Print | Rate this content

HP LaserJet - How to Select the Correct Printer Driver

Introduction

If there is more than one driver option listed for your printer, use the information in this document to help you determine which printer driver to choose.

Otherwise, to quickly determine which driver is recommended and/or whether your printer is supported, go to one of the following support documents:

NOTE: This document provides instructions for print drivers only. A Full feature driver or software solution with other features such as scan applications, etc. might be available from www.hp.com for select HP LaserJet Multifunction Printers. To find out if a full solution is available for your printer, use one of the links below.

top

Download a driver

If you know which driver to select and want to download it, follow these steps:

  1. Go to HP Support .

  2. Select Drivers & Downloads, type your printer name in the search box, and then click Go.

  3. Select the printer model from the list of search results.

  4. Select the operating system.

  5. Locate the driver that you want to download and then click Download.

    NOTE: Drivers are typically found under either the Driver, Software, or Utility sections. You do NOT need to download drivers from each section.

top

Before you select a driver

Many HP LaserJet printers come with a driver built into the Windows operating system (OS) (a.k.a. In-OS driver) or available via Windows Update. Likewise, for Mac systems, drivers are usually available via Apple Software Update. For some printers, these are the only drivers available.

In Windows 8/8.1, for many users, Windows detects the printer hardware and automatically installs the correct driver when the USB or network cable is connected from the printer to the computer (if connected to the internet) and you do not need to download any software or insert the printer CD.

If Windows does not automatically detect and install the driver, you might need to install the driver using Devices and Printers (formerly Add a Printer wizard) in Windows. For more information, go to Driver support included in Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 .

top

Select a driver

In general, driver selection depends on which features you want, in which environment you are using the printer, and the number of printers that you want to update.

Use the following links to navigate to the appropriate section for your operating system.

Windows drivers

For Windows users, there are HP printer-specific drivers and HP universal print drivers.

Model-specific Drivers for Windows

This section discusses Printer-specific software and driver options for the Windows operating system. For universal print driver options for the Windows operating system, see HP Universal Print drivers for Windows .

NOTE: For most Windows users, in most situations, HP recommends the full solution driver. When available, this model-specific driver is typically called the HP LaserJet Series Full Solution, HP LaserJet Full Software Solution, HP LaserJet Full Feature Software and Driver, or HP Product Installation Software.
WINDOWS
Printer-specific option at HP.com
Description
Full Solution, or
Full Software Solution, or
Full Feature Software and Driver, or
Product Installation Software
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Recommended for most users that want all the software required to take advantage of all printer capabilities

  • Includes installer wizard, model-specific print driver, model-specific scan driver (MFPs only), and administrative tools, etc. often found on the printer's software CD.

  • Does not require additional HP software

  • Includes the complete set of printer-specific PCL 6 or host-based drivers and advanced features such as:
    - Easy-to-use software installer wizard
    - Administrative tools such as HP Device Toolbox
    - HP Scan or Send software (MFPs only)
    - HP Fax setup (MFPs only)
    - Other features found on the printer's software CD

NOTE: Use this option if you need to re-install the software, want the latest driver, or have lost the printer CD.
HP PCL 6
and Basic driver
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Default print-only driver on the printer's software CD

  • Recommended for all Windows environments

  • Recommended for general office applications such as word processing or spreadsheet applications, etc.

  • Provides the overall best speed, print quality, and printer feature support for most users.

NOTE: Use if there is not a full solution available or as a distributable driver alternative to the HP UPD.
HP PCL 5
(a.k.a. PCL 5c or PCL 5e for some LaserJets)
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Recommended for general office printing in Windows environments

  • Includes print-only driver compatible with previous PCL versions or older LaserJet printers

  • For printing from 3rd party or custom software solutions such as forms, fonts (non-Postscript), or SAP programs

  • For printing in mixed environments which require the printer language to be set to PCL 5, such as with UNIX, Linux, and mainframe

NOTE: Can be used to achieve backward compatibility with previous PCL versions or older LaserJet printers.
HP PostScript
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Includes print-only driver recommended for printing from graphic-intensive applications such as Adobe

  • Provides support for postscript emulation printing, or for postscript flash font support

  • For best print compatibility between Macintosh and Windows application files – for example when font matching is needed in mixed Mac and Windows environments

NOTE: Printer must have PostScript printing capability to use this driver.
Host-based basic 1,2, or
Host-based print/scan* 1,2, or
Plug and Play 1, or
Print/Scan Plug and Play 1
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Enables scan and/or print functionality for USB- or parallel port-connected MFPs and printers

  • Includes an easy-to-use software installer wizard, print driver, scan driver (MFPs only), and USB compatibility files

  • Plug and Play options do not typically work with network-connected printers

NOTE: Use to obtain the most features if there is no full solution available.
Point and print driver bundle
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • For use when installing a shared driver on a network print server

  • Typically used by administrators or IT staff to allow for Point and Print interaction among different operating systems

  • For use when using a two-step driver installation process including:
    1. Install a shared driver on a network print server, and
    2. Point to the print server share from a network client.

