19 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2011 8:07 PM by Ernestprinter

    How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?


      OK - this will be tricky.


      We are a small offset print shop and use ID CS4 to both design and do our colour seperations with. We use an old(ish) Panther Imagesetter which serves us well.


      We have just purchased a new PC, and as XP pro is hard to get these days, and with Windows 7 clearly the way of the future -  we have taken the leap ... especially as we have updated all our design software to CS4 I thought we wouldn't have any issues.


      However .... Windows 7 will not install the old Panther PPD's - basically tells me that they're not compatible with a 64bit OS.


      Any ideas ? We're a bit stuffed if I can't get this working 

        • 1. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Well, I could start off by asking you why you didn't research this first but I won't. I'll just tell you that if you have Win 7 Pro or Ultimate you can download XP Mode for free and use that. Unless the RIP manufacturer has new 64 bit drivers, there's no other way you're going to get this to work.



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
            oldstumpy Level 1

            Thanks Bob - sadly I'm a graphic designer in a small print shop who has somehow ended up as a prepress expert and IT specialist as well.


            I thought I'd considered everything but forgot about how old some drivers and PPD's where. Still, we have other PC's here we can use for doing our separations. Ultimately we'll have to wean ourselves off XP anyway,


            As you suggested I installed XP Mode which allowed me to install the Panther PPD but I would have to install and run ID in the same environment. Not ideal but might be useful from time to time.


            Thanks again.

            • 3. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              I don't have a clue about what sort of driver you might need for the imagesetter, but doesn't Windows 7 have a built-in Postscript diver that could be used to install a printer using the Panther PPD?

              • 4. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                oldstumpy Level 1

                Sounds great Peter - can you elaborate on how I might go about this ?



                • 5. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  I'm afraid not. I don't have Windows 7.  XP has built-in PS drivers so you no longer need the AdobePS driver installer and I thought something similar might be available with Win7. Whether the imagesetter is compatible with that driver is another question, too, but at least it might be a way to try.


                  Bob might know better -- he's got Win7 installed.

                  • 6. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                    Yes, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a built-in PostScript driver, essentially a updated version of what is also included in Windows XP and Windows 2000.


                    The old AdobePS PostScript Printer Driver Installer actually just installed that driver with a user designated PPD. That installer absolutely does not work on Windows Vista or Windows 7.


                    Neither Windows Vista nor Windows 7 provides a simple means of creating a PostScript printer driver instance associated with a user-designated PPD file.


                    The only way of doing that is to put together an appropriate .INF file pointing to the .PPD file and the PSCRIPT5 driver and point to that .INF file when using the "have disk" option of the "Add Printer" wizard. Information for how to do this is probably located at some obscure URL on Microsoft's website.


                              - Dov

                    • 7. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      Thanks for rescuing me again, Dov. It's a big help when somebody who know this stuff joins in.


                      Not looking too good for Stumpy at the moment.

                      • 8. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        All the URLs on that site are obscure.



                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 - CORRECT ANSWER
                          oldstumpy Level 1

                          Well the answer was insanely easy in the end - so for future reference, if anyone wants to keep using their old unsupported Postscript Printer - there's a simlple solution.


                          A HUGE thanks to Chandra who PM'd me the following solution.


                          1. Drag your PPD to the following path:  c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\x64\3


                          2. Open a file in InDesign


                          3. Go to PRINT. Select Postscript File from the printer drop-down and your PPD from the PPD drop-down


                          4. You're back in business


                          My system is:  win7 Pro x64 edition and Chandra's was Ultimate x64 edition.


                          Thanks all.

                          • 10. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7
                            Sydney Designer Level 1

                            Not sure if this is any easier / better but the work around I use for this issue is running an old xp box on the network with the PPDs and printers all installed and working. Then I just share the printer/s on the network and connect to them from the Vista / Windows 7 machines through the xp box.


                            In the Add Printer dialog box get to the "Find a printer by name or TCP/IP address" window and choose "Select a shared printer by name" (\\oldxpbox\printername).

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7

                              I tried that -- entering the printer as, e.g., \\xpbox\printer2, but then W7 said it couldn't find a driver.  It didn't recognise that it was a Postscript printer, so I couldn't get any further.





