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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Finding Windows Vista drivers for an old printer

Q: I have a Hewlett Packard Photosmart 7350 printer that worked just fine with my old computer. However, it’s obviously not compatible with Vista. (I tried the old CD but it wouldn’t work.)

Do you know of any way (or any company) that could help me salvage this printer so it works with my Windows Vista laptop? Hewlett Packard says there isn’t any software available. I’ll be avidly awaiting your reply.

A: Hewlett Packard sells hundreds of different printers, and they’re often quite similar to each other. Since the different printer models often share the same parts and features, you can often substitute one model’s Vista driver for another printer model.

So, you’re in luck: According to the Installing and Configuring an Alternate Driver in Windows Vista page on Hewlett Packard’s Web site, your printer will work fine using Vista’s own, built-in drivers. You don’t need to download anything.

There’s only one trick to make your printer work: When you install the printer, tell Vista you’re installing a “Deskjet 5550” model, instead. Those drivers should let you use your Photosmart 7350 printer in Vista.

The page I’ve linked above gives you complete step-by-step instructions.

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