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Over the years I've installed countless HP printers by unpacking the .exe driver file and choosing an INF file.

Never had any problems installing no matter which INF file i choose.

What's the reason for the multiple files and is there a right one to choose?

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The package most likely contains a list for drivers for a series of versions of the same model or similar models of printer, e.g. ethernet or USB. There could also be drivers for different OS version. – Tog May 4 '12 at 14:16
If you open the INF's in Notepad or a similar text editor, there should be details in there that give you a clue as to what each one is for (such as os version etc). – Oliver G May 4 '12 at 14:16
The Package Contains Driver Files for Different OS/Architecture/Model/Firmware, You SHOULD Choose the Most Appropriate for You, other Options (inf files) May work but will not be Perfect. – Akshat Mittal May 4 '12 at 14:18

The reason for the multiple files is to broaden support for the vast array of computer interfaces and Operating Systems available today.

As far as there being a right file to choose, the answer is, Yes. In your question you did not give any detailed information about printer or computer, so no one here would be able to be any more specific than that.

My advice; you should use the driver installation to ensure the printer can communicate with your system properly. Otherwise, you may be back later asking why certain features don't work.

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Most HP printer files contain drivers for a family of printers, i.e. Laserjet 4, 4+, 4P. Some will contain drivers for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.

Virtually all HP printers come with at least three drivers: PCL5e, PCL6, and Postscript. Each of these uses different command sequences to control the printer, and has slightly different capabilities. Choose the 5e for the most basic (and usually reliable) driver; PCL6 for advanced features (also sometimes necessary for increased resolution printing); Postscript for best compatibility with a range of programs that use mixed printing modes, such as Adobe products.

Which works "best" will depend on the programs you run and the model of printer. In general, PCL5e is the most reliable and PCL6 works properly with the widest range of programs.

And going against all this, HP is moving mostly to a "Universal" driver that will work for multiple printers installed.

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