Review: Universal printer drivers from Xerox, HP aren't so universal

Xerox's Mobile Express and HP's Universal Printer Driver let you use one driver for many devices. Too bad they're not truly universal.

Instead of a list of IP addresses, UPD offers a list of model name and numbers.

Instead of a list of IP addresses, UPD offers a list of model name and numbers.

Another note: While I was able to print to every office printer I had previously configured and added to My Printers during my visit, the discovery tool could not see any of those printers when viewed through the company's VPN (HP's UPD had the same problem). A spokesperson from Xerox stated that the discovery tool would not work if SMTP packets are being filtered at the router. So if you're using a VPN, you may be out of luck.

Although I have no PostScript printers at home, I ran the discovery tool anyway to see what would happen. It didn't find my Lexmark all-in-one printer, but it did discover the PCL-only LaserJet 1018. However, when I tried to print to it, the print job appeared to spool from Microsoft Word but went nowhere.

According to product manager Michelon, Mobile Express can't detect whether a printer supports PostScript or not over a USB connection. "Our choice was to either not have [Mobile Express] discover locally connected USB print devices other than supported Xerox products, or discover all locally connected USB print devices," he says. Xerox chose the latter. The risk, he acknowledges, is that users will choose an unsupported device.

Xerox also confirmed that Mobile Express has an issue with printers that support Windows Graphical Device Interface. During setup, Mobile Express gives users the option to add printers that have already been installed in the Printers and Faxes control panel -- including non-PostScript devices that won't work with Mobile Express. "This has been addressed, and [an updated version] will be rolled out to the public in the near future," says Michelon.

On a more positive note, Mobile Express worked fine in my satellite office. It was able to find my LaserJet 1200, which is a PostScript printer, and I was able to print to that without problems.

HP Universal Print Driver

HP offers three variations of UPD: for HP PCL 5, PCL 6 or PostScript printers. I chose the PCL 6 version, an 18.5MB download.

UPD lets you choose between what HP calls Traditional and Dynamic modes. In the former, you choose one printer to map to and that becomes the permanent, default printer. Since that defeated the purpose of my using the driver, I chose Dynamic mode, which lets you change your printer destination with your location.

Next, UPD lets you set up your printers. It can search for HP printers by IP address, search for all available networked printers, or map to a shared printer (i.e., \EmachinesLaserJet1018).

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags printer drivers

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert L. Mitchell

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?