Installing printer drivers from a Windows Vista installation

Windows Vista comes with a huge collection of printer drivers in the box. If you need to install one or more of these drivers on a print server go to the Sharing tab of you printer and hit the Additional Drivers:


Check the driver you want to install and hit OK. Windows will ask you where the driver is located. Now browse to the following folder on the Vista machine:


This is where Vista keeps its driver store. For printers, the folders you are looking for start with prn. HP printer drivers are stored in the prnhp###.inf_######## folders for example. The tricky part is to determine which folder holds your required driver. Windows will not do a recursive search through the folder hierarchy so you have to point it at the correct folder for your printer. I usually do a search in the file contents for the name of the printer I am installing a driver for.

You can (of course) use PowerShell to do the searching for you. One of many possible commands is:

get-childitem -Path C:WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepository -include *.inf -recurse | select-string -pattern ‘hp deskjet 980’

This will echo out the name of the file that contains the text hp deskjet 980, as well as the line in the file that contains the text.

Note: If you do this, you will notice that you get two folders containing inf files that match the text you searched for, provided that you searched for the name of a printer whose driver comes with Windows. Doing a compare of these files yields very few differences, and it seems to me they are for the same driver. You can compare two files like this:

fc.exe /U C:WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepositoryprnhp001.inf
_65b34c6aprnhp001.inf C:WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepositoryprnhp001.inf_884be055prnhp001.Inf

If you require x64 drivers you need to connect to a Vista x64 computer and if you need an x86 driver you connect to Vista x86.

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