FIND  HARDWARE  /  SOFTWARE  DRIVER  FILES  FROM  MANUFACTURER'S  WEBSITE


In the previous installation sections and throughout this website in general I have explained that the software files needed to make a piece of hardware communicate with the computer are known as: Drivers, which in turn are sometimes called Software Drivers or Driver Files. Either way, to keep things simple just remember those software files as: Drivers because they drive the hardware (make the hardware function and communicate with the computer).

In this section I'm going to show you how to find, download and install the Drivers for a Mono (B/W) Laser printer that OS X (Mountain Lion) has no preinstalled drivers for. Although I will be showing examples using the Canon i-Sensys LBP6000B Laser printer those examples can easily apply to finding, downloading and installing the drivers for a WebCam, Colour Printer, Modem/Router, Graphics Card and so on. In other words, this section is not about the printer. It's about manually finding, downloading and installing Drivers per se.


The first place to look for your hardware's Drivers (software files) is on the hardware manufacturer's website, and NOT necessarily on the installation cd/dvd that came with the hardware. This is because the manufacturer's website will have the very latest drivers available whereas the installation cd/dvd will only contain drivers that were created when the installation cd/dvd was manufactured. Furthermore, you would only rely on the drivers stored on the installation cd/dvd if the manufacturer's website was unavailable for example.

If you have no installation cd/dvd, perhaps because you bought the hardware second-hand, and the manufacturer has no support website you would then need to search the internet for a third-party support website and/or drivers. In this example I know Canon has a support website, but I don't know the exact 'Support & Downloads' website address (url) they are using for the Canon LBP6000B web page; therefore I have just typed 'Canon Support LBP6000B' into Google.



Fig 1.0  Begin your search for the hardware's Drivers (software files) by locating the hardware manufacturer's website first

When the search results come through (above) you should, in general, continue your search for the Drivers by locating the hardware manufacturer's .COM website first (i.e. www.canon.com). This is because their .COM website will usually be international. Meaning, it's drivers and web pages will more than likely be in many different, international, languages whereby it makes it easier for your to navigate their web pages and download their drivers because their website instructions will be in your language. In this example (above) I'm going to click on the first result (top website link) because it states Europe and canon.com in its website link and the LBP6000B printer name in its description; so I know I am on the right track.

After clicking on the website link I am taken to the specific website address (url) for the Canon LBP6000B printer. However, its Drivers are not immediately available for me to download simply because the web page needs to know what I require from it - Manuals, Drivers, Support, etc. So in this case I need to click on its SUPPORT & DOWNLOADS link to continue.



Fig 1.1  Click on the SUPPORT & DOWNLOADS link to continue

After clicking on the SUPPORT & DOWNLOADS link I then have the choice of downloading Software (Drivers and Applications), Manuals or Firmware Updates (Software that updates the hardware's internal software/code). In this example I am going to click on the SOFTWARE radio (circle/dot) button to proceed to the Software web page.



Fig 1.2  Click on the SOFTWARE radio (circle/dot) button to proceed

The Software web page needs to know which Operating System you are going to install any found Drivers and Applications on (Fig 1.3), and in which Language, so it can determine what to search for when you click on its SEARCH button (Fig 1.4). So in this example I am going to select the MAC OS X 10.8 operating system and English language from the respective drop-down menus before clicking on the SEARCH button.



Fig 1.3  Select the OPERATING SYSTEM any found Drivers and Applications will be installed on




Fig 1.4  Select the LANGUAGE any found Drivers and Applications need to be in before clicking on the SEARCH button

The reason you should manually select an operating system and language is because some websites try and be too clever by automatically detecting your operating system (as OS X Mountain Lion for example) and language (as English for example) whereby they then fill in the drop-down menus for you and assume you want Drivers and Applications in its automatically selected operating system and language. This is great of course if you do, but not so great if you are trying to download for a foreign friend for example.

In this example, after clicking on the SEARCH button, the canon website went looking for some Drivers and Applications relating to the operating system and language settings I selected. It only found the printer's Drivers, which is all that is needed anyway as it is a B/W (Mono) Printer, but in normal circumstances (i.e. when searching for an all-in-one printer's Drivers and Applications) the canon support website will usually find an application too; such as a Scanner application. This also true when using another manufacturer's support website. In this example I need to click on the CAPT PRINTER DRIVER... link to download the printer's Drivers file.



