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Has anyone been able to copy an existing printer in Windows 7? I know that we were able to do this in XP (not as a direct copy/paste, but by installing the printer twice) but in Windows 7 it doesn't seem to be possible.

Googling the answer is hopeless because searching for "copy printer" or "duplicate printer" you get a bunch of posts about "printer copiers" or people complaining about duplicate printers getting created in the background (precisely what I'd like to be able to do)

It'd be good to know how to do it in general, but if it depends on the printer type, then in our case we are trying to make a copy of an HP Laserjet.

Tried installing from the CD - but the CD is too old for Windows 7

Tried installing via Add Printer and that seems to install the printer but it's marked with an error.

Tried installing via the .exe installer from the HP site and that does result in a successful printer being installed, but it won't let you install the same printer twice (stalls on the "insert USB cable now" step - simply won't enable the greyed out "Next" button).


The reason this is required is so that we can print to one to the feeder and to the tray separately.

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  • what error does windows report when you try to add it through Add Printer? also, for giggles have you tried using an app like 7zip to extract the HP install exe, to see if you can pull out the driver files?
    – Xantec
    Feb 26, 2011 at 2:27
  • @Xantec, from memory it isn't an error message, but the printer icon is marked with an exclamation/question mark.
    – hawbsl
    Mar 11, 2011 at 12:00

1 Answer 1

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I know its being a while since this question was raised and I’m sure everyone concerned found its own answer. But since I searched for an answer my self yesterday and could not find anything reasonable I thought I post my solution here … for future reference …

First thing first, it’s possible. Yes you can install the same printer twice with different printer preferences for each (don’t let you tell otherwise, even from Microsoft employs). Secondly, yes Windows 7 makes it a bit confusing, because it displays only one instance of the installed printer in its Control Panel Printer section (Microsofts wisdom) … anyway here is how to do it. I assume you have installed your printer.

  1. Go to [Control Panel] -> [Devices and Printers] and select [Add a Printer]
  2. Now select [Add a local printer]
  3. Select the set port of your printer in [Choose a printer port], commonly USB001 etc.
  4. In [Install the printer driver] select your printers Manufacturer and Model
  5. [Next]
  6. In [Which version of the driver do you want to use?] select [Use the driver that is currently installed]
  7. Enter a name for this new printer reference in [Type a printer name]

So, what we have now is a new printer reference, a reference you can see and select in the [Print] window printer selection [Name]. What we have to do now is to setup this printers individual settings

  1. Go back to [Control Panel] - [Devices and Printers] and select your printer (clicking)
  2. Select [Customize your printer]
  3. In [Select a printer] select your printer the same way as you would in the [Print] menu
  4. The [Print property] window pops up and you can set your individual printer settings here

Voilà, confusing but easy, happy computing …

Erwin Hofmann

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    +1 ... From the microsoft forums - it is by design in Win7 that you can't just copy/paste answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/…
    – iivel
    Mar 20, 2011 at 18:36
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    @ErwinHofmann we have used that method to install 2 "versions" of a Network printer and it worked just fine in 7 same for XP. One is set for landscape and one set for portrait, then default settings for the printer are adjusted. If ever that does not work, take a look at what "PORT" it is assigned to would be the only thing that might mess things up.
    – Psycogeek
    Oct 22, 2011 at 17:26
  • @Psycogeek How did you set up a network printer this way? When I go through these instructions but instead of Add a local printer choose Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer, then either choose the printer from the list or enter its UNC path, it says it was set up successfully, but I'm left with only one copy of the printer. Jul 17, 2014 at 17:41
  • @echristopherson Then add another printer again, select to use the same drivers. I think it helps to change the "friendly name" things that are changable first before adding the second.
    – Psycogeek
    Jul 18, 2014 at 1:21
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    @Psycogeek I finally got it; thanks. It turned out I needed to find the IP address from the original printer, and then use that IP in the new printer wizard. I had been using the UNC path of the printer instead; but that method never actually created a new printer icon. Jul 18, 2014 at 17:39

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