The HP Universal Print Driver 5 released earlier this summer. A maintenance release of this version corrects some items listed in the "Breaking News" tab of the HP Universal Print Driver site. Please review the following sources of information:
- Detailed release notes for the original HP Universal Print Driver 5.0 launch
- NEW: Universal Print Driver System Administrator's Guide
- Other documents for WTS, Citrix and Cluster environments published under the "Documents" tab of the UPD site.
- Compatibility with plug-and-play as well as print language support for devices under the "Specifications" tab of the UPD site.
As always, if you have questions for new or existing product, please consult the support resource your sales team provided to you. If you have not been working with an HP Sales representative for enhanced support, call 1-800-HP-INVENT. Regards, B.
As many IT administrators know, the launch of Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Server 2008 R2 are quickly coming around the corner. The MS Windows 7 wide release comes on the 22nd of October, 2009. I know most of my customers are looking forward to this release from Microsoft. Administrators managing devices such as printers, scanners, multifunction and all-in-one products will likely want to plan for compatibility and readiness.
Commercial LaserJet, Color LaserJet and Edgeline Drivers:
Customers who have moved to simplify their deployed drivers on print servers and clients are in good shape with the HP Universal Print Driver. While they may be fine with earlier versions, officially support from HP comes with the current 5.0 version (www.hp.com/go/universalprintdriver). Specifications on what hardware models are supported by this print driver and method of connectivity are listed on the "Specifications" tab from the UPD's website. For administrators sharing drivers from print servers or hosting as direct-IP or USB connections for compatible devices, this is a good option and the recommended one to go with by Hewlett-Packard in most cases.
Other Imaging and Printing Products including printers, scanners, all-in-one's, etc.:
HP has posted a Windows 7 readiness portal at www.hp.com/go/win7. It’s been recently updated with the link for “HP Imaging and Printing Software and Driver Information for Windows® 7”. Click this link to see if your product is (or will be) supported in the Windows 7 environment. Consider the following:
- Right now the device list looks relatively complete and detailed. If you do not see your device there, talk with your HP sales representative as you plan for fleet deployments or contact your support contact for confirmations if required on what is or is not supported. There are always options for unsupported devices, including trade-up programs and seasonal trade-in promotions.
- Customers will not see download links for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 drivers just yet on the HP portal, but the Windows 7 Readiness portal advises: "HP Software & Driver downloads will be available closer to the official release of Windows® 7, which is scheduled for October 22, 2009." Customers can expect to see those download links appear as the URL advised closer to the launch date.
Kind regards, B.
UPDATE (01-OCT-2009): Customers will start seeing links on download locations appearing for HP's commercial products like Laserjet, Color LaserJet and Edgeline devices showing "Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit)" and "Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)". There's not much content there yet, but as I start to see drivers post for various products I'll advise. No such links exist yet for the consumer and small business and commercial direct-attached oriented products like DeskJet and OfficeJet products, but when I see stuff, I'll advise. Don't forget the "Windows Update" feature for many drivers which are already available for distribution from Microsoft documented here: www.hp.com/go/win7.
DDU: Use the HP Driver Deployment Utility to preconfigure drivers, create network print queues and preserve WHQL
Posted by: Brian R. Kneebone
Technology Consultant, Imaging and Printing Group
A short time ago, Hewlett-Packard had released a utility called the "HP Driver Deployment Utility" (DDU) to the web. Previously the DDU was circulated privately amongst HP's enterprise customers. DDU was designed to be as agnostic as possible with most commercial LaserJet, Color LaserJet and Edgeline drivers including the HP Universal Print Driver. Here are its major features:
- Prepare drivers for non-interactive (and silent where possible) deployment for USB-connected devices through your desktop software management tool
- Prepare drivers and print queue for non-interactive deployment (and silent where possible) for network-connected devices through your desktop software management tool.
- Preconfigure drivers without breaking the Microsoft driver signature (also known as WHQL) where previous tools like the "HP Driver Pre-configuration Utility" would (also known as the "Driver Preconfiguration Editor" or DMC).
I would encourage you to explore the benefits of this software by reading the "HP Driver Preconfiguration Support Guide" which covers pre-configuration of drivers using all of the tools above as well as using tools found on CD like the "Customization Utility".
Note that these methods may not be appropriate for all circumstances. In some cases it may be wise to use the bundle created for administrators on the product support website. For example, I often recommend customers use the "Network Express" (sometimes called "Corporate" or "Slim" or "Basic" drivers) where devices like HP LaserJet all-in-ones are used for print/scan. And some of the lower-end ink products may not be compatible with the DMC and have their own deployment strategies using slim bundles prepared on the product support website available for download.
I'm certainly glad this tool has been posted. It's proven quite useful for a number of my large corporate customers. I hope you find it equally as useful. Take care, B.