Fig 1.5  Click on the CAPT PRINTER DRIVER... link to download the printer's Drivers file

With some manufacturer websites you need to scroll down the support web page and click on its Terms & Conditions, I AGREE and/or ACCEPT & DOWNLOAD button before you can actually download the Drivers; like in this example.



Fig 1.6  Scroll down the support web page and then click on its ACCEPT & DOWNLOAD button to continue




Fig 1.7  The Drivers file has been downloaded to the DOWNLOADS folder

With the printer's Drivers file download (Fig 1.7 above), inside the DOWNLOADS folder, the next step is to launch (open/execute/run) it by double clicking on it. In this example there is only one Drivers file, called Mac_CAPT_v355_uk_EN.dmg, that I can double click on - It's a Drive IMage file.

A Disk Image (.dmg) file is a cross between a .zip (compressed folder) file and a flash drive - When double clicked on OS X (Mountain Lion) automatically decompresses (unzips) the content of the Disk Image (.dmg) installation file, just as it would a .zip file, but then creates a logical hard drive for it instead of a standard folder. The logical hard drive acts just like a flash drive in that it can be unmounted (removed) from the desktop and OS X (Mountain Lion) operating system. A bit like Windows 7's 'Safe To Remove Hardware' feature.

After double clicking on the .dmg file (Drivers file) it will display the contents of its temporary Logical Hard Drive (Fig 1.8 below) whereby you should then see a folder called MacOSX. Double clicking on that MacOSX folder should then reveal the Drivers' Installation (Setup) File which is normally a .pkg (Package) file.

PKG files are basically .zip (compressed folder) files that contain the actual software (application) files and/or Drivers alongside the Installer (Set-Up / Installation Wizard) file and Uninstaller (Uninstallation Wizard) file. Double clicking on an Installer file, such as the Canon_CAPT_Installer.pkg file, automatically executes (launches/runs) the printer Drivers' Installation Wizard.



Fig 1.8  Double click on the MacOSX folder, contained inside the temporary Logical Hard Drive, to continue.




Fig 1.9  Double click on the Canon_CAPT_Installer.pkg file, contained inside the MacOSX folder, to continue.

As with any Installation Wizard its first step (below) always begins with a Welcome Message. Read it if you must! and then click on its CONTINUE button to proceed to step 2 of the installation wizard (Fig 1.11) which is the License Agreement.



Fig 1.10  Read the Welcome Message, if need be, and then click on the CONTINUE button.




Fig 1.11  Read the Terms & Conditions carefully before clicking on the CONTINUE button

Read the License Agreement carefully. Although license agreements tend to contain useless information, they usually explain Copyright issues or Usage issues that clarify who can use the software and who cannot. So if, for example, you are told that a certain piece of software is Free and/or Free To Use you may want to clarify this by reading the agreement. Some installation wizards do not allow you to continue, by fading out the CONTINUE button, until you have read (scrolled down) the license agreement.

If after reading the terms and conditions you agree to them, click on the CONTINUE button (above) and then on the AGREE button (below) to continue.



Fig 1.12  If you agree to the Terms & Conditions click on the AGREE button to continue

The next step of the installation wizard gives you the option to change the destination folder (location folder) used to store the actual printer Drivers (software files) in, which includes the printer driver itself (the file that communications with the printer and computer). Clicking on the CHANGE INSTALL LOCATION button will bring up a folder requester (not shown here) that asks you to select your preferred destination folder. In normal circumstances, and for this example, you would leave the CHANGE INSTALL LOCATION button alone and just click on the INSTALL button instead to carry on with the standard installation of the printer Drivers.

In general a CHANGE INSTALL LOCATION button should only be used in scenarios whereby you were previously having problems with the installation and/or need the printer Drivers installed on another hard drive for example. In other words, when troubleshooting an installation problem. For example. If the printer is not working when its printer Drivers are installed inside the 'standard installation' folder you might try reinstalling the printer Drivers with your 'preferred' folder selected as the destination folder (location folder).



