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A friend bought an HP printer (I don't have model no.) which he wants to install on his Windows 98 computer. Of course, there is no driver available for Windows 98 for this printer. And, his Windows 98 system is not online -- nor does he want to put it online.
The question -- is there any way to install the printer on a Windows Vista computer and share it with the Windows 98 computer? I suspect the answer is a resounding No, but thought I'd ask.
Are there any other thoughts about how to do this -- or can he buy a printer that will run on Windows 98? Where?
Post by Jack Teems on May 22, 2015 18:47:02 GMT -5
To locate the needed drivers without connecting on the Internet will be tough indeed. If he chooses to go online, the simple way would be to contact HP at support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/?jumpid=ps_d637nxj58c and that site will identify what is needed between his PC and the specific printer model.
When a manufacturer like HP creates drivers for a printer it creates drivers that work with the current Windows OS version as well as backward compatibility for two or three versions. Thus a printer bought recently would not have drivers for such a old OS as Win98.
Printer drivers have two major parts....one for the actual data transfer to print the data and part where the printer "talks" to the computer (this is where the printer allows options of the print job by a print options box or details of the the status of the print job). As printer drivers change with new versions of Windows, the biggest change is in how the printer "talks" to the OS. The generic drivers that come installed in a Windows OS differ from a driver made by the manufacturer in this "talking" part of the driver. Many have found that installing the generic divers that come with the older version of Windows will have the printer print, but don't get the printer to ask for options of the print job or report the print process during the print. This means it will print but doesn't have the printing option box or a status bar of the print process.
In situations like this, connect the printer and use the add printer function in Windows. Select a generic driver already installed in the Windows version and select the port as LPT1. It may or may not work, but is worth a try. Many have found that they are able to print, but don't have any options in the print job.
When Win98 was made USB was evolving. There was a lot of changes with how USBs were set up. One big change in all this move to USBs was printers came in both parallel and USB models. Thus, if this printer will work really depends on the version of Win98, if the version of Win98 was updated, if other USB devices have been used on the PC, and if another USB printer had already been installed on the PC. The setup for USB printers is a two step process....one part is to set up the USB controller and hub to use the USB port and the other part is how the print data is sent through this port. In Windows versions now this two step process is a single install step because Windows versions now come with the USB controller and hub drivers already installed and active, but in Win98 it was a two step process. If the version of Win98 is a full updated Win98 or Win98SE, then it is very likely that the USB controller and hub are already installed and active. If he has already installed another USB printer on this system, then the USB controller and hub for a printer have already been installed and active. Also at this time Windows updates were just releasing the combined generic USB controllers and hubs that worked for both printers and other USB devices (external dives); thus, if he has installed an external drive this combined USB controller and hub would work for the printer.
What this means is:
If the USB controller and hub for a printer is already installed, then Windows will recognize the printer when it is attached and cause the the New hardware wizard to open to ask for drivers for the data part. When a user doesn't have the manufacturer's specific drivers for for a device, it gives the option to search Windows preinstalled drivers. Often a generic preinstalled driver for that manufacturer will work to transmit the data, but will lose the print options because print options are printer model specific and requires the specific driver to work. End result is the printer will still print.
If the Win98 has been updated with a combined USB controller and hub, then it will recognize the printer when it is plugged in, but the install process involves installing/activating the printer USB controller and hub first and then installing the printer data drivers. Again, many have reported that using Win98's generic(preinstalled) USB controller and hub and the generic (preinstalled) data drivers for that manufacturer will work.
Before the combined USB controller and hub, Windows had to be told to direct a printer signal to the USB port. USB printers were new then and most printers were the classic parallel. Parallel printers always send their data thru the parallel port which is LPT1 (Line Print Terminal - most PCs had 2 so they could have 2 printers - one B&W and one color). Even though the data went out a USB port, Windows still called it a LPT port in the printers properties box (it would be labeled "LPT1 on USB"). Thus, if the setup doesn't have the combined USB controller and hub, this LPT option in printer properties must be selected. If the combined conroller and hub is installed, this LPT option will not be there.
It is all these different IF situations that will decide if the printer will work or not.
Turn the PC on and have it up and running. Turn the printer on and have it up and running. Plug the printer USB cable into the PC and see if Windows recognizes it. If Windows recognizes it the New hardware wizard opens. This wiazard could be to install the USB controller and hub first or could be to install the data drivers for the attached printer. It will state unknown USB device if the USB controller and hub is to be installed and will state unknown printer if the data drivers is to be installed. In either case, use the preinstalled drivers in Windows. If the USB controller and hub drivers are being installed then you will need to reboot before trying to install the printer data drivers. If the combined controiller and hub drivers are not used,then you will need to go to the Printer's properties after it is installed and listed in Windows as a printer to select "LPT1 on USB" as the print port.
This is why to try and see if the new hardware wizard will install the printer that doesn't have specific USB and data drivers. Sometimes it will work and sometimes it won't without obtaining USB and data drivers to load into the system first.
Hi Dana and Jack, Thanks for all the information. My friend and I tried installing a driver for his HP Deskjet 1512 all-in-one onto his Win98 Computer today.
When plugging in the USB cable to the 98 computer, a message appeared about new hardware. I can't remember all the steps we did but I ended up selecting manufacturer HP and printer "HP Deskjet" since there was no 1512 in the list. We got to the point where it asked if we wanted to print a test page. After selecting YES, a message appeared:
There was an error writing to LPT1: for the printer (HP DeskJet). The printer is not ready. Make sure it is turned on and online. To continue printing, click retry. Windows will automatically retry after 5 seconds. RETRY or CANCEL
No matter what I tried the result was that same message. The printer did appear under Printers as HP Deskjet and it was selected as the default. But that's as far as we could go.
Jack, I passed along the information you posted to my friend to get help from HP.