Ink & Toner Outlet


That Free Printer May Not Be So Free

We frequently hear from customers who just purchased a new computer system complete with a FREE printer.  Generally, that relegates their old printer to the closet or garage when it is still perfectly OK.  They just feel that newer is better and therefor automatically use their new FREE printer.

So what's wrong with that?  The answer is that newer is not necessarily better.  In reality, that FREE  printer may end up costing you a fortune in the long run.  The fact is that printers have not improved much in recent years as manufacturers are reaching limitations with the present technology.  What they hope to do with the FREE printer is get you to buy their newest cartridge that has even less ink that your old printer. The trend has been to produce printers that use smaller ink cartridges that run out faster, thus ensuring the printer manufacturer a steady stream of replacement supplies business. Generally speaking, the older the printer is, the larger the ink cartridge volume (i.e., lower cost per page).  Printers from just a few years ago give great print quality at a good supply value.  This month's article contains some good information on helping you decide whether or not you have to upgrade your printer.

Three Steps for Using Your Old Printer with a New Computer 

The average life span for a desktop PC is about 3 to 5 years. There are many reasons people upgrade their computer, however, it doesn't mean that you need to buy a new printer.

People are starting to realize that printers you get in the "package deal" or "free with computer purchase," typically use high-cost or low-volume ink cartridges.   The money has to be made up somewhere for the low cost of the printer.

Older printers (say four years old or more) almost always provide a lower cost per page in comparison to the printers available today.  Additionally, older printers are generally more rugged and engineered to last much longer with than new FREE printers. However, not every old printer can be used with your new PC or Mac, so here is how to check.

Step #1

The latest versions of the Windows operating system (Windows XP, Widows Vista and Windows 7) will usually find any new piece of equipment connected to it and automatically install the correct driver.  Simply start your computer, turn on your printer and then plug the cable from your printer into your new computer.  You should get a message in the lower right-hand corner of the screen that Windows is installing the correct driver.  If this does not work, do the following.

You will need to see if there are drivers available for the operating system on your new computer.  Drivers are software programs that allow your computer to communicate with each piece of hardware (like printer, modem, digital camera, etc.) on your computer.  This is the most crucial step in verifying that your old reliable printer can be used with your new computer.

Below are links to some of the major brands of printer manufacturers where you can see if your old printer has drivers available for your new operating system.


If your operating system IS listed, download the drivers for your old printer and proceed to the next step.  If not, try calling the printer manufacturer's support phone number and tell them that you need a driver for your printer that will work with your operating system.

Step #2

Check the printer cord on your old printer.  Most recent printers use a USB connection, in which case it should plug right into your new computer.
 If you have an older style printer cable (parallel cable), you may find that there is no port (place to plug in) on your new computer.  Most computers do not come with that type of connection anymore.

Not to fear, we have a conversion cable available that will allow you to connect your old printer to your new computer for just $14.95.  These cables have a parallel cable plug on one end, and a USB connection on the other.  This is money well spent since the printer would have otherwise been tossed, and the value of older cartridges is so much better than most of the new ones.

Step #3

When you have the appropriate printer cord in hand, go ahead and upload your drivers that were previously downloaded and feel good about what you did. 

You just saved a piece of equipment from landfill, you didn't spend money on a new printer, and you'll get to enjoy lower cost supplies by using your existing printer. It always feels good to save money.  





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