HP Drivers



  • At work we are currently in the process of deploying Windows 7 Professional x64. The 64-bit architecture was decreed by the CIO who decided on her own that that was the best course of action. Despite an issue here and there with home-built legacy applications that contained hard-coded profile and application paths the deployment is going smoothly. The only real problem continues to be HP and their careless driver naming.

    On campus I decided to set up a new print server to work side-by-side with the old 32-bit print server. The plan was to keep both servers running and to load both the 32-bit and 64-bit print drivers onto the 64-bit print server since many older PCs were going to be running Windows XP until the PCs were eventually replaced. Once the new print server was completed I would decommission the old server and point both the XP (32-bit) and 7 (64-bit) PCs to the new server.

    For those who have never used Windows to host a print server it works like this: You create a printer object, use your naming convention to share the printer, install the 64-bit driver at the same time that you create the printer, and then use a 32-bit OS to launch Print Management and load the 32-bit driver onto the 64-bit computer. It's a bit cumbersome but it works so long as both of the driver's have the same exact name. 

    HP, for those who don't know, ships many of their current printer drivers with Windows Server 2008. So, for instance, a LaserJet P4015DN printer would have a driver with Windows that said "HP LaserJet P4014/4015 PCL6". Installing this on a 64-bit server is no issue. 

    Of course, in order for the printer to be installed by 32-bit clients you need to add the 32-bit driver. No problem...I went to HP's site, downloaded the driver, and got this: "HP LaserJet P4014/4015 PCL 6" with the difference being the space between PCL and 6. You wouldn't think this little space would be harmful but because HP can't use the same name for both of their drivers we can't have 32-bit clients print to those printers, as Windows will report back that the printer does not have a driver associated with it

    And for those of you who say "The real WTF is that you just didn't edit the .INF file by hand and change it to match." Of course I tried that, but of course after doing that the print driver is no longer signed and thus Windows gets angry. 

    So far it appears that this is an issue with the aforementioned P4015 and the CP6015 series of printers. I'm sure there are others. 

    The work-arounds that have been tossed about include creating a separate printer object for 32-bit PCs but I think that's sloppy. We also have to use the print server (and not IP printing) because we charge students for printing and use the statistics to manage our yearly toner and maintenance budget.

    I just wish HP would get a clue. They used to be the best printer manufacturer out there until Carly Fiorina decided to tank the company some years ago. Now their wonderful, trusty, dependable (but slow) LaserJet 4s, 5s, etc. have been replaced by big plastic pieces of junk. The silver lining to all of this is we have yet to purchase a new toner or drum for our highly-used CP6015 Color LaserJet because every consumable that shipped with the printer has developed a defect. Hell, I've already replaced the formatter (main logic board) in one of them after 4 months.

    And don't even get me started on the Pavillion DV2000/6000/9000 series of laptops. One can blame Nvidia but HP's refusal to recall them and do proper repairs just ticks me off to no end.

    /end rant


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     Ditch the printer-specific drivers. Use the HP Universal Print Driver (UPD) - it supports ALL the PCL5 and PCL6 printers with one driver for 32 and another for 64bit. And yes, it supports all the fancy add-on peripherals.



  • TRWTF is clients needing printer-specific drivers. If Microsoft had any sense in them, the clients would communicate to the server using some standard format (PostScript perhaps), and the server would translate that to whatever is required by the actual printer.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     @tdb said:

    TRWTF is clients needing printer-specific drivers. If Microsoft had any sense in them, the clients would communicate to the server using some standard format (PostScript perhaps), and the server would translate that to whatever is required by the actual printer.
    The problem there is that many printers (especially the kind you tend to attach to print servers) have all sorts of functions that can only be addressed by printer-specific languages (or at least manufacturer-specific languages). Collators, duplexers, output bins, staplers, etc. - even if you had a standard wireline protocol that supports every possible permutation and feature, the UI needs to be subtly different for certain printers (different ways of numbering input trays, for example)



  • @citking said:

    And don't even get me started on the Pavillion DV2000/6000/9000 series of laptops.
    I happen to own a dv6000. I had to update the BIOS and turn off the CPU's lower power state. It's now, for a couple of years, been generating more heat than it should, but the fan's noise is brazillions of times less annoying than that constant high-pitched sound which got on everyone-around's brains.

