How to fix one of your printer’s problems

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Printers are very useful pieces of hardware. They help us copy information to hard copy, scan pages, duplicate them, and so on. Each printer has many neat and unique features that differentiate it from other printers. Although this is a positive thing, it is also a negative one. Because the printers are so complex, they need complex drivers. And whenever the word “complex" appears, the word “error" is near.

Printers are very useful pieces of hardware. They help us copy information to hard copy, scan pages, duplicate them, and so on. Each printer has many neat and unique features that differentiate it from other printers. Although this is a positive thing, it is also a negative one. Because the printers are so complex, they need complex drivers. And whenever the word “complex" appears, the word “error" is near.

And this is just what many printer users complain about: errors. Many of them can be solved in less than 5 minutes, while others take hours or even days to solve. One of these error scenarios is the one below:

The user has a multifunctional printer. He can print both black and white and color, but he can't manage to scan any documents. Somehow, the multifunctional printer is unable to scan anything. So what does the user do? Let's see!

Finding the problem

Let's assume that you are the user having trouble with the all in one printer. The first thing you want to do is check to see if you have installed the correct drivers. To do this, go to Start and click Control Panel. Go to Printers and Other Hardware and click on Printers and Faxes. You should be able to see your printer there.

For example, I have a Canon PIXMA MP470. In the Printers and Faxes window, I see my Canon PIXMA MP470 as the default printer. This means that I have the proper drivers for it. You can try to restart your printer, to reinstall your driver, or to update the driver. This will not help at all, because it is not the driver's fault. The problem is hidden and it is not easy to figure it out, so I will just point you to it. Your Control Center or add-on software are missing.

This does not look like a serious problem, but it is. Without the Control Center or add-on software, you are unable to access your printer's advanced functions, like scanning. Now that we have found the problem, let's see how we fix it!

Fixing the problem

To fix the problem we must find, download, and install the Control Center or add-on software. Presuming you have lost your original CD (the one that came with your printer and contains all the drivers and add-ons), we must find another way to fix the problem. The simple way around is the World Wide Web!

As I said before, I have a Canon PIXMA MP470. The manufacturer is Canon. You should know that all manufacturers keep a database of drivers on their websites. You can find old drivers and new drivers there. How to find the manufacturer's website? Obviously, after its name. I simply type as the URL and I am at the correct webpage.

However, there are some manufacturers that have webpages with different names. In this case, simply google “name of the manufacturer" and, usually, the first website is the one you need. Let's see how Canon's web page looks like:

Canon's main page

As you can see from the picture, Canon has a clear area for downloading drivers. Of course, click on the tab and it will expand. Before you can continue, you must choose your region. We will choose Americas, just like in the picture below:

Choose your region

After you click on Americas, you will be asked for your exact region so that they can pinpoint your exact location and redirect you to the appropriate web site. Click Canada, just like in the picture below:

Choose Canon Canada

A new web page will appear. On this page, you must choose your printer model. There are several tabs (Bubble Jet printer BFC & S Models, Bubble Jet Printer I & iP Models, Digital Camera, Digital Camcorder, Film Camera and Analog Video, imageCLASS & PC Model Copiers, imageRUNNER & NP Copiers, Multifunction Printer Incl. MultiPASS, Personal Facsimile / FaxPhone, Photo Card Printer, Scanner, and Large Format Printers). We have a multifunctional printer, so we will be able to find the software we need in the Multifunction Printer Incl. MultiPASS. Bring down the respective menu and search for your model. I just found mine. Here is a screenshot of how it looks like:

Canon's Customer Support

Go ahead and click on your model once you find it. You will reach a page where you can choose exactly what you want for that specific product, like Drivers, Documentation, Product Registration, Knowledge Base, and a Contact Us link. We only need the Control Center or ad-on software for the PIXMA MP470, so click on the Download Drivers link:

Where the download link is

After clicking on “Click here", you will be directed to a page that contains all the downloads you need (and some you don't need as well). Take the time to study each file's name to make an idea of what that piece of software does. Here is how the page for my model looks like:

Canon's page for the specific model

As you can see, there are 19 things you can download. Although the page is not too self explanatory, read every name in the list to find the one you need. For example, for my all in one printer, I need the Solution Menu Ver. 1.2.0 (Windows Vista/Vista64/XP/2000). You can also download some software that will help you do different things. For example, Easy Photo Print EX Ver. 2.0.2 for Windows XP is a very good addition to your printer's software pack.

Please note that on this page you can also download the drivers for your printer, in case they are missing. The file is called MP470 MP Driver Ver. 1.00a (for Windows 2000/XP/Vista). It is a useful download and you can download it now so you can have it for later (in case you still don't find your original CD).

Let's get on with solving our main problem. Click on the Solution Menu Ver. 1.2.0 (Windows Vista/Vista64/XP/2000) link and you will be directed to a page that looks like the one below:

The information page for the specific download

Above the “Information Presented" sub-title there is a disclaimer. You can read it but, in the end, you are forced to accept it. If you click the link and download the software, you accept their terms. Because we really need the Control Center, we are forced to click the link and this is what appears next:

Canon's download window

This is the download window. Click Save File and choose a location for it. Remember the location because you might need it later. The download begins and finishes in a matter of seconds. Now, you should follow the advice below:

Burn the file on a CD or DVD to have easy access to it later. You will need to install this software whenever you reinstall your printer, or reinstall Windows! This is a very good practice and you are advised to do it immediately.

After you store it safely on a CD or DVD, let the installation begin! Double click the file. The following window should appear:

Microsoft's security warning

This window is asking you if you really want to run the file. Files downloaded from unsure sources are dangerous and can pose serious threats to your computer. Always try to download drivers or software from the manufacturers website. The files are free of viruses, adware, and spyware. Since we know that we have downloaded the file from a reputable source (and the publisher is Canon Inc.), we can click Run to begin the installation:

The self-extracting archive will extract some files in a temporary folder on your system and the setup will show a welcome window. Read carefully and do as the developers ask – close all running applications to minimize the chances of conflicts:

Canon's welcome screen

After you have closed all running Windows applications, click Next. You will be asked to accept an agreement. Go ahead and read it. However, you are once again forced to accept it. If you do not accept it and click No, the installation will stop and the setup will be terminated. So go ahead and happily click Yes:

Canon's license agreement

The actual installation will begin (it should take less than one minute). After everything is successfully installed, you will see the following screen:

Installation complete

Click Complete to exit the installer. This seems to be the last step doesn't it? It really is! Installation completed successfully!

Seeing the results

Now you are eager to see if your printer is working, aren't you? Well, give it a try! Insert the paper and press the Scan button. A miracle! It works! Congratulations! You have just installed the Control Center for your all in one printer and everything seems to be in order. It wasn't a big deal was it? From now on, you know where to install the drivers from, where to find useful software, and how to install all the goodies!

I hope you have had a pleasant lecture and that this guide really helped you solve your printer's problem. If the problem still remains, you might want to contact Customer Support or go to your local IT Repair Center. It might be a hardware failure.