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Good morning,

I am working with some custom hardware using Windows 7 Embedded. The device will need connecting to a Xerox Phaser 3600 printer. However here at base we do not have this printer available to us. Is it possible to load the printer drivers without the printer being physically connected such that when the printer is connected it silently works?

What we do is create an image (Clonezilla) and then put that image onto boxes as we make them. It boots a custom program and then the end user cannot get into the Windows behind, so installing it would be impossible without us travelling out to their site and multiple boxes = multiple visits

[I know we could get hold of the printer somehow but timescales are now tight and wondering if it can be done has got me curious]


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can at least install the drivers themselves for the printer, though if it requires special USB drivers this may cause problems. If the user does not have the ability to at least allow the installation of USB devices (the "install hardware" wizard will pop up irrespective of your program) then that may fail.

I suspect that with Windows 7 "standard" USB device installation will work fine without administrator rights though I can't say for sure.

To install the print drivers themselves:

  • Go to Control Panel -> Add Hardware
  • Scroll down to Printers, then Next.
  • Either add a port (if you know the details of it) or leave it at LPT just to get the drivers installed, then Next
  • Either Have Disk or scroll down to see if the printer is already there, then Next your way through as you would normally configure the printer
    • If the printer is already in the list it may be that Windows already has drivers in place and they will be able to use the printer without explicitly installing drivers, though they may only be basic drivers that allow printing and not necessarily allow features like super high DPI printing

You'll now have a printer in Control Panel -> Printers which can be deleted. If you do delete it you may get a warning about drivers which you can choose to leave in place.

If you are using a parallel port printer this would be much easier as there will be no USB devices to install, but USB is more common these days.

This should at least get the drivers in place for when the user connects the printer themselves.

I would try this out on a printer you do have access to before giving it to a customer and hoping for the best though.

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In XP you could open Printers and Faxes -> File -> Server Properties -> Drivers -> Add new. Did they remove that in Windows 7? – charlesbridge Aug 10 '12 at 11:30
@charlesbridge I'd forgotten you could go that way around to do it, I know it is present in Vista at least but I don't have access to a Win7 machine to check at the moment. – Mokubai Aug 10 '12 at 12:40

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