What is a driver and why does my computer not have one?

What is a driver and why does my computer not have one?

A driver is the bit of software than lets a piece of hardware in or attached to your computer (like the video card or printer) work with the Operating system. Like windows 10 or 11.

Missing drivers happen for a small variety of reasons and there is probably a built-in troubleshooter to find and load one for it. Hopefully we’re not talking about your network card. That makes it a lot harder.

A “driver” is software to operate a peripheral like a printer or scanner or whatever. Apparently you plugged something in for which the computer doesn’t have an installed driver (generally, the operating system will have a bunch of common ones preinstalled and/or information to download them from the internet to cover most but not all devices).
The solution is to find and install the driver for the device (there might be a disk that came with it, or you might need to find it on the manufacturer’s web site).

This, in particular, is where I run into any issues with drivers, particularly for peripheral devices (printers, mice, external drives, etc.) that aren’t part of the computer’s original setup.

Now that most computers don’t have CD-ROM drives installed, and peripherals tend to not come packaged with the drivers on a CD, the norm now is downloading the drivers from the web site of the peripheral’s manufacturer.

I’ll try to find it. I thought the printer I bought put it in. Do I have to get some kind of disk to put one in?

See my and Steve_MB’s replies.

As noted by the previous comment, your best bet is probably to go to the manufacturer web site, search for the specific model, and download the driver.

I did download the setup from the manufacturer.

If you aren’t sure where to go, do a search on “[printer manufacturer] [printer model number] printer driver,” and make sure that whatever link you follow is actually going to the manufacturer’s website.

As with all things, sometimes the answer is unplug it and plug it back in again.

Yeah I did that a couple times. And I went to their website and it seems to be designed to not help if your problem isn’t on their list. Guess they figure already got his money so he can go pound sand. I tried to download their driver and it says it does not recognize the printer.

Does ANYONE other then canon make a simple printer that a retied old fart living on social security can afford that will work. I guess I’m just SOL with this one and have to eat the money I spent with canon. And the ink wasn’t cheap either.

There is a Generic Canon Driver for all 64 bit Windows Op systems, this should work once installed.

It shouldn’t be difficult to download a driver from Canon. What operating system are you running?

It says it already exists. So do I need to move on and buy another printer or another computer?

The printer already exists?

If so the solution is usually to delete the printer and then add it back in.

No. That’s not a thing.

Someone upthread suggested going to the manufacturer’s web sight and downloading the driver. Sometimes it is called “installation kit”, “Installation” or some permutation. That is the best way to go, I do this for a living.
Here is the example for the HP 1102.

Printers have always been the worst part of computer systems. Even back in the days when a printer was something that banged out ascii characters on fanfold paper, and the computer was something the size of a car living in a dedicated room, managing them sucked a sys-op’s time like no other task. Somehow it has never gotten any better.

The chain of things that the operating system requires is easily broken in stupid ways. Modern systems try to be helpful in ways that can actually silently trip them up.

So, often the best answer is to remove all the system setup you have for a printer and put it back again, being careful of the order. Remove the printer from your systems list of available printers (of which it is probably the only one). Install the drivers again. Go through the setup instructions again.

There is a good chance that it will work.

It isn’t the printer itself that is at fault. Millions of people have bought printers and they work. The problem lies in the morass of accidents of history leaving us with systems that can silently tie themselves in a knot and deliver unhelpful error messages when they fail. Deleting all the printer setup and starting again is the system equivalent of turning it off and on again. Sometimes this is the fastest way of delivering a sharp thwack on the head to the operating system.

Unhelpfully my advice to anyone likely to struggle is to buy a Mac. But for many the price of entry is too high and if they are used to Windows in various incarnations a struggle to adapt. But they tend to be a bit less of a source of bewildering frustration.

Back in my more tech literate days, I was often the guy people went to with computer problems. I refused to deal with printer problems, and said, “I’m a tech, not an exorcist.”