How to Fix: HP Laserjet 1200 Won't Recognize in Windows 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Georges A. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have an old HP Laserjet 1200 series printer (from 2001). This printer has worked great over the years, however I can't seem to get my new Windows 10 PC to recognize the printer. If I look in Device Manager, the printer isn't under the correct heading - it shows up under 'usb device'. If I go to Control Panel -> Devices and Printers, I see the HP Laserjet 1200 series printer listed, but if I right click to try and print a test page, that option isn't available. Also when I try and print something from MS Word, the printer does not show up at all. I've spent hours on this and I really need your help! "

My response:

I asked Georges if he would like me to connect to his computer using my remote desktop support service to have a closer look, and he agreed.

Everything Georges said was true. I did more research on the topic and found other people complaining of the same issue. To make things worse, the HP Laserjet 1200 printer driver website offers 6 different drivers, including "Driver-Universal Print Driver" (with either PCL6 or Postscript drivers), "Driver-Universal Print Driver" (with 2 more programs), "Driver-USB", and "Software-Universal Print Driver" - with absolutely no indication of which you're supposed to install.

Needless to say, I tried every single one of those drivers and none of them worked.

How to Fix: HP Laserjet 1200 Won't Recognize in Windows 10

After a bit more research, I made some headway.

As I mentioned, there are 6 different drivers on the HP Laserjet 1200 driver website. The way I got it to work was to install the "HP Laserjet USB (DOT4) communication driver" first, then install another driver over top of that. From what I understand, the "HP Laserjet USB (DOT4) communication driver" creates a virtual printer port, then that piggybacks onto the actual print driver. If you don't install the "HP Laserjet USB (DOT4) communication driver" first, the printer driver simply doesn't work.

Here is what I did, step by step:

  1. Download and install the "HP Laserjet USB (DOT4) communication driver" first.
  2. Next, download and install the "HP Universal Print Driver for Windows PostScript (64-bit)" from HP's site: expand the "Driver-Universal Print Driver" heading and grab from there. I can't link directly to the file because they keep changing the version which would make my direct link invalid.
  3. During the installation, choose "Traditional printing".
  4. On the next page, choose the last option which allows you to specify the printer port; select the "USB HP dot4" printer port.
  5. After the install finishes, load up Notepad or Word, type in "test", then go to File -> Print and try printing the page to the HP Laserjet 1200.
  6. If it prints garbage characters, repeat the steps above, but install the PCL6 driver instead: expand the "Driver-Universal Print Driver" heading and grab from there. I can't link directly to the file because they keep changing the version which would make my direct link invalid.
  7. If it prints properly, then click Start -> Control Panel -> "Devices and Printers". Locate the HP Laserjet 1200 printer, right click it, and select "Set as Default Printer"

I hope that helps - it literally took me 1.5 hours to figure this out. Needless to say, Georges was very happy for my service.

Did this solution work for you? Please Consider Paying it Forward!

I get a lot of email from folks saying that this was the only solution on the Internet that worked. Because of this post, folks are able to save $100 or more because now they don't have to go and buy a new printer - plus they get to keep their trusty HP printer they have grown to love.

If you appreciate the time I took to post this article and the fact that you were able to save quite a bit of money, please consider paying it forward by donating a small contribution to the website. Any amount is appreciated and helps me to continue posting articles like this.

Don't forget that I also provide remote desktop support in case anyone out there reading this needs it (contact link here). You can see by the time and effort I put into this post that I'm legitimate, compassionate, and willing to lend a hand when needed.

Thanks in advance!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if you need 1-on-1 support to get your printer working, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Average: 5 (21 votes)


Focused100's picture

Hi Dennis,

I have Win 10 and an older HP 4+

Would this technique work with most old HP printers?

Dennis Faas's picture

The only way to know is to try it. You would have to visit the HP website and see if there are any drivers listed similarly to what I have mentioned in this post, then try to do what I did.

michael_10986's picture

I also have a HP LJ 4+ w. dual side option, parallel LPT1 only, no USB or LAN, great stuff, 20 + years old, built like a Sherman tank, & salvaged for free from the dump, and still works great - but no driver in W7, which I use to keep some old applications alive. Printing speed is modest, no issue in my SOHO.
I found a useful driver for HP LJ5200 pcl5, & that works fine for 99% purposes.
It might work in win10 too. let´s know , please.
happy hunting

stavros555's picture

Dear Denis

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my hart for your instructions. I have spent two days trying to install my old printer on a laptop with Windows 10. Your directions were crystal clear. Needless to say that I have tryied every complicated method you can think off, but the conclusion will always be the same: The best solutions are also the most simple ones. Thanks again


rohnski's picture

Win 10 Version 1803 - Spring Update has caused many problems for people with older devices, not just printers. Apparently MS made some changes to the "plumbing" requiring updated drivers. But makers are not updating drivers for "old" devices so we have to dig to find work a-rounds.

As well as trying the newest driver, at other times I have found falling back to older drivers or drivers for other similar models may work.

For example I have an old workhorse HP 2420DN, Duplex Network business class printer. The last time I had a similar problem I had to try the HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5, Postscript, and finally their Universal Printer drivers (not necessarily in that order). Plus I was prepared to try drivers for simple 2420, no DN, and even 2400 if I had to.

KarenInSedona_11594's picture

I bought a refurbished computer with Win10 already installed and attempted to run my Hp LaserJet 1200 with no success. That was until I found your instructions, Dennis! Thanks and many Blessings upon you! I thought I'd need to buy a new printer! What I have is working now though! I followed your instructions and Eureka! I'm enjoying printing recipes at present, also a business may be born from this yet! Thanks & much Love!

tfj's picture

My wife and I are fairly technically sophisticated but we were overwhelmed by the apparent difficulty of adding an old but reliable b/w hp 1200 to our new desktop. Your article was precise and effective. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with the web!