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How to install a network printer on Windows 7 x64

Are you going to be upgrading to Windows 7 x64, or have you recently purchased a new computer running a 64 bit version of Windows?  Most computers sold a couple years ago shipped with 32 versions of Windows, but many newer computers ship with 64 bit versions to take advantage of additional memory and speed.  If you are sharing a printer from a computer running one architecture of Windows with one running a different architecture, this tutorial is for you.  It is not too difficult to do if you follow these steps, so read on and if you have questions just ask in the comments!

A little background first: we have an HP Deskjet F735 connected to a system running Vista Home Premium x86, and have the printer shared over our home network.  When I installed the Windows 7 RC x64, I tried to install the printer but it said that Windows couldn’t find the drivers for my system.  HP’s website doesn’t list drivers for Windows 7, but I figured that wouldn’t be a big deal since Vista drivers can work fine on Windows 7.  After trying a couple of things, I finally got it to work with a bit of a workaround.  Details follow.  Note, these instructions worked for me to get a Windows 7 Professional x64 computer to print to an HP Deskjet F735 connected to a Vista Home Premium x86 computer.  I would imagine these instructions would work for similar situations with different printers, but can’t guarantee it.  I also assume that these are the same steps you would take if you were using a printer connected to an x86 vista from an x64 vista; I haven’t tested this, so I don’t know!  I assume the printer is already setup on the Vista computer (the host computer).  If you do get another printer to work this way, leave a comment and let us know!

Ok, first, download the Windows Vista x64 driver for your printer.  The ones for the F735 are located at http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?os=2100&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=3457028.  Choose the Basic Drivers.

Next, run the installer on the host computer (the Vista x86 one) just like you were going to install the driver on the computer.  Then when it asks if you want to update or uninstall, click cancel.

Now, you need to find the folder that driver was extracted to.  Open Run (Win+R), and type in “C:\Users\your user name\appdata\local\temp” without the quotes, and substitute your user name where I have the your user name in italics.  Now find the folder that was created the most recently and doesn’t begin with a parenthesis.  On my computer the folder name started with a “7z” and then a half dozen other characters.  The folder should contain folders that say things like drivers, images, and a couple of other things, and it should also contain a lot of files that have the model name of your printer.  Now click on the address bar, select the entire line, and copy it (Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C).

Now we are going to open the control panel, click on printers, then right click on the name of the printer that you’re wanting to add the drivers for.  Click Properties, sharing, then click “Change Sharing Options.”  Now click the option at the bottom that says “Additional Drivers.”  Select the x64 box, and then click OK.  When it prompts you for the drivers, paste the name of the folder that you found in the last step (Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+V).  Close the dialogs when they are finished.

Finally, go back to your 7 x64 desktop, and add the network printer like you usually do.  Everything should work from there!

Happy printing!

Note: Edited for the final release version of Windows 7

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