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7:59am on Tuesday, 7th June, 2005:

Definitive Answer


I got a definitive answer from Hewlitt Packard's customer service people yesterday concerning my inability to install their software: "we don't know what's wrong". It took me four phone calls, lasting over 90 minutes in total (at 8p a minute). Much of that time was spent listening to music, or listening to Don the technical support man breathing heavily while his what-to-tell-the-customers web page took an age to load on his PC.

The advice that Don eventually gave me was to install the software on another PC on the network and see if that worked. I duly booted up my younger daughter's box, installed Windows XP SP2 (which I'd been putting off so she wouldn't use Instant Messenger) and then installed the HP software. It worked just fine. I printed a full-colour page from her PC easily.

I also found out where the problem lay: in the FAX installation wizard. With 96% of installation complete, HP's FAX installation wizard runs — leastwise it did on her system. On mine, it dies, bringing the rest of the installation process down with it.

I got back to HP (twice, as the first time I was mislaid in their internal phone system for 40p, er, I mean 5 minutes), and told the (non-Don) guy what my problem was. He said there may be something in the registry clashing with their FAX installer, and that I should run registry-scrubbers for pretty well every product I ever had on my system that could conceivably cause a problem (camera software, OCR software, multi-player games...). I asked if there might be a switch that could inform the HP software that I didn't want the FAX component to be installed, and he said there wasn't (quite indignantly, too).

My last hope is to connect the printer to my computer using its USB lead rather than through the network. If that fails, I'm going to have to start uninstalling stuff I really don't want to uninstall.

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