Printer drivers and the unexpected results

Howdy one and all and a great big welcome to The Weekly Geek!

As regular readers know, July 2006 Microsoft officially quit supporting updates for Windows 98 and ME. To their credit, you can still get the updates created up to that point.

Now what happened in the printer market was a little quieter. Last week I decided to add a printer to a Windows ME machine I had hanging around so the kids could type and print school work without being on our network or more importantly the internet. Since I have a lot of used printers I just grabbed one. After connecting it, firing it and the computer up, Windows asked for the software. “No problem”, I thought, I will just run out and grab the drivers off the web. Well, it turned out that Lexmark had pulled all of the drivers for the “old” versions of Windows, they only had drivers for Windows 2000, XP and Vista. After checking on several models of printers on their site I found this was true all the way around. “Well, fine, I really don’t like Lexmark, I’ll just install an HP.” I said to myself.

Guess what, same there too. Next I searched all printers I had compared with Windows ME built in drivers, the only luck I had was on an old Epson Stylus 800 color that needed the printheads cleaned (another $15 kit I would have to buy). Being a cheapskate and wanting to connect the printer now (hey, I’m from the McDonalds generation) I searched through my piles of CDs for any of the printer CDs, no luck (earlier this year I took all disks prior to the year 2000 and used them for target practice at the gun range). Next I went through my downloads, again no luck on the HP or Lexmark or Dell printers. Now, I fully understand the obsolescence of Windows 95, 98, ME and NT but in all honesty I was not prepared for this.

If you are a frequent reader of these articles then you will know that I really like the Ricoh printers for business use, again, they too no longer support these versions of Windows.

Out of 2 Lexmark, 3 Epson, 1 Dell, 4 HP, 1 Apollo spare printers (this does not include the 4 printers I have connected to my network) only the Epson would provide drivers.

Last July (2007) we officially quit working on computers with Windows 98, ME, NT on them so I guess I should eat my own dog food and either replace this spare PC or convert it to a Linux box and then begin my drivers search all over again.

Well, that’s all for now, until we meet again, have a virus free week!