Me vs Windows: a printer installation

Daft subject? Maybe, but one more reason why Windows is clearly not ready for the desktop yet! I’ve spent good chunk of today trying to install 3 Hewlett Packard network printers onto a Windows XP Professional installation. This is a clean install of the OS, so shouldn’t be far away from pristine condition.

It should be easy, especially with the Install Network Printer Wizard that HP provide. This scans the network to identify any printers available and will then configure and install all the necessary settings. Well it will if it doesn’t get to the last stage and then decide that it has an unknown error and back out the whole operation. This happens every single time it is used on all three network printers.

Right, Plan B (after several tries, reboots, experimentations with firewall settings, etc.), use IPP and the Internet Printer Wizard. The LaserJet installed fine with this, but the two DesignJets failed miserably. The reason for this appeared to be the fact that there were errors in the printer drivers stopping them being recognised properly by the installer. After a bit of digging around I found some slightly older drivers (still official HP ones though) to try. Sadly these started asking for the NT install CD, and although it would likely have worked with the XP one instead it didn’t fill me with any confidence.

Anyway, the end result for installing the remaining drivers turned out to be:

  • install standard Windows printer as if connected to LPT1: with required driver
  • install using HP Internet Printer Wizard (this now works since the driver has already been installed)
  • delete the standard Windows printer you created in step 1 because you never really needed it – just a means of installing the printer driver!

Oh they joys of persuading Windows to do what you want it to do!

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