Fig 1.13  Click on the INSTALL button to begin the actual installation of the printer Drivers

After clicking on the INSTALL button, regardless if a standard folder or preferred folder is used as the destination folder (location folder), a security requester will appear asking you to authorise this installation of the printer Drivers. Simply enter the password of the currently logged-in user account into the security requester's PASSWORD Edit Box and then click on its INSTALL SOFTWARE button to continue.



Fig 1.14  Enter the password of the currently logged-in user account and then click on the INSTALL SOFTWARE button

With the installation process now authorised to place files on your apple mac computer the installation wizard can continue by copying the actual printer Drivers (software files) on your apple mac computer, as well as registering the printer and performing the overall setup procedure. The above installation steps were just the preparation stages for you to customize, authorise and agree to with regards to where the actual printer Drivers (software files) will be installed.

If you need to cancel (quit) an installation process at any time, not just this one, you should click on the CANCEL button or QUIT button of the installation's current window; if one of these buttons are available of course. Or just click on the window's red eXit button. In some cases, generally speaking, even if you click on a CANCEL button the installation might have gone too far for it to be stopped, cancelled and/or reversed. So think very carefully before deciding to install any software on your computer.



Fig 1.15  The installation wizard is now installing the actual printer Drivers (software files)

When the installation process is complete, denoted by the final installation step below, click on the CLOSE button to begin the registration and update processes for the printer Drivers.



Fig 1.16  The installation wizard has finished - click on the CLOSE button to continue

Like many installations of printer Drivers, it's normally only the Drivers that have been installed at this point and not the printer itself. Meaning you may have to use the PRINT & SCAN System Preferences in order to add the printer as a physical hardware device to the computer and therefore to OS X (Mountain Lion), just like in this example.

In the example below I have already switched on my Canon i-Sensys LBP6000B Laser printer and connected it to the computer via its USB Cable. I have also clicked on the PRINT & SCAN System Preferences icon (not shown here), which automatically brings up the ADD window (Fig 1.18 below), and I am now clicking on the PLUS (+) button in order to then manually add the printer.



Fig 1.17  Click on the PLUS (+) button of the PRINT & SCAN System Preferences window to manually add a printer to OS X (Mountain Lion)

When the ADD window appears it will take a few seconds to detect the new printer Drivers and therefore the new, physical, printer's name whereby the new printer's name is then displayed next to the NAME edit box. The USE drop-down menu will state CHOOSE A DRIVER OR PRINTER MODEL until you click on it and select the printer's Model or Drivers (printer software) name from a list of available printers/drivers.

In this example I first selected the name CANON LBP6000/LBP6018 - USB from the list of new, currently connected, printers (Fig 1.18) and then clicked on the USE drop-down menu (not shown here). From there I selected CANON LBP6000/LBP6018 CAPT (UK) from the ADD window as the Drivers (printer software) to use with the new, currently connected, printer before clicking on the ADD window's OK button (Fig 1.19). And from there I then clicked on the ADD button so that the new, currently connected, physical printer would be installed and registered with OS X (Mountain Lion).



Fig 1.18  Select the name of the new, currently connected, physical printer from the list of available printers.




Fig 1.19  Select the printer software (drivers) to use with the new, currently connected, physical printer.




Fig 1.20  Click on the ADD button to actually add (install and register) the new, currently connected, physical printer to OS X (Mountain Lion).

After clicking on the ADD button the PRINT & SCAN System Preferences window should then display the new, currently connected, physical printer as an installed printer that is ready for use. It can now be shared as a Network Printer for example.



Fig 1.21  The new, currently connected, physical printer has been installed, registered and is now ready for use.




Fig 1.22  This is an example of a Microsoft WORD 2011 document ready to be printed with the newly installed printer

As you can see; Once you have downloaded the particular Drivers for your printer, preferably from the printer's manufacturer website, it's just a case of installing the Drivers in the same way as you would if the Drivers had come from an Installation CD/DVD. Furthermore, by using the manufacturer's website you will have the assurance that the Drivers are the very latest and more importantly are genuine and free from malware for example.

Remember. The above section applies equally to other hardware Drivers such as WebCam Drivers, Digital Camera Drivers, Modem/Router Drivers and Mobile Phone Drivers.