How to Uninstall and Reinstall Printer Drivers in Windows 10, 8, 7

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Over time, printer drivers can become damaged or outdated leading to poor performance. Uninstalling and doing a fresh reinstall of your printer driver resets everything to factory conditions again for optimal printing.

Reinstalling drivers is one of the most effective troubleshooting steps for resolving a wide range of print headaches like spooler errors, quality issues, and connectivity problems.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the straightforward process to fully uninstall and freshly reinstall printer drivers on Windows 10, 8, and 7 PCs.

How to Uninstall and Reinstall Printer Drivers in Windows 10, 8, 7

Why Reinstall Printer Drivers?

Some common scenarios when reinstalling your existing printer driver can help:

  • Frequent spooler errors, failed prints, and quality glitches indicating a corrupted driver.
  • After significant Windows updates that may cause driver compatibility issues.
  • Switching from direct USB to network printing (or vice versa).
  • To resolve printer offline errors that persist through basic troubleshooting.
  • Testing if an outdated driver is the root of problems after updating Windows.
  • When upgrading to a new printer model in the same product family.
  • As general periodic maintenance every 6-12 months.

Taking a few minutes to freshly reinstall a printer driver can fix numerous annoyances.

1. Uninstall the Current Printer Driver

The first step is to fully uninstall the existing printer driver:

  1. Open Windows Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners.
  2. Right click your printer and select Remove device. Confirm the deletion.
  3. Open Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.
  4. Uninstall any printer driver software packages listed here associated with your printer.
  5. Restart your computer after removing the driver. This completes the uninstallation.

2. Download the Updated Printer Driver

Now you can download the latest driver version from the printer manufacturer’s website:

  1. Go to the support page for your printer model on the manufacturer website.
  2. Navigate to the downloads section and locate printer drivers available for your operating system.
  3. Select the most recent driver version and download the installer file.
  4. Take note of the exact driver name and version for easy reinstallation.

3. Run the Printer Driver Installer

With the updated driver downloaded, run the installer you downloaded:

  1. Locate the printer driver installer and double-click to launch it.
  2. Follow the prompts, clicking Next and accepting license agreements.
  3. On connection options, choose local or network printer based on your setup.
  4. Select your printer model when prompted and allow the installation to complete.

4. Add the Printer Back to Devices

The final step is adding the printer back to your system with the freshly installed driver:

  1. Open Windows Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners.
  2. Click Add a Printer and select your printer model from the list.
  3. If the printer does not auto-populate, select The printer that I want isn’t listed and enter your printer name and IP address.
  4. Accept any prompts to automatically find driver software on your system.
  5. Print a test page to verify function. Enjoy your refreshed driver!

Follow these steps whenever a corrupted driver is suspected or printer issues arise after major Windows updates. Consistently updated drivers go a long way towards sustained printing reliability.

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