Windows 8 has been released with much fanfare. You're reading this, presumably, because you're trying to decide whether to upgrade and need to know if your printer will work, or you've already upgraded and are trying to find out how to make it work. Either way, the information we've collected here should help.
Anyone who has lived through the upgrade from one generation of Windows to the next knows that one of the biggest potential headaches is the need to get new drivers for your printers. This hasn't been true of every new version of Windows, but it's been true often enough.
To get a sense of how much of an issue it can be with Windows 8 we took a few printers chosen at random and tried installing them on a system running the RTM (release to manufacture) version of the new OS. The results were pretty much what we expected. Some printers installed and worked without problems thanks to drivers supplied with Windows 8 itself. With others, however, Windows 8 didn't include drivers and wouldn't recognize the drivers that came with the printers as legitimate.
If your printer falls into the second category, the good news is that there's probably a driver for it out there somewhere. The bad news is that before you can install it, you have to find it.
More important, it would be helpful to know which category your printer is in before you upgrade, and also know where to find the driver if it doesn't come with Windows. Less obviously, you can avoid a lot of potential frustration by finding out before you upgrade whether the Windows 8 driver will provide full support for all features. I've seen cases in the past where the driver for a new version of Windows will print well enough, for example, but drops support for duplexing or some other feature.
If you've already upgraded, you're pretty much stuck with what you can get. But if you're still deciding whether to upgrade, getting as many details as you can will help you make a better decision about whether to upgrade.
To help you find the information easily, we contacted every printer manufacturer we know about and asked them where to find the details. The answers, for those who had one, are listed below by manufacturer, complete with a link to a Web page, in most cases, where you can find more details. If you can't find the information you need below, check back later. Some companies were still working on the details when we posted this story, and didn't have answers for us in time. We will be updating the information as we get it.
Canon Inkjet Printers
Canon says information on Windows 8 and Windows RT compatibility for its Pixma printers will be available online when Windows 8 is officially launched.
To find the compatibility information on Canon's site, click on the plus sign next to your printer's model series. The entry will expand to show you a list of all the printers in that series along with the Windows 8 and Windows RT compatibility information for each one. If a driver is available for your printer, you can click on the printer name to go to the download page for that printer and download the driver.
DYMO Label Printers
DYMO says that for anyone using DYMO Label software with its label printers, version 8.4.2 will add Windows 8 support. DYMO expects the new version of the program to be available for downloading as a free upgrade from www.dymo.com sometime after November 1, 2012. The upgrade will also include a driver to let you print from other programs.
For anyone using DYMO Label Light, the version that's stored in the printer itself, version 2.0 will add Windows 8. DYMO expects the new version of DYMO Label Light to be available as a free download, also from www.dymo.com, sometime after January 31, 2013.
DYMO has no current plans to support Windows RT.
Kodak (Inkjet Printers)
Kodak says that Windows 8 and Windows RT will both include a basic driver that will work with the following printers:
- Kodak HERO 3.1, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1
- Kodak ESP C110, C310, C315, 1.2, 3.2
- Kodak OFFICE HERO 6.1
- Kodak ESP Office 2150, 2170
- Kodak HERO 2.2, 4.2
Konica Minolta Business Solutions
Konica Minolta Business Solutions says Windows 8 compatibility information for its printers will be available through a Product Compatibility link on its main support page.
Updated drivers with Windows 8 support will be available at onyxweb.mykonicaminolta.com/OneStopProductSupport?appMode=Public
The company says it has no plans to support Windows RT.
OKI Data Americas
OKI Data Americas says it will post Windows 8 and Windows RT driver support information starting on October 26, 2012. Use the drop down boxes on the page to select your printer model, and go to the Drivers page for that printer. On the Drivers page, you'll see a drop down list of operating systems, which will include Windows 8 and Windows RT if drivers for those OSs are available for that printer.
Choose the appropriate OS, and you'll get information about the best driver choice for that printer along with any instructions you need for getting it. Depending on the printer, the best choice may be using a driver that's included with the OS, downloading one through Microsoft Windows Update, or downloading one from the OKI Web site.
You can check the current availability of Windows 8 drivers for any specific Ricoh printer model by going to the driver download page for that model. Start at the Ricoh Support page, and use the search box or drop down lists to find your printer model. Choose the driver link to go to the driver download page, and you'll see links for downloading drivers for your choice of operating system. If there's a Windows 8 driver available, it will be in the list of choices.
Ricoh couldn't provide confirmation of Windows RT support at this writing, but says that if it does provide Windows RT drivers, it will also show in the lists for the individual printers.
A list of Xerox printers with Windows 8 compatibility information for each is available in a PDF format file. For information about Windows RT compatibility, scroll down to the last page of the file.