Widely Used Universal Printer Drivers
Universal printer drivers are essential for streamlining the printing process across a variety of devices and operating systems. These drivers enable users to print from any computer without needing to install multiple device-specific drivers. Here are the top five most common universal printer drivers, which are compatible with Windows-based systems:
1. HP Universal Print Driver (UPD)
The HP Universal Print Driver is one of the most popular drivers available for Windows computers. It supports multiple printer models across the HP LaserJet and HP PageWide product lines. The driver provides automatic device discovery, which makes it easy to find and configure printers on your network. In addition, it offers advanced features such as duplex printing, finishing options, and secure encrypted printing.
2. Xerox Global Print Driver (GPD)
Xerox Global Print Driver is a versatile solution suitable for various Xerox and non-Xerox printers. This driver simplifies the printing process by consolidating multiple device drivers into a single user interface. It supports both PCL and PostScript printing languages and offers advanced features such as color management, scaling, watermarks, and booklet creation.
3. Lexmark Universal Print Driver (UPD)
Lexmark’s Universal Print Driver is designed to work with a wide range of Lexmark printers and multifunction devices. It provides a consistent user experience across different printer models, streamlining printer management and reducing maintenance costs. The driver supports PCL, PostScript, and HBP (Host Based Printing) languages and offers various advanced features like custom page sizes, collation, and paper source selection.
4. Konica Minolta Universal Print Driver (UPD)
Konica Minolta’s Universal Print Driver is a single interface solution for managing multiple printer models from the same brand. This driver works with various Konica Minolta bizhub devices and offers seamless integration with Windows-based systems. It supports PCL6 and PostScript3 printing languages and provides advanced features such as N-up printing, cover page insertion, and watermark settings.
5. Canon Generic PCL6 Printer Driver
The Canon Generic PCL6 Printer Driver supports multiple Canon imageRUNNER devices, making it suitable for office environments with different printer models. This universal driver streamlines printer management by reducing the need to install device-specific drivers. It supports PCL6 printing language and offers advanced functionality such as secure print, color balance adjustment, and forced hold printing.
How to Install and Use Universal Printer Drivers
Step 1: Choose the Right Universal Printer Driver
First, you need to select a Universal Printer Driver (UPD) that is compatible with your specific printer model and operating system. You can typically find UPDs from your printer manufacturer’s website or on third-party websites that provide driver downloads. Search for the terms “universal printer driver” along with your printer brand and model name, and choose a driver that supports all the printer features you require.
Step 2: Download and Install the Universal Printer Driver
Once you have found a suitable UPD, download it onto your computer. Go to the location where the driver file was saved and double-click on it to start the installation process. Follow the on-screen instructions provided by the installer, which generally involves agreeing to the software license terms, selecting the components you wish to install, and specifying the installation folder. Once you have completed these steps, the installation will be initiated, and the UPD will be installed on your computer.
Step 3: Configure and Use the Installed Universal Printer Driver
After successfully installing the UPD, you need to configure it to work with your specific printer. To do this, go to the ‘Devices and Printers’ panel in Windows by typing “Devices and Printers” into the search bar on your computer and clicking on the resulting option. Find the printer you want to use with the UPD, right-click on it, and select ‘Printer Properties’. In the ‘Advanced’ tab, click on the ‘New Driver’ button and follow the prompts to select the UPD you just installed.
Now that you have configured your printer to use the UPD, you can start using it to print your documents. When printing from an application, make sure to select the correct printer from the ‘Printer’ drop-down menu before clicking on ‘Print’. The UPD will handle the printing process using the settings and features specified in your printer’s properties.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with Universal Printer Drivers
Identifying Frequent Problems with Universal Printer Drivers
Universal printer drivers are designed to work with various printer models, but they may not always offer the best compatibility or functionality. In this section, we will discuss some common issues that users might encounter while using universal printer drivers on their Windows computers and provide solutions to help you resolve them.
Resolving Driver Compatibility Issues
Compatibility is often a concern when using a universal printer driver. Sometimes, the driver may not completely support the printer’s features, causing difficulties in printing. In such cases, try the following steps to resolve the issue:
- Ensure that the universal printer driver is compatible with your printer model and the version of Windows you are using.
- Update the printer driver to the latest version by visiting the manufacturer’s website or using Windows Update.
- If the universal printer driver still doesn’t work, consider installing a dedicated driver for your specific printer model from the manufacturer’s website. This step may provide better compatibility and functionality.
Addressing Printing Errors and Quality Issues
Using a universal printer driver can sometimes cause errors or lead to poor print quality. If you face such challenges, follow these steps:
- Check the printer settings in the driver properties. Ensure that the correct paper size, media type, and print quality settings are selected. Adjust if necessary and retry printing.
- Inspect the ink or toner cartridges to ensure they are correctly installed and not empty. Replace or refill them if needed.
- Perform a printer self-test or print a test page from the driver settings. This step can help you diagnose issues with the printer hardware itself, rather than the driver.
- If print quality is still subpar, consider using a dedicated driver for your specific printer, as mentioned earlier. It may offer better control over the printer’s features and deliver higher print quality.