                              • 12. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                9x12sderw Level 1

                                It's always amazing to me how discussions of PostScript bog down with Windows users.


                                It's either Windows users never use PostScript or some other reason I can't understand.


                                What is needed is a simple way to place a PPD file on Windows 7 so the user can select the option of writing a PostScript file to disk and referencing that particular PPD. We don't need or want a printer driver in this case because we are not actually printing to any particular device.


                                Why someone needs to do that comes under the category of "If you have to ask then you really don't understand the issue so you're probably not ready to receive the explanation."


                                But I'll try to explain it. We in printing have been writing PostScript files to disk since it was possible to do so.


                                Why do we do it? Because we don't "PRINT" to a printer. We create a file and then "SUBMIT" it to a "RIP" that lets us preview the file or or we pre-process it with additional software that might do something like imposition or color separating or whatever.


                                Many times we need to write a PostScript file to disk and distill it as opposed to exporting a PDF directly because either the application has no PDF export or we need controlls for the file creation that are not in the export dialogs.


                                Sometimes it's a more complex issue of flattening transparency when the export function is supposed to do it but doesn't work correctly. I know that comes as a shock that an aspect of expensive software might not work correctly and we have to use a work-around but trust me, it happens.


                                Not meaning to start a Mac/Windows holy war but this is so easy to do on a Mac. You just place the PPD in a directory and it's becomes available to the application with no need to install a printer driver.


                                Now it appears that someone is finally suggesting it might be as simple as:


                                1. Drag your PPD to the following path:  c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\x64\3


                                I'll try this an pray that it really is this simple.


                                And it is.


                                So, we don't need to install the Adobe PostScript (or any other) printer drive to make a PPD available to Indesign for the purpose of writing a PostScript file to disk.


                                Life is good again.



                                • 13. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?

                                  Just wondering if anyone has had any luck getting a  custom PPD to install . . I have tried to copy it into the c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\x64\3 and Indesign regnizes it but the driver doesn't and crashes . . I have also tried customizing the .inf and reinstalling the driver and againn it will install and Indesign sees it but the driver again crashes . . since this is causing to a lot of stress and frustation for me any help would so much be appreciated

                                  • 14. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                    Are you trying to actually print to a PostScript printer described by the PPD or are you trying to produce a PostScript file?


                                    If all you are trying to do is create a PostScript file, you don't need a PostScript printer driver instance. From the InDesign print dialog, choose PostScript File instead of an actual PostScript printer driver instance:


                                    Print To.png


                                    You then choose either Device Independent or any of the PPDs for printer driver instances noted. In most cases:




                                    Device Independent or Adobe PDF are the most appropriate choices since otherwise, the PostScript may be exceptionally device dependent which is generally not what you want.


                                    When you use the PostScript File option, you are not using the driver at all. InDesign and its underlying libraries are generating the PostScript without calling the driver. Even when printing to a “real” printer, the printer driver is actually only used to funnel the PostScript to the device and to identify which PPD should be used.


                                    Note that hacking around with PPD files is not something trivial. There is quite a bit of undocumented behaviour in how the Windows PostScript driver, the Macintosh PostScript driver, and various Adobe core technology components interpret the PPD files. Proceed with extreme caution. Improperly constructed PPD files are known to crash any of these components.


                                    Further note that Adobe really recommends PDF workflows with PDF exported or saved directly from InDesign, Illustrator, and/or Photoshop over continued use of PostScript-based workflows (including use of PostScript and Distiller to produce PDF). For graphic arts purposes, we specifically recommend PDF/X-4 (or at worst the High Quality Print) PDF creation settings (or settings based upon same). Even if you are ultimately printing to a PostScript device or a PostScript workflow, you may be much better off exporting the PDF from InDesign and creating PostScript from Acrobat Pro. Such workflows allow you to better judge the output results before actually committing to paper or plates.


