Quick update, if somewhat belated. Fist, thank you again to jayhayz and now, regrettably tardily, to Debbie. Since my last post we've been to-ing and fro-ing because of a family illness so schedules have been out the window for a while. All's OK now, so that's a relief.
Re my printing problems. . . We-ell. . . I Revo'd out the existing driver software, shut down the PC, booted it clean, then went to the Canon website and downloaded the latest MP600 drivers (which are, in fact, the same as those I uninstalled, but no matter: my existing installation could've been corrupt.) I then patiently went through the Canon install routine (it takes a fair bit of time for the drivers to be registered as they also include Scangear for the built-in scanner.)
The newly downloaded software was installed with the computer running bare, viz: the MP600 was physically disconnected from it, both the USB lead and even its power cord (bit paranoid, but anyway) so as to ensure correct installation. At the end of the process, the Canon screen reported 'installation complete', satisfactory, or something like that. But obviously free of any errors or glitches.
I then, yet again, shut down the PC -- not merely a re-start -- and booted up again. So-oo. . . New drivers that have installed correctly. A 'clean' PC in that it was freshly booted with the new software installed *before* the printer was then re-connected and switched on. 'Clean' in every other sense of the term, too: this machine runs Avast AV, Malwarebytes (full, registered version), WinPatrol PRO, and TinyWall with Windows Firewall. This suite of defences and protections ensures that the PC is not infected -- including, root-kits. It is scanned, monitored live, and performs perfectly. New software is added to it as and when and the new software always -- but always -- works as it should.
But not the Canon MP600 drivers. Yet again , despite everything, Windows is reporting that it has to locate the drivers for new hardware every time I switch the printer on. Oh, and something I forgot to mention last time: the printer only prints. It has long since given up on having any scan function, which is hugely frustrating at times, especially as I like to pdf hard copy for archival purposes on separate backup storage.
So what I have today is exactly what I had before. A printer which only prints but does not scan (despite the Scangear drivers being part of the Canon MP600 driver download) and a Canon software which, unique amongst all the softeware on this computer, is never recognised by Windows Vista and has to be located and re-located and re-located again and again and again.
I am very tempted to go buy another printer. But I'm fast reaching the conclusion that this isn't a hardware thing at all, but some failure in the Windows driver registration process on my machine. (Oh, before anyone asks: yes, I do know how to do a factory reset-to-default of the printer. I've done so three times. And nope. That doesn't work either.) It's definitely not a loose connection or cable issue, either: the printer wouldn't output at all were such the case.
I'm wondering if there is some Windows Vista .dll (or other system file) that for whatever reason is no longer in my Windows OS yet which plays a crucial role in ensuring a printer performs as it should, and without need of constant find / lose / find new hardware.
As before, help appreciated. And apologies both for the length of my absence as well as of this update. Thanks.