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Preserving legacy printer drivers in Windows 7

The Windows 7 Release Candidate finally dropped and if you’re like me you’ve already installed it on every machine you own. =] A problem that I have had since Beta 1 is support for my HP OfficeJet V40xi. This is an all-in-one printer/fax/copier that is almost a decade old now but solid and stable as a rock. Vista has the drivers for it but none of the versions of Windows 7 have so far. HP hasn’t made a driver for this printer since XP. I also have a ReadyNas NV+ which serves as my print server so I connect to the the V40 via my NAS. Unfortunately the NAS doesn’t store and serve drivers so these have to be installed independently. Here is a work-around to get your legacy printer working with Win7 if both Microsoft and your printer manufacturer have abandoned your device.

Before you rebuild that last Vista PC, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ and search for “prnxxx…” where xxx is your manufacturer and in my case prnhp001.inf_2ade4966 holds the drivers I need. Copy this folder off to a thumb drive or somewhere else safe. On your Win7 machine, connect to the legacy printer and when prompted for drivers point to the INF stored in this folder. Find your printer in the resulting list, let the system install your drivers, and you will be able to use your ancient printer on the next-gen OS. Cheers. :)

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