                                            - Dov

                                    • 15. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                      Ernestprinter Level 1

                                      Thanks you so much Dov for responding to my post especially on a Sunday . . yes I am printing directly to a postscript printer . . . being in this industry for over 20 years I am slowly switching my work flow from a postscript to pdf based and I agree with you and the Adobe standards result are much more consistent and errorless free . . my underling problem and the reason why I am trying to change the ppd is that I have recently upgraded to Win 7 64 . . I use a HP5100 to generate polyester plates . . . HP will not produce a driver for this machine because they say it's over 5 years old even though it the only machine recommended to produce polyester plates and thus a industry standard . . the universal driver they recommend using will not allow me to produce a plate over 600 dpi even through the machine is capable of producing at 1200 dpi . . I finally found a HP5100 driver that will work in the Win 7 64 environment and it works fine with any standard sizes but as soon as I try to use a customize size I lose all control over the machine . . I need to select cardstock as the weight so the machine will slow down to allow the toner to fuse properly with the plates and at standard sizes this is no problem . . after some testing I am thinking that it's the ppd file that is to blame but with Win 7 there is no way to switch the ppd after it's installed . . I have tried producing plates at larger sizes both from Indesign and directly from Acrobat Pro and I lose all control even if I use card stock as the weight . . believe it or not the only application that I can produce proper plates in is old Pagemaker 7 which does give me control over what ppd I can use . . .I can use the same driver as Indesign and Acrobat Pro but change the desired ppd in Pagemaker and all works fine no matter what size (custom or standard) I use . . . if you know a way I can do this or even a better work flow method I am all ears

                                      • 16. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                        OK, now I understand what you are trying to do.


                                        Some ideas ... Try this process which I know will work assuming you know how to properly modify the PPD file!


                                        (1)     Virtually any PostScript printer ever supported under Windows and especially HP printers (even the “CloneScript” devices such as what you have) are supported by Microsoft directly under Windows. When you get into the dialog to choose the manufacturer and printer model, see if your model is there.



                                        If your model isn't listed, click on Windows Update. It will take a number of minutes, but your system will download megabytes of additional driver configurations, PPDs, drivers, etc. When that completes you will probably find that your LaserJet 5100 PostScript device is now listed under HP or under Hewlett-Packard. Note that I do have real experience with this. I needed to create a PostScript printer driver instance for my 16 year old Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 5M (real Adobe PostScript Level 2). And this did work.


                                        (2)     OK this gives you the PostScript printer driver instance. The next thing you want to do is carefully modify the PPD file. The PPD file will be in the directory C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3 (for 64-bit Windows). The test page that you can produce from the Printer Properties will give the name of the PPD file itself. Carefully backup the PPD file and then you can edit it. Make sure you are totally out of any driver setup or print dialogs when you do this.


                                        (3)     Save the modified PPD file and then delete the .BPD file that has the same name as your .PPD file. This step is critical because the .PPD file is a parsed, binary version that the driver uses for optimized performance. When the .BPD file is missing, the driver accesses the .PPD file and creates a new .BPD file from which the driver subsequently works. FWIW, I modify virtually every PPD for each of my PostScript printers (to delete all font entries except Courier) and this procedure does indeed work.


                                        Good luck and let me know this helps!


                                                  - Dov

                                        • 17. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                          Ernestprinter Level 1


                                          Dov  . . . thanks you so much for your posting . . yes it did help to a point . . . I was able to edit the ppd file and to get Indesign see it but the driver setup wouldn't  . . basically I have a ppd from XP that works fine so I copied and pasted the DRIVER CAPABILITIES" from it into the win 7 ppd . .I was overjoyed thinking a finally solved the problem but but that was short lived when I clicked "SETUP" in the Indesign Print Dialogue box . . . do you know if any online documentation that could help me with editing a ppd file or if I sent you both files is this something you can help me with . . also I noticed that there is a "xml" file that also gets installed . . what is the role of this file

                                          • 18. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                            I don't know of any .XML file that gets installed as part of the standard Windows PostScript driver instance installation. Was it a file with the same base name as your PPD file, but having the suffix .XML?


                                            I know of know good documentation on editing PPD files although you can find specification for PPD files from 1996 as well as a 1997 update to same at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/postscript.html.


                                            The rest of your posting doesn't give me enough information to really be able to assist you. Sorry.


                                                      - Dov

                                            • 19. Re: How to install an old PPD on Windows 7 ?
                                              Ernestprinter Level 1

                                              Thanks Dov for the link . . . I appreciate the assistance you have given me . . you have steered me in the correct direction