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10:17am on Sunday, 5th June, 2005:

Printer Problems


My attempts to get my swanky new network printer to work have so far been unsuccessful. HP's email-based customer service squad gave up on Friday and told me to telephone their hotline directly (it opens on Monday), having given me advice ranging from the mundane ("re-install the software") to the more subtle ("disable DEP"). Some of their people seemed to sense I had some basic knowledge of computers, but others treated me as if I were mentally retarded. On email, for example, told me to look at a particular web page as step 2 of a 3-step process to getting my system to work, but the web page wasn't there; when they replied with a cut-and-paste of its contents, it was exactly what was written in the manual anyway.

I managed to stop the installation from crashing out on me by the simple expedient of uninstalling McAfee. My PC now has no security software running on it whatsoever. It's hidden behind my router, so I don't need a firewall, but I'd be happier with some anti-virus software running. A nice side-effect of this is that my PC is twice as fast for the moment, anyway...

To find out what should happen when I install the software, I installed it on an old Windows 98 PC. It looks like there's a point after it;s been hanging around at 96% installed for 5 minutes when the system is supposed to tell me it wants to reboot. On my old PC I get this, but on my current one I don't. Thus, I have all the software installed (and it takes 45 minutes per installation — I've done it 7 or 8 times so far) but I can't use it to print anything. Naturally, I'm unable to print from my Windows 98 system, either, because having completed the installation it tells me it can't find the printer, giving me some patronising advice about how maybe the printer is switched off or the cable has come loose or I'm using a virtual private network...

Even more naturally, now I've installed the software on my old PC it won't let me uninstall it: it dies when I use the uninstall option from the CD-ROM, and when I try it from Add/Remove Programs it won't even open. I've had to delete every file manually, just to free up the disc space. Gawd knows what garbage is sitting around in the registry and elsewhere that I couldn't beat senseless with a blunt instrument.

I'll give HP's hotline a call on Monday and see if I can get to talk to a real person. If they can't offer any useful advice, I'll forget the network connection and go with the USB link. If that doesn't work, it's back to the shop with it...

Referenced by Definitive Answer.

Referenced by Printer Workaround.

Referenced by Defiant Software.

Referenced by Printer Problems.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).