Please follow the instructions below and then tell me what happens.
First, let's make sure your computer has the latest Windows Updates, especially .net framework, needed to run many applications and the latest Java.
I recommend that you use these Recommended Wireless Router Settings for the best communications.
Disconnect your printer. Download and run this patch to completely remove the printer from your computer. Run the patch, a MUST on Vista machines, until it prompts you to restart your computer.
If using Windows 7 also try...Manual Printer Driver Removal
Restart your computer.
Download the proper drivers.
Vista 32-bit Drivers
All other drivers
Install the proper drivers. You'll be prompted when to connect your printer(powered on)
***To install drivers, sometimes the file unzips and does nothing. You have to look for the setup.exe file, right click on it, then left click run as administrator***
If using Windows 7, use the Vista drivers in the compatibility mode.
Right click on the setup.exe file, left click properties, left click compatibility. Change the compatibility to Vista(Try Vista SP2). Then install the proper drivers. You'll be prompted when to connect the printer(powered on)
As for scanning, if you have the disk that came with the printer, then insert the Printer disk and stop it from running. Go to My Computer and double click on it. Look for the drive with the Dell disk in it. Right click on it, left click explore. Look for the OCR Folder. In the OCR Folder, there is an Abbyy Folder. right click on setup.exe, that's in the Abbyy Folder and left click run as administrator. This will install the OCR program.
Scanning using USB connection, open the Dell All-In-One Center, click on scanning and copying and scan from there.
Scanning wirelessly, use the scan buttons on the printer.
What is a Dell Service Tag and how do I locate it?
Original poster, If you have solved your problem, can you please mark the correct thread(s) with your solution. Thanks
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Microsoft MVP - Windows Expert-Consumer April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2015
Reformatting the hard disk and reinstalling windows 7 did the trick. This really did remove all the driver files! With a clean machine I was able to install the printer with no problems in Vista SP2 compatibility mode. Not only that but the other two Windows 7 PC's on my home network also saw the printer and installed it.
It would seem that the uninstall utility only works if you install the drivers correctly. If, like many of us have done, the drivers are installed without using compatibility mode there are some files that get put some where the uninstaller cant reach. I have just checked the drivers section of the support page and can find no reference to installing in compatibility mode, the advice says that it is compatible and to install the Vista Driver. Still if Dell put up all the information it should there would probably be no need for forums such as this.
Just a shame that it took a format and reinstall of the entire system to get it working. You live and learn
Unplug the printer from the wall. Also remove the power brick for 60 seconds. This will reset any error messages you get from the printer. Plug everything back in and power on the printer. Take out the Dell Series 7 black cartridge and reseat it. Put it back in and do the same for the Dell Series 7 color cartridge. When you close the printer it should try to print an alignment page. Any error messages?
Dell Series 7 ink cartridges have a sensor in them that cannot be reset. Article on refilling Dell ink cartridges.
Dell Series 7 ink cartridges can be purchased at Staples, Walmart or Dell's Website.
Black in Left, black side Color in right, color side
Photo cartridge in left, black side Color in right, color side.
It's possible the sensor went bad in the ink cartridge. Take it back to the place of purchase for a replacement.
I've attempted all suggestions concerning my Dell AIO 966 and Windows 7, but still get the not able to communicate error. I did notice when downloading the updated drivers, that there was no Windows 7 listing. And finally, in the drivers folder, there is no setup.exe.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The installation is basically simple. Disconnect your printer. Download and run the patch until you're prompted to restart your computer. Make sure the printer is removed. Manual Printer Driver Removal
If using Windows 7 32-bit, use the Vista 32-bit drivers in the compatibility mode. If using Windows 7 64-bit, use the Vista 64-bit drivers from the first thread. Right click on the downloaded drivers package, left click properties, compatibility. Use the Vista compatibility mode(I used Vista SP2). Right click on the drivers, left click run as administrator and follow the instructions. If the file sits there, then if you can click on Prnt Scrn and paste it to paint. Then click on the blue PudgyOne and upload the image and paste the direct link here, I can see what needs to be done.
