All right – here’s another rant post. Our church bought an HP7410 All in One printer at the beginning of 2007 and prior to the purchase I wanted to make sure that any printer we got would be Vista compatible knowing that eventually the church would start using the new OS. Research indicated that this model would be Vista compatible. When we originally bought it the printer worked great and I never had any problems getting it working and working well (aside from the HP bloatware anyway their famous for…who designed their install program?).
Enter in my recent laptop purchase in August of this year which runs on Vista. I installed the correct Vista drivers as posted on the HP site and seemed to have no problems – but alas that was an illusion. For the past couple of months I’ve been experiencing the following problems:
- Duplex printing doesn’t work properly: The printer has an automatic duplexer but portrait printouts have the reverse side printing opposite to what it should be (landscape duplexes print correctly). Thanks to some help from an HP customer who discovered a unofficial patch (from Microsoft!) that “fixed” the problem I’m able to resolve this. But…
- Extra top and bottom margins: I’m not a newb. The same file printed from XP does not appear the same when printed from Vista with extra margins meaning some text gets cut off on the bottom of the page. I’ve played around with margins via the driver properties and in the word processor with NO success. In fact playing around with the margins appears to have no visible effect on the printout. This is a major pain and to date have found no resolution.
- Disappearing Printer icon/driver from system. Every few days the printer appears to uninstall itself and I either have to do a full reinstall or “add printer” in the OS itself to get the printer back. HP has posted a “critical update” on their site that supposedly “fixes” this but I can’t even get the update to run (keep getting the message “update failed”). Fed up I tried the online chat with HP technical assistance and it didn’t do nothing to help me out (more on that later).
- Intermittent scanner failure: Again on the XP machines the scanning to computer works flawlessly. On Vista I’ve yet to get it to work. I can start the scanner interface sometimes – and sometimes the HP solution center won’t even load up (requiring a full re-install of the drivers to get it to “work” again). This is simply unacceptable!
I decided I’d be a bit patient and see if HP comes out with a fix. However, it’s been two-three months since I first experienced the problems and after searching through the HP IT-support forums it looks like other users have been waiting far longer. The “up to date” printer driver on their website was released in March 2007.
When I had problems with installing the critical update patch I decided to give their online chat support a try. Here’s an excerpt from that chat (which wasted about an hour of my time)…
Darren Ethier: No. Let me explain further…
Darren Ethier: 1. I installed the software drivers etc.
Darren Ethier: 2. the printer disappeared
Darren Ethier: 3. I researched the problem.
Darren Ethier: 4. I discovered the patch – ran the unistall utility, reinstalled drivers and software then…
Darren Ethier: 5. Downloaded and tried to install the patch.
Michelle: Thanks for the information.
Darren Ethier: By the way I’m a “power user” i.e. I’m not a computer “newb”
Michelle: I appreciate your efforts.
Michelle: May I know how many number of computers installed in network?
Darren Ethier: 4 total. 3 on XP Home and using XP drivers. None of the computers are “sharing” the printer through another computer but are communicating directly with the printer
Darren Ethier: All the XP drivers are working properly
Michelle: Have you installed the full version of HP software in your Vista computer?
Darren Ethier: Yes
Darren Ethier: I’ve actually tried both versions
Darren Ethier: Same problem
Michelle: Is the printer icon present in printers folder?
Darren Ethier: Yes
Michelle: Please hold on a moment.
Michelle: Thanks for your time and patience.
Darren Ethier: If it resolves the problem it’ll be worth it..
Michelle: Iwill try my best to fix this issue.
Michelle: Sorry for the delay in response, we are experiencing some technical issues at our end.
Darren Ethier: I’m searching the help forums while waiting your response
Darren Ethier: which is a chore in itself I might add…needs improvement
Michelle: Please let me know the sixe of ht epatch you downloaded.
Darren Ethier: 838kb
Darren Ethier: I’ve tried downloading multiple times in case I got a borked file…same size everytime.
Michelle: You have the correct patch.
Michelle: Please follow the steps below:
Darren Ethier: ok
Michelle: 1) Click on the “Start Menu” icon on the bottom left corner of the screen , type “services.msc” in the “Start Search” edit box, and hit enter. This will trigger Vista to pop-up a “User Account Control” dialog to prompt for permission to continue. Click “Continue” to allow Vista to open the Services management console application.
Michelle: 2) The Services management console application is made up of 2 panels. The right panel contains a list of all services available on the system. Scroll thru this list and look for a service called “HP CUE DeviceDiscovery Service”.
Michelle: 3) Right-click on “HP CUE DeviceDiscovery Service” and select “Properties” to open the “HP CUE DeviceDiscovery Service Properties” dialog.
4) From the “HP CUE DeviceDiscovery Service Properties” dialog, click on the “General” tab. If the “Service status” shows that the service has started, click on the “Stop” button to force the service to stop.
5) Change the “Start type” to “Disabled” and click on the “OK” button on the bottom of the dialog to apply the changes.
Darren Ethier: trying now…
Michelle: Please proceed.
Darren Ethier: done
Michelle: Now try to install the patch.
Darren Ethier: Same message
Darren Ethier: There is a HP Network Devices Support…should I try stopping that service too?
Michelle: Darren, to effect the changes we ave made through the above steps we need to restart the computer.
Michelle: I recommend you to restart the computer and try downloading the patch.
Michelle: I am sure the issue should be fixed.
Darren Ethier: Okay I’ll restart…and try. Does the service need to be reenabled after the patch is applied?
Michelle: For your convenience, I am providing you the session id of this chat session: (–deleted–) . You can reach us with the session id as reference.
Darren Ethier: Thank you
Michelle: You are welcome.
Michelle: Thank you for contacting HP Total Care Real-Time chat support. If you need further assistance, please contact us again at: http://www.hp.com/support/chat. Chat support is available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Of course it appeared that Michelle was genuinely trying to be friendly – but I’m sure a lot of her questions/answers were canned. Her suggested fixes did not give me the ability to install the patch and upon my own tedious research on the net I discovered that the “solution” she gave me is apparently what the patch is supposed to do in the first place…Go figure. I decided I didn’t want to waste another hour of my time chatting with a “tech support person” after realizing that HP has “known” about this problem for at least 6 months and if there was a fix they’d have posted something about it by now – or at least their “support” people would know about it, right? Yeah…right.
Bottom line – I’m getting pretty fed up with HP and am making some noise here in the hopes that they get their priorities in order and either get a fix pushed out (come on…you can’t tell me it’s taking you this long!!), post something on their website that actually informs customers about this problem and that they are working on a solution, OR offer customers a refund or exchange for the defective hardware. If the Officejet 7410 had of been a cheapo printer I would have ditched it by now and gone for something else but since it was not cheap and still works well with the XP machines we’ll keep it for now. However, my opinion of HP at this point is pretty low and you can bet I won’t be recommending any of their printers to anyone (or any of their products for that matter).