Driver included in Windows
Description
In-OS or Windows Update driver
  • Available for most HP LaserJets

  • Print driver built into in the Windows operating system (In-OS) or available via Windows Update when connected to the internet

  • For some LaserJets, this is the only driver option available

  • Might not include advanced driver features or scan options

  • For some multifunction or all-in-one printers, use this driver to print and use the control panel or the Scan and Fax feature in Windows to scan

1 - USB cable or parallel port connected only.

2 - Host-based print drivers use the computer's (host’s) resources to process print commands and convert the text and graphics into pixels or dots the printer can place on the page, thereby taking advantage of the computer's memory and processing power. Host-based printers cannot use PCL or PS drivers. Plug and Play drivers are specifically designed to assist with installing printers connected via a USB or parallel port.

Drivers are available for most printers. If a driver for your printer was not included in the Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 OS and you have not been able to locate a driver in Windows Update, or on www.hp.com, your printer might not be supported . For more information, go to Products Not Supported in Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 .

HP Universal Print Drivers for Windows

The Universal Printer Driver (UPD) was created to facilitate printer installations in a managed (IT) business environment where multiple printer models and multiple drivers might otherwise be needed. Driver management is greatly simplified. UPD types can be identified by the name appended to the end of the title (e.g. PCL 5, PCL 6, PostScript).

For Windows users that want a driver without an installer or extra software, the HP Universal Print Driver (UPD) is recommended. The HP Universal Print Driver (UPD) is a single driver which provides printing support for multiple HP LaserJet printer models in a Windows environment in lieu of printer-specific drivers for each LaserJet. This makes it easy for system administrators and IT help desks to distribute.

When to choose a UPD

  • When you have a managed print environment with multiple HP LaserJet models – in order to reduce the number of unique printer drivers to be installed and managed (typically used by print administrators or IT staff).

  • When a driver was not included with your Windows OS (In-OS driver) and there is no Windows Update driver option available.

  • When you want more advanced driver functionality or features that are not available with the In-OS driver.

Which UPD do I choose?

NOTE: UPD drivers can be used when connected via network or USB.
Driver
Description
HP Universal Print Driver for Windows PCL6
  • Available for most HP LaserJets

  • Recommended for printing in all Windows environments

  • Provides the overall best speed, print quality, and printer feature support for most users

  • Might not be fully compatible with third-party and custom solutions based on PCL5

HP Universal Print Driver for Windows PostScript
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Recommended for printing from graphic-intensive applications such as Adobe

  • Provides support for postscript emulation printing, or for postscript flash font support

  • Provides the best print compatibility between Macintosh and Windows application files – for example when font matching is needed in mixed Mac and Windows environments

NOTE: Printer must have PS printing capability to use this driver.
HP Universal Print Driver for Windows PCL5
  • Available for select HP LaserJets

  • Recommended for general office printing in Windows environments

  • Compatible with previous PCL versions or older LaserJet printers

  • For printing from 3rd-party or custom software solutions such as forms, fonts (non-Postscript), or SAP programs

  • For printing in mixed environments which require the printer language to be set to PCL 5, such as with UNIX, Linux, and mainframe

For more information or to download the HP UPD, go to www.hp.com/go/upd .

Macintosh drivers

Most drivers for OS X 10.7 and later are available only in Apple Software Update. For some LaserJets, this driver might not include scan options. Check www.hp.com/go/support for an HP Full Solution. If a full solution is not available for your printer, use Apple Software Update or the HP Mac Postscript driver (typically built into the Mac operating system), and then use the Apple Image Capture feature to scan.

Linux drivers

For more information on Linux printing and to obtain drivers, go to www.hp.com/go/linuxprinting .

Unix drivers

For UNIX, use model scripts to provide feature selections such as trays and duplex.

To install and download printer-specific model scripts, follow these steps:
  1. Go to HP Support .

  2. Select Drivers & Downloads, type your printer name in the search box, and then click Go.

  3. Select the printer model from the list of search results.

  4. Select UNIX from the list of operating systems.

  5. Under the Driver section, click the HP Unix Modelscripts link.

  6. Click the Installation Instructions tab to view or print the instructions, and then click Download.

  7. Click Save as, note the location, and then click Save.

  8. Browse to the location where you saved the file, double-click the file, and then follow the on-screen instructions to install the model scripts.

For more information on installing UNIX Model Scripts, go to HP LaserJet and Officejet - Install Model Scripts for a UNIX operating system (c04222920) (in English).

For the Jetdirect printer installer, go to www.hp.com/go/jetdirectunix_software .

top

Provide feedback

Please rate the information on this page to help us improve our content. Thank you!