Posted by: Brian R. Kneebone
Technology Consultant, Imaging and Printing Group
In the category of "updates I would like to have posted earlier", I want to let everyone know that the HP Universal Print Drivers have been updated. Although if you are getting proactive alerts, you would have already known this. This UPD update includes all versions (PCL5, PCL6 and Postscript) as well as all operating system bit depths (32-bit/x86 and 64-bit/x64).
|Previous Versions||Current Versions|
|Release Dates||April 2008||November 2008|
|Universal Print Drivers|
x86/x64: PCL5, PCL6, PostScript
|HP Managed Print Administration|
Windows IIS Based Application
|HP Active Directory Templates|
ADM Template for MS GPOs
For those not familiar with the HP Universal Print Driver, it is compatible with over 100 devices made by Hewlett-Packard (generally anything that supports PCL5, PCL6 or Postscript made by HP - check your product specifications). It can be used in the following major ways:
As a standard print driver shared from a Windows print server using Microsoft Point-and-Print
As a standard print driver used directly on clients printing to network devices
As a standard print driver used directly on clients printing to USB plug-and-play devices
- As a single driver pointing to multiple network devices with a dynamic discovery window using optional printer lists created in the MPA tool and made available via MPA or ADM.
Before you deploy the driver into your large production print servers, I recommend observing the following points of advice:
- This driver employs the same shared Microsoft UniDrive (unidrv.dll and related files for PCL5 and PCL6) and Pscript (pscript5.dll and related files for Postscript) technology as many other drivers depend upon, including those drivers supplied from other (non-HP) print vendors. While the use of UniDrive and Pscript is a very positive thing for multilingual support and various other reasons, I recommend a measure of caution.
- Where possible, HP is advising customers proactively in its release notes to look for behaviours where shared components are updated including the length of time required to update servers with large ammounts of print queues and possible cases where driver defaults change settings upon updates. Much of this is expected behavior based on how the various components interact with one another, so please review the release notes which accompany the product download for more information on these topics.
- It is worth mentioning there are some relatively new hot-fixes available for MS UniDrive and possibly MS Pscript available from Microsoft's support website which may be pertinent to your environment.
Okay, so now that the bases have been generally covered, let's get into the really great features that were added with the HP Universal Print Driver 4.7 above and beyond what was available with version 4.5.
Some of the new features of UPD version 4.7 include:
- The ability to pre-configure driver settings like number of trays, duplex, color, etc. without needing to depend exclusively on the dynamic discovery capabilities which have made the Universal Print Driver famous. This will allow network administrators to deploy print queues in advance of having hardware physically available to discover at the other end of the network as well as be more functional with solutions like HP Access Control Secure Printing.
- The ability to allow users interacting with the dynamic discovery window to create permanent instances of printers they use regularly, even if they do not have local administrative rights. On previous versions this was restricted to local administrators and power users. The ability to suppress permanent printer creation remains available as a configurable setting in MPA/ADM if required.
- The ability to define and use separator pages within the print driver. Previously with HP devices, users had to obey settings administrators defined using Microsoft separator pages which were global to that particular print queue. While this is still possible, HP has added a feature in-driver which is configurable user-by-user (if administrators enable this in the "Device Settings" tab on that particular print queue) as an alternative to the Microsoft separator pages.
- The ability for Web Jetadmin to interrogate more locally connected devices over USB when using the HP Web Jetadmin SNMP Proxy Agent available from the HP Web Jetadmin portal. Previously, devices could only be interrogated if using the DOT4 (1284.4) printer port. This new set of language libraries allows for interrogation of a broader range of devices including Composite USB. For those who don't know this, the proxy agent will also interrogate some of HP's new emerging scanner products including the HP ScanJet N9120.
- The ability to select a new short cut called "Eco-print" where duplex printing is enabled when selected. While printing in duplex is by no means a new feature, HP is doing its part to elevate the visibility on reducing land waste and carbon considerations through more avenues. For those who don't know, back with the introduction of the Universal Print Driver 4.5 configurable switches for install.exe and/or MPA/ADM engines allow administrators to define default duplex policies. This has been continued with this and future versions of the HP Universal Print Driver.
- The ability to use more advanced version controls. When adding the driver using the Microsoft Add Printer Wizard (APW) or Add Driver Wizard (ADW), administrators are given an option to install the universal print driver over-top existing versions or allow it to largely co-exist with previous versions. I say "largely" because some shared components from Microsoft (notably UniDrive and Pscript) get updated regardless. But many of the HP dependencies are given unique names and the ability for multiple driver INF versions to co-exist on the same server has been received quite well by the administrator communities who desire more flexible control in their environments.
- The ability to enable early warm-up. This is a powerful feature for devices which have deeper sleeps where even before the job is fully rendered, a wake-up command can be relayed to the printer to reduce wait times. While most of HP's devices have pioneered the use of "Instant-On" technologies, this is particularly helpful for jobs going to large departmental devices which support this command using modern firmware.
- The ability to print to non-HP devices is now supported when using the commands detailed in the release notes of the product. Remember however, that many of the features may not be available or compatible with non-HP devices, but where you just want to do a simple print to a competitive product on the run, this could be quite helpful (e.g. where using the driver as a mobile driver in an environment other than your own).
- The ability to deploy more devices used in a plug-and-play (USB-connected) environment.
- The ability to support pin-less private print jobs by way of management tools like the MPA and ADM templates.
This is a fantastic product that's worked extremely well for most of our enterprise and smaller customers alike. As with any driver, follow prudent testing before deploying into production to ensure the results you see are expected. Contact your support resource if you have any product specific issues. If you'd like to request special consultation with an on site specialist, work with your HP sales representative who will prepare a quotation for you based on your organization's requirements.
Take care, Brian ...