Damn you, Hewlett-Packard!

I haven’t done a tech rant in a while so I guess it’s time.

We have a several year old HP printer, a PhotoSmart C7280 all-in-one (print/fax/copy/scan).  The printer runs like a clock.  The HP software just died on me and as far as I can tell I can’t re-install it.  I use the HP Solution Center about once a month to scan documents for a project I work on.  Suddenly yesterday when I needed to scan some pages, it said (loosely translated) – I can’t run, I’m not completely installed.  Re-install me.

I’ll spare you the intermediate (endless) details. I’ve spent at least 3 hours on this, that I needed to spend on other things.  I have now downloaded the Win7 drivers for this printer from HP 3 times (311 MB), and every time I try to install them the install process tells me it’s missing a file, and it won’t tell me what file it’s missing.  HP’s automated system then generates a “solution” – which mainly comes down to checking that the network is hooked up, the printer is working and findable, etc.  I’ve done all that.  I even did the part where they tell you to turn off everything in the Startup menu and turn off your firewall!  (Do you know how fast Internet malwarebots can find a honeypot?  Fortunately there’s also a firewall on the router.)  Every time the installer runs it immediately says, “Missing file.” Whatever isn’t there is something it needs right away.

I’ve opened a question on the HP forum, but since both my printer and my PC are out of warranty I don’t expect much help.  I’ve concluded that their driver file is defective and they don’t know or don’t care or both.  Fortunately, the basic drivers are still there and I’ve been able to re-install the printer as a printer, but I can no longer scan to PDF, at least not with any control over the formatting.  The infuriating thing is that the software still runs perfectly on my husband’s nearly identical HP Pavilion – we bought them at the same time (but I’ve added different stuff).

This is sad.  Back in the day, H-P was the gold standard. If you had H-P equipment, you had The Best.  Now they can’t write working installer software.  Sic transit gloria mundi.

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7 Responses to Damn you, Hewlett-Packard!

  1. Steve Bumgarner says:

    I have the same situation with my CorelDRAW X3 software. Since they are now up to X6, they would just soon I go away when it comes to updates and solving problems. Of course, they do have this new state of the art software package they could sell me…. This company is Canadian. By law, aren’t they supposed to be polite and nice?

  2. hedera says:

    I think it’s just custom, not statute 😉

  3. Murray says:

    I left HP when I realized that the cartridges had an expiration date on them. If you didn’t use the ink fast enough, they made the cartridge quite working so you had to buy a new one even though the old one still had lots of ink in it. With ink selling for about $1000/gallon, I decided to get rid of my HP machine.

  4. hedera says:

    The cartridges don’t quit working, actually – you just get a warning that says This Is Expired and a bunch of legalese about out-of-warranty and no-support. You just keep hitting OK through that and you’re fine. The printer’s out of warranty anyhow.

  5. The problems with your HP printer are probably the result of Carly Fiorina’s cost-cutting measures. These brilliant lady CEO’s have the coolest ideas. They’re just fabulous (grin).

    What Merry and I have noticed is that while computers (and the software that runs them) have been progressing by leaps and bounds year in and year out, the printer technology seems to be regressing. Each iteration does less, does less well what it does do, and does it slower, and with more glitches. What’s with the printer engineers? Is it all just built-in obsolescence designed to make us buy another one every 8 months or so? The first printer we had a decade ago was fast, simple, and turned out gorgeous color copies in seconds. The newer ones are slow to respond, slow to load, slow to print, and the picture copies look horrible. And they hold less paper, and jam more often, and are just as heavy and bulky as before. This is progress?

    Where is Henry Ford when we need him?

    • hedera says:

      Yes, Carly left a serious mess, didn’t she? I’ve seen comments like yours on new printers in the comment sections of several printers while I researched new printers – I’ve decided I want to get a color laser.

      For the record, I did get the drivers reinstalled and working correctly, but it took serious work. I posted a complaint on the HP Customer forum and a doubtless underpaid employee responded. The real issue as far as I can tell is that the latest drivers require Microsoft .NET 4.5, a point that isn’t documented anywhere except this guy’s “documented solution!” Specifically, as I complained on the forum, it isn’t documented on the System Requirements page for the driver – and it sure should be. I HAD .NET 4, and it wasn’t good enough!

      Henry Ford made great cars and paid great wages, but he was a long way from perfect, and I’m not really sure I want him back…

  6. hedera says:

    Well, I still have the HP printer (I considered buying a color laserjet from another vendor, but that’s a post in itself), and the HP software is broken again, but I can scan documents anyway – I just downloaded VueScan x64 from Hamrick Software. It cost $80, but it scans better and faster than the HP software did, and it recognizes that the machine has a document feeder and lets me scan multiple pages from the document feeder, which HP Solution Center never even offered. This is vastly superior software and supports a long list of printers. If you have a printer-scanner, it probably supports your box and probably is better than what you got from the vendor.

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