Yes, “Explorer.EXE” is the file-manager Windows Explorer. Just checking - on forums, it’s common to run across typos, misspellings and misused nomenclature, and I wanted to be certain.
Replacing the hard drive sounds like an adventure but I’m uncertain why the Printer Driver wouldn’t reinstall.
On some printer drivers, I must leave the printer either powered off or un-connected (USB unplugged), and then install the Software first.
During some point in the software’s installation, I am told, “Now, connect the printer”.
If I do this out-of-sequence, Windows itself might see the attached printer before I can load its offtctal driver. Windows tries to install some generic driver and this interrupts or interferes with the printer’s true driver installation.
I wonder if this could be the issue?
Try to delete any non-Microsoft generic printers that are listed… (Control Panel / Printers…)
Try to delete (uninstall) any printer-specific software in the Control Panel’s PROGRAMS listing.
Then, disconnect or power-down the printer, restart the computer and try installing the printer’s software from the manufacturer’s disk. (If you don’t have that, then the printer’s website probably has a downloadable version of this. Download that to your computer first, then go thru the above Delete/Uninstall steps, reboot and try to run that downloaded driver.)