I have the same problem. I uninstalling the driver, downloaded the patch, replaced the print cartridges and powered off the printer. i am still having the same problem and now dell datasafe online is giving me error messages( I uninstalled that and downloaded the newest version- no success). This all started after jan 9 2010 and i wonder if restoring my computer to an earlier time will help. What do you think?
So I have done everything that you it still wont print, Everything else works fine, I keepgetting a communication not available error. could I possibly have a bad USB cable?? I just dont understand because it will scan to the computer and communicates fine that way. EDIT- this is a brand new computer running windows 64 bit the PC downloaded all the drivers previously and had the same problem, after which I came here and tried your approach still nothing, I also tried using the Vista SP2 compatibility and still nothing.
What is the make and model of your computer and operating system?
How are you trying to connect the 966 Printer to your computer?
I replaced the usb cable; after one day it seems to be working ok. I'm crossing my fingers
Try this little tweak to make sure your printer stays connected.
Go to device manager(right click my computer, left click properties, left click hardware, left click device manager)
Go to the USB Controller section and click the + sign.
Go to each USB Root Hub and right click on it, left click properties, left click power management. Uncheck the box, allow computer to turn off this device to save power.
I also noted that restarting the computer makes the printer unable to communicate but shutting the computer down and turining it on manually doesnt give me that problem.
Hello Rick...... Thanks for the suggestions. Everything is o.k. now.
Glad you got it working! Thanks for posting back.
I have just upgraded my Vostro desktop to windows 7. I have been trying for the last 2 days to get my 966 printer to work and have failed! Each time I try to print I get the message that I need to enable bidirectional communication. However when I get to that selection it is greyed out. I read with interest the thread and followed it to the letter but the issue persists. I used the patch to completely remove the drivers but I do not believe this works. When the PC rebooted (with the printer switched off and unplugged) it tried to reload the 966 drivers. When I looked in the printers folder the printer had re-appeared. I ran the patch again and before rebooting looked in the printers folder. The printer had gone but.... when I looked in the print server folder both the printer and scanner were shown as available. I tried to use the delete drivers option but this failed with the message that the drivers were still in use.
Any Ideas on where to try next??
You need to disconnect the printer.(remove the usb cable). Download and run the patch(printer cleanup utility) until it prompts you to restart your computer.
Restart your computer. Make sure the printer is removed. Manual Printer Driver Removal
Install the proper Windows 7 drivers. Vista 32-bit for Windows 7 32-bit and Vista 64-bit for Windows 64-bit. Install them in the compatibility mode. More instructions and the patch can be found at...
966 Photo All-In-One Printer owners thread (W7)
Enable Bidirectional Support/Enable Biodirectional Support if needed.
Let me know what happens.
Your reply does not actually answer my questions. It goes through the standard steps for removing the old drivers and installing the new ones after running the clean up utility. I have already been through all of these steps with no sucess. Three points of note, 1. the drivers are not completely removed by the clean up utility, if they were when I reboot my PC windows would not pick up the printer is available and try to install the drivers again (this is despite the printer being switched off and the USB cable disconnected). 2. Under print servers the 966 is still shown after the clean up utility is run and the drivers cannot be removed as windows thinks they are still in use. 3. enable bidirectional communication is greyed out. I have been trying for 2 days to get round this problem and am beginning to think a trip to PC world for a new HP printer is the easiest solution! Any other tips on getting round this problem would be most welcome Thanks
I the drivers are NOT removed, that's what I have the instructions to manually remove the printer. Click start, my computer, your operating system, program files and look for the Dell Printer folder. If it's there, then delete it. If you have a 64-bit system, also look in the program files (x86) folder.
The printer is disconnected the whole time until after you install the drivers and then get the message, the printer is not connected. Connect the printer at this time. You are using the wireless function on this from what I just read, correct? If so, then the wireless router can be the issue.
Make and model of your wireless router, type of security you're using and what channel you're on. I think I see why you're now having problems, but the pritner should still be removed. If the manual removal doesn't work, then let me know and I might be able to find another program that should hopefully remove it.