What are printer firmware updates?

4. October 2011 07:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

binary computer codePrinter firmware is the program stored inside of a printer, which allows it to receive information from a computer and turn it into a printed image. Both ink cartridge and toner printers have firmware.  While most users may not consider it important to install these updates, installing these updates can help repair bugs in existing firmware, which could reduce printer life. Many updates also fix issues with printing speed on some types of files and increasing the number of pages per minute that can be printed. Not all models of printers support user updatable firmware, so searching your printer manufacturer’s website for your exact model of printer will be required in installing firmware.

Using a search engine, like Google, will often be the fastest method of finding the most up to date software possible for your printer. A typical search would consist of your printer brand + printer model + firmware.  Once you have located the newest firmware, save it to your computer and hook up your printer. Be sure all cables are securely plugged in, as disconnecting the printer's data cable or power during the process may cause your printer to have an incomplete firmware installed, making it impossible to print until it can be repaired. This repair may require professional help, so double check before you begin the process.

Run the executable file from your manufacturer, and follow all on screen instructions carefully. Most firmware updates will automatically detect your printer model correctly, but be sure to check twice when selecting any options during the installation process. Again, be sure not to disconnect any cables during the installation. Allow the firmware to fully transfer, and then restart your computer and printer to complete the process.

Once your equipment has restarted, you can confirm that the installation was completed by entering the Control Panel on your computer and navigating to the Printers menu. Double click on the printer you have updated, and choose “Properties” from the “Printer” dropdown menu and check the version number in the “About” tab on this menu. The version displayed should match the version of the firmware you download. If it does, you have successfully installed your new firmware. If not, ensure that you have downloaded the firmware for your exact model of printer and try again.

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