What does a printer driver do? In computers, a printer driver is a piece of software that converts the data to be printed to a format that a printer can understand.

Techy Stuff: A printer queue is simply a program that allows a computer to communicate with a printer and send print requests to it. It has two main components or functions: the first is to serve as a bridge between the computer and the printer, the ability to transform print job data into a language that the printer can understand, and the second is allowing the computer to understand the details and hardware specifications of the printer. Examples of languages or formats that printers use are PS “Postscript”, originally used in the first Xerox laser printers, XPS, developed by Microsoft and PCL, “Printer Command Language”, developed by Hewlett-Packard. It became widespread with the introduction of PCL3 for the company's popular LaserJet printer. ... PCL6, also known as PCL-XL, is a more powerful driver that operates completely differently, while retaining the PCL name.

Each printer requires a specific printer driver for each operating system and must be installed on the computer. If configured incorrectly or if the wrong driver is installed, a printer will not be able to communicate with the computer and vice versa. However, some printers use the generic printer drivers that come bundled with the operating system (e.g., Windows 10), allowing the user to print without installing additional drivers; this, however, can hinder the user from using the full potential of the printer as additional printer-specific settings and functions may be unavailable.


Let’s look to see what printers you have installed on a Windows 10 PC.

Go to your Control Panel ->Devices and Printers and see what printers may or may not be installed.


screenshot: Add printer in Devices and Printers


You might already see printer queues like “Microsoft XPS Document writer” or Microsoft Print to PDF”. These will print to a file location but not to a printer. It could change for example, a picture or word document to a PDF document if that is what you are looking to do but not send to a printer. 

Let’s click on Add Printer at the top left of your screen. Encircled in green pen in the picture above.

First, it will search for your printer. If it finds it then all you have to do is click next and Yes until it finishes the installation.


If it does not find your printer then click on “The printer that I want isn’t listed” and it will take you to this screen.


screenshot: select Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname


When you know the IP address then select the “Add a printer using TCP/IP” towards the bottom of this screen. It opens the next screen to add the IP address or hostname screen.

screenshot: enter IP address of printer

Click next and it will contact the printer.

screenshot: select printer driver

Find your printer and select Next.

                If you don’t find your printer select the “Windows Update” button to get more printers

                If that doesn’t help, click on Have Disk… and point to the file location that contains the printer driver. Have a look at “Finding a driver from your manufacturer” below to find a driver from the internet.”

Name your printer then click Next

Select “Do not share this printer” and then click Next

You will be asked to print a test page. Make your decision and click on next. If you decided to print a test page, you will be asked whether it printed correctly Now that printer will show up in your printers list and you can pick it from your applications.


Finding a driver from your manufacturer

Sometimes finding a driver is not that easy either. If you couldn’t find your driver in the above printers list then let’s go to the manufacturer’s website.

For example, Xerox – navigate to www.xerox.com 

Find the “Support” or “Support & Drivers” link (You find on most printer websites)

Type in the name of your printer where the page asks for it “printer name or type”

Select Drivers & Downloads

Select the driver for your Operating system

When it is an EXE file you can just use that installer and select it to begin installing your printer’s software. Otherwise download the zipped file from the manufacturer’s website and unpack it into a file destination of your choosing. When you go back through the installation process from above, you can select “Have Disk” and navigate to this files location. Follow the rest of the steps to finish your printer installation.