    Also, the touch-sensitive volume controls seem to go on vacation every other boot.



  • You're lucky that dv6000 still works, most of the ones I know of died of GPU meltdown days after the warranty ran out even though it's only a 7200m. The touch sensitive controls are stupid. Why, yes, of course I'd love an out loud click/bleep when I'm adjusting my headphone volume.

    On the subject of HP drivers, ditch them whenever possible, they seem to like writing custom variants that are missing most of the hardware features. LuxPad? Here's a stock driver that makes it act like a last-gen single-touch pad!



  • I just hooked up my HP printer to a cheap D-Link router and no computer in my network has any problems with it, regardless of OS, or being 32 or 64-bit. Things should be easy like that.



  • ^ This



  • @nexekho said:

    Why, yes, of course I'd love an out loud click/bleep when I'm adjusting my headphone volume.
    Mine never did a sound, fortunately.



  • ...and here I was expecting to read an article about another HP driver that places a non-deletable icon on the desktop that causes Explorer (including the taskbar+Start Menu) to hang when you right-click on it...



  •  [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]I just hooked up my HP printer to a cheap D-Link router and no computer in my network has any problems with it, regardless of OS, or being 32 or 64-bit. Things should be easy like that.[/quote]

    That's okay--and it's actually the setup in my office--but it means you don't have a real print server onto which the clients can dump their entire job. Instead each client sends the job only as quickly as the printer can print, there are no controls at the printer side, e.g. to track how much each user is printing, to delete jobs in the queue, etc. So it's not really comparable to a print server setup.



  • @barfoo said:

     [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]I just hooked up my HP printer to a cheap D-Link router and no computer in my network has any problems with it, regardless of OS, or being 32 or 64-bit. Things should be easy like that.

    That's okay--and it's actually the setup in my office--but it means you don't have a real print server onto which the clients can dump their entire job. Instead each client sends the job only as quickly as the printer can print, there are no controls at the printer side, e.g. to track how much each user is printing, to delete jobs in the queue, etc. So it's not really comparable to a print server setup.

    [/quote]

    Ah... no, I can see those in the router admin page? I can see who's printing what, and drop a pending job if I wish.



  • I wish we could use the UPD...however in my testing I've found that, more often than not, PCs using the UPD to print end up printing garbage to the printer. This seems to happen on printers both new and old, so until HP gets their act together and QAs that driverwe need to use the specific print drivers.



  •  I repair laptops in my spare time...by the time they come to me BIOS updating is the last thing possible 😕

    Sounds like there's going to be a class-action suit thoguh against HP and Nvidia. I'm not mad that there was a manufacturing defect - stuff happens. It's what happens (or in this case, doesn't happen) after the defect is discovered.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @citking said:

    I wish we could use the UPD...however in my testing I've found that, more often than not, PCs using the UPD to print end up printing garbage to the printer. This seems to happen on printers both new and old, so until HP gets their act together and QAs that driverwe need to use the specific print drivers.

    Interesting. I've never had a problem - have you tried the PCL5e version? LJ4000's were the first ones to support 6, so it might be a bit fucky.



  • HP makes great printers (they're still better than most out there), but their drivers have been crap for a very long time. The feature you are using is called "point and print" by Microsoft. Users and administrators love it, but many printer vendors hate it. It takes away an advertising opportunity that would exist if everybody had to install drivers from HP's installers instead. Point and print also requires that the driver stay within a set of parameters for how a driver is installed. All those stupid "buy toner now" warnings and virtual control panels don't install well with point and print.



    I've found Brother printers to be the exact opposite -- marginal printers, but excellent drivers that work great with point and print. Since printers are so cheap nowadays and labor rates aren't going down, I like disposable printers that are easy to manage.


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