|Thanks for the help guys.|
Here is what I did while waiting on some other input:
0. Deleted the driver via device manager, cleaned out all registry keys, rebooted and loaded the drivers.
1. Uninstalled and reinstalled the printer drivers twice. (drivers disc and lexmark site).
2. Since I usually keep a back up of my system I reimaged the drive using the two images of the C: drive (the earliest and the latest).
Still no luck. The computer sees the printer perfectly and I'm able to print but I had set the ink to light awhile back and the print jobs are a faded and without access to the printing preferences I'm not able make it darker.
Now just out curiosity, I created another user profile and guess what, I'm able to access the print preferences from the test profile. I wish I can somehow merge that part of the good profile to my default user profile but surely I'd be asking for a lot more trouble going that route.
Wish me luck, as I'm going to try to fix this and somehow manage not to butcher my OS since it is pretty obvious this is "more of state of machine XP".
My sig is on sabbatical.