I have an HP4100 printer that I am trying to use with a new Windows 7 laptop, and I have had a range of issues. Let me explain the saga in case any steps are important.
At first, it seemed simple. When I plug in the printer, Windows 7 searches for and finds an HP PCL6 driver that it installs. The problem is that this driver gives me PCL XL errors on some print jobs. I found all kinds of messages on HP message boards that the HP PCL6 drivers give these errors whenever anything is slightly amiss. So, it looks like that easy default will not work for me, anyway.
I discovered that there is also an HP4100 PS (postscript) driver available from Windows if I go to Windows Update. However, I cannot find any way to choose that driver instead of the default. I could not find any way to get Windows to stop automatically installing its preferred driver and ask me what to do. As an alternative, I tried going into Devices and Printers, right click the HP 4100 printer and select Printer Properties, to Advanced, then select New Driver. This gives me a chance to go to Windows Update for more driver choices, and then select HP4100 PS driver. It seemed to work. However, I immediately get an error that the HP 4100 PS driver is not installed. It appears that the PS driver is working. However, I get the driver not installed message every time I right click on the printer and select Printer Properties. Strange.
Looking for more options, I go back to HP to the only driver on the site for my printer, an HP Universal Driver PCL5 for Windows 7 x64. (I had a dedicated PCL5 driver on my old Windows XP computer that worked well with this printer for years.) Unfortunately, the instructions for the UPD are very complicated -- intended for a system administrator setting up whole new printer arrangements. I finally gave up and decided to try. I first tried downloading and installing the driver before connecting the printer. However, I found that I had to select a printer port during the install, and I could find no way to identify the correct USB port that the printer would use when connected. I then deleted all current HP printers and drivers. I plugged in the printer and let it autoinstall HP4100 PCL6 driver. Then I downloaded and unzupped the HP UPD driver PCL5 for Windows 7 x64 into a folder. I went to Devices and Printers, selected the HP 4100 PCL6, right clicked to Printer Properties, then Advanced. Here I selected New Driver, and when I got to selecting the driver I chose "have disk" and navigated to one of the .inf files in the unpacked UPD driver folder I just created. This seemed to load the driver fine, and left me with no errors.
At this point, I tried some of the same graphics that failed on the HP4100 PCL6 and HP4100 PS drivers, and they printed correctly -- and much faster than the other drivers. I cannot be sure if the printing issue is solved, but it looks good at this point.
Now for the next issue, which could be more serious. I closed down my computer last night with the PS driver still installed and seeming to work. However, when the computer booted this morning, the system hung during the Loading Windows screen. When I restarted manually, I got a Windows screen saying the computer failed to start and suggesting a repair procedure. I tried this repair option that came up, but it found no errors after running for about 8-10 minutes. Fortunately, the system booted correctly the second time. I assumed it must have been a glitch.
Later on, I deleted the PS driver and installed the UPD PCL5 driver as noted above. This seemed to work. However, the next time I rebooted, the system got to the normal screen but something was wrong because any command I tried just went into an infinite wait loop. Again, when I rebooted, it worked the second time.
I am wondering if the PS driver somehow messed up the system driver support. I hope someone can help me. I am wondering if I need to restore to an earlier time in case the PS driver left some kind of harm. Thanks.