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Watch Out for Print Driver Changes in Win10!

Over the past 10 days, I’ve been chasing down a strange problem with one of my network printers: the excellent Dell 2155cn has been a real workhorse for me for the past three years remained visible after my Win10 upgrade frenzy in late August, it actually disappeared entirely from the network. This morning, chasing down the latest drivers via the 2155 cn’s service tag ID, I finally figured out why: the old Windows 7-era 2155cn drivers are not offered for Windows 10 (though they worked fine in Windows 8 and 8.1), and it’s now necessary to switch to Dell’s Open Print driver (OPD) and management (OPM) software instead.

dell-opd

Dell has switched from device specific drivers to a general, open print driver architecture.

My only real clue to breaking through this problem came from Printers and Devices, where the old 2155cn device was still showing and still interacted with the printer when I used a USB connection to that device. But when I looked at the status line for the 2155cn it read “Device driver not available,” which told me everything I needed to know about why none of my networked PCs could find that printer any more. And presto! as soon as I installed the new Open Print Driver from Dell, the device reappeared on the network and became accessible. What had fooled me into a false sense of security was the continued residence of a (non-working) device in Printers and Devices which lulled me into thinking all was working OK. As the old saying goes: “Appearances can be deceiving.” For despite the appearance of that device therein in its familiar (and formerly working) guise, there was no working driver there anymore to actually DO something.

Windows in general, and Windows 10 in particular, continues to be an ongoing, educational, and sometimes vexing experience. Stay thirsty, my friends!

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