Q

Why can't I install an Epson network printer on my new Win2k machine?

I have run into a problem in Windows 2000 that I cannot seem to resolve. I recently purchased a new computer running

Windows 2000. The machine contains a Pentium 4, 1.5 GHz, processor with 256 Mbytes of RAM, and a 60 Gbyte hard drive. The problem appeared when I attempted to install a network printer. The new computer is replacing a Win95 machine which I have networked to the Win2K machine using NetBEUI.

During the "add printer" process I selected a network printer, then browsed to the Epson printer on the Win95 machine. After selecting next, I received a message that stated that the printer driver on the server(Win95 machine) was not correct and asked if I would like to install the printer driver on the local machine (Win2K). I selected OK and up came the manufacture's list of printer drivers. I selected Epson but could not locate my printer (Epson Stylus color 600), I did not find a driver for an Epson Stylus Color 600 ESC /P2 but was unsure that this was compatible with my printer. Since I had the printer's driver on CD, I decided to install that driver. I chose 'Have Disk' and installed the driver. After the driver installed, I received a message stating that the driver was incompatible with Win2K and that I should choose a different driver from the list.

This message box only gave me an OK selection. Upon clicking the OK button, I was returned to the dialog box where I selected the printer from the network. After selecting the Next button, Win2K went off and attempted to install the same driver that I was just informed was incompatible. Since the driver was incompatible, Win2K removed the DLL files from the hard drive and so I received errors that the OS could not locate certain files. I manually loaded the necessary files from the CD-ROM and just ended up going through the same loop.

After contacting Epson, I was told that the Epson Stylus Color 600 ESC /P2 is the correct Win2K driver for this printer.

THE PROBLEM:
I cannot get back to the manufacturer's printer driver selection screen to select the correct driver. I have renamed the printer share on the Win95 machine in an attempt to 'trick' Win2K into believing that the printer was a different printer, but to no avail.

SOMETHING INTERESTING:
Taking a different approach, I proceeded to install the printer as a local printer. The allowed me to get to the manufacturer's printer driver screen. At the bottom of the list of Epson printer drivers was the incompatible driver that I installed earlier. I know that this item in the list was not previously present when I installed the incompatible driver from the CD-ROM.

MY THEORY:
Somewhere in the bowels of the operating system, Win2K has made an association between the shared printer on the Win95 machine and this particular driver. To make this association, Win2K added this driver to the list of drivers. Unfortunately when Win2K determined that the driver was incompatible, it removed the DLL files but did not remove the association. I believe that I can make a disconnect of this association if I can remove this driver from the list of printer drivers, but I do not know where this list is maintained. I have looked in the registry, but could not locate the list.

I have contacted several people, in particular the support team for my new machine and have stumped all of them. DO YOU KNOW HOW TO RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM OR HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS THAT I CAN ATTEMPT? Other than reinstalling the operating system, I do not know what to do. Thanks for your time.
According to Epson's web site, there are no Windows 2000 drivers for this printer. If the tech support person said something like, "Oh, go ahead and use the Windows 98 drivers," then you were probably led astray. That's the reason for the compatibility error.

You can try experimenting with Windows 2000 drivers for other Epson products to see if you can find one that works. You'll need to delete the old drivers first.

- Delete the printer in the Printers window.
- Stop the spooler (net stop spooler) and delete all printer drivers from the machine. They are located in Winntsystem32spooldrivers.
- Restart the spooler (net start spooler) - Try one of the W2K drivers.

If it doesn't work, go through the same process to remove that driver and find another.

You might decide that it's easier to give the Stylus 600 back to whoever gave it to you and get a Windows 2000 compatible printer.

This was first published in September 2001

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