HP printer drivers

Here’s an obscure problem that had me banging my head against the wall until I figured out the solution.

If you add a printer to Windows XP/2003 (and possibly other versions too), and choose to share it, there’s an option to install additional drivers. That way, someone running NT4 can connect to it, and automatically get the drivers from your machine. That’s the theory.

In practice, it goes like this:
1. Tick the box for “NT4 support”.
2. Get prompted for the necessary driver files.
3. Go to HP website, find/download relevant files.
4. Tell Windows where to find the files, by browsing to the relevant .inf file.
5. Get the error message “Windows cannot locate a suitable printer driver”.

The issue is that the device name inside the .inf file has to exactly match the device name in Windows XP.

Taking the HP 895Cxi as an example, the original line in the HPDJ.INF file says:
DEVICENAME=”HP DeskJet 895C Series Printer”

I then had to modify this to say:
DEVICENAME=”HP DeskJet 895Cxi”
at which point everything worked fine.

N.B. You can comment out a line in a .inf file by putting a semi-colon at the start, so that’s a useful approach in case you’re worried about breaking anything.

That’s the second time I’ve come across this problem, but there was enough of a time-lag in between that I only remembered “I have to hack around inside the .inf file”. So, now I have a permanent entry to remind me, and hopefully this is useful to someone else too.