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Firmware and Drivers are both types of software.

Firmware is software that runs on a device.
Drivers are software that tell your operating system how to communicate with a device.
Essentially, firmware allows the hardware to do what it was designed to do, while drivers allow software to interact with hardware.

Printer firmware is a software program stored within the printer. This software program allows the printer to receive information from a computer and then turn it into a printed image. Both ink and toner printers have firmware.When firmware updates are available, it is important to install them. Doing so can repair bugs in the existing firmware, improve product performance, and extend the life of your printer. Some updates fix issues with printing speed, thus increasing your page print output per minute. Not all printer models support user-updatable firmware. To be certain, you’ll have to search your printer manufacturer’s website for the exact model number on your printer.

*A word of CAUTION before applying an update, especially in the case of firmware: Always double check model numbers before applying a firmware update; make certain the update is for your exact model of printer. Applying an update intended for a similar-but-different model could result in your printer becoming non-operational.*

Once you have located the newest firmware, save it on your computer. Next, hook up your printer. Be sure cables are securely plugged in to avoid malfunctions in the updating process. Never disconnect cables or unplug your printer during an update; this could cause damage to your printer.An internet search is often the fastest way to find the most up-to-date software for your printer. In a search engine, type the brand of your printer, the model number, and the word ‘firmware’ to see if you can locate available updates.  Or go directly to the manufacturer’s website and look up the model number of your printer and check for firmware updates.

Now, run the executable firmware file from your manufacturer, and follow all on screen instructions carefully. Most firmware updates automatically detect your printer model correctly, but always double check when selecting options during the installation process. Allow the firmware to fully transfer without interruption. Lastly, restart both your computer and printer to complete the process.

Once your equipment has restarted, you should look to confirm that the installation process was successfully completed. Do so by entering the Control Panel on your computer and navigating to the Printers menu. Right click on the printer you updated. Choose ‘Printer Properties’ from the 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 downloaded. If it does, you have successfully installed your new firmware. If not, make certain you downloaded the firmware for the exact model of your printer and start again.

In order to keep alerted to future updates to your device, register your printer purchase with the manufacturer.  Then visit the manufacturer’s website occasionally for a list of released firmware updates.

Click below to watch a video demonstrating how to use a flash drive and the USB port on some HP printers to perform firmware updates.