HP printer drivers no longer available on the web?

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 27th, 2004 • 4:38 am

I cannot quite believe this. This week I had problems printing pictures on my HP cp1700 using the driver provided as part of Mac OS X 10.3. So I went to the HP web site to see if there was a more recent driver available online. I have downloaded stuff for my cp1700 from there before.

I was quite surprised to find that the HP web site no longer offers printer drivers as free downloads! The only available downloads for the HP cp1700 are a firmware update dated May 24, 2002 and a package of “Pantone color libraries“. Apparently, if you need the latest drivers, you now need to order them on CD!

Is this possible? When did HP make such a move? How can they possibly justify it? This is absolutely scandalous.

The same thing happened with Umax a while back, but I gave up on that company a long time ago, and was no particularly surprised to see them make such a user-hostile move. But HP? With all the printers that they have sold and are still selling? Say it isn’t true…

If this turns out to be true, it will be reason enough for me to recommend against buying HP printers in the future. It’s absolutely scandalous.

19 Responses to “HP printer drivers no longer available on the web?”

  1. Kelly Jones says:

    I just went to HP’s website and found the driver for an old DeskWriter I have. Are you sure your looking in the right spot?

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    There’s only one spot. Actually, there are two spots, one for the cp1700 and one for the cp1700ps. The one for the cp1700ps mentions explicitly that the drivers have to be ordered on CD.

    I’ve also seen several reports to the same effect in the reader reports on the MacInTouch web site.

  3. Dan Farrell Davis says:

    HP made this change to recent products a few monthss ago in my experience. It’s very irritating.

    I have always found HP drivers, on Mac or PC, to be overdone, complicated messes the screw up frequently. If you haven’t had to de-install (I would say uninstall, but check the directions on HP’s support site for this model and the four levels of Uninstall that may be necessary — http://h20015.www2.hp.com/hub_search/document.jhtml;jsessionid=3TOMF4JNAMKZXQFIKSBEOSQ?reg=na&cc=us&docName=bpu01843&lc=en) and you can see that HP is supportive of we troubleshooters and intends to keep us employed for a while.

    I currently steer away from HP products due to the complications.

    An additional complaint is that just installing a driver from the HP CD and NOT installing all their other consumer convenience software can’t be done.

    You can get HP to overnight you a CD for free if you call them and carefully frame your request as a customer satisfaction issue.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks for the clarifications. Geez, what a way to treat customers. I wish I could stay away from HP products, but printers are not exactly something that can easily be replaced. I also agree with the fact that their driver packages are typically bloated and install all kinds of junk. It’s even worse for all-in-one products!

    The only positive news out of all this is that many HP drivers are in fact included as part of Mac OS X itself. But that doesn’t help us troubleshooters, because it’s not exactly easy to reinstall the drivers from the Mac OS X CDs when needed.

    Thank God I’ve kept copies of older downloads on CD. But not as many different generations as I should have, perhaps.

  5. Paul Ingraham says:

    It’s even worse for scanners, I think. No drivers built into OS X.

    HP hasn’t offered a driver update for the 5370C and numerous other models since OS X 10.1. They claimed that the drivers and software worked in 10.2, but many people found it nearly impossible to work with, assuming it could be installed at all. The installer crashed three times in a row on my machine; what made me try a fourth, I will never know, but it worked on the 4th try… but the installed scanning software had lost about 75% of the dubious functionality it had in 10.1. “De-installing” took ages. Have they got a roomful of monkeys writing code? Where do they do their recruiting? I can’t imagine any self-respecting developer voluntarily writing an installer like that. Anyway…

    When Panther was released, that was the end of even a vestige of compatibility, and HP published a page of information about their scanners’ compatibility with Mac OS X versions (http://h20015.www2.hp.com/hub_search/document.jhtml;jsessionid=TAJT5IFA4IFOBQFIKSBENZQ?reg=na&cc=us&docName=bpm35006&lc=en). The driver I need (along with the Panther drivers for nearly every scanner they manufacture) is listed as being “in development.” Riiiight…

    So I’m using VueScan, and that does the job, thankfully. I won’t be buying anymore HP products, though.

  6. Pierre Igot says:

    Paul: you may use pMcode to include “live” links to external sites in your comments (instead of inserting the whole URL as plain text). And you can use Spell Catcher X to create glossary entries for the pMcode tags :).

    I have limited experience with HP scanners, but the little experience I have is not very positive. (A colleague has one, but the software is not good, and the scanning is really slow.)

    “roomful of monkeys writing code”? Don’t mess with monkeys, they’ll fight you back :).

    Sadly, VueScan doesn’t support my Umax Astra 4000U. So I’m still using the Umax software under Classic for scanning :-(.

  7. Josh says:

    Pierre: Love your blog, I agree with many of your rants. But be careful with the phrase “absolutely scandalous.” It’s strength can be minimized with overuse.

  8. Pierre Igot says:

    Josh: Know what you mean. But it’s hard to tone down the rhetoric when the behaviour in question is so outrageous. Can it really cost less for HP to make CDs and mail them out than to provide the convenience of downloadable drivers? Unless they make the user pay for the CD, of course…

    (Unrelated: Josh, no need for the “NOSPAM” section in your email address. See Your Privacy for more info.)

  9. Dan Farrell Davis says:

    Here’s another rant about HP products, specifically the HP PSC750. Scroll down for the topic.

  10. Pierre Igot says:

    I’ve always been extremely wary of “all-in-one” products. I guess this confirms not only HP’s lousy driver support, but also the higher risk involved in using one of their all-in-one offerings. I also have a colleague with a pretty bad (recent) experience with a brand new HP scanner. It’s starting to add up.

  11. Dan Farrell Davis says:

    I’ve had reasonable success with the all-in-ones. They’ve become so cheap that small offices love them, particularly for the space-saving aspect. I currently stick to Epson or Canon.

    The paper-handling systems are the most troublesome, but that is true on all printers these days.

    Just this morning, I was talking to a guy who supports a group with Treo 600 PDA phones and he says, just like I have come to accept, that all these electronic products are just not made well enough. Some large percentage of them fail out of the box or fail some time later. And the failure will be “flakiness” where the product works but then doesn’t work and then works again for a while.

    So I think the best strategy currently is to buy multiples of the cheaper products, like all-in-ones, and keep one under the counter until the one on top of the counter starts acting flaky.

    There is a real cultural abhorance of this concept, though, isn’t there? People seem more keen on paying a troubleshooter to fix a product that could be purchased new for less than what the troubleshooter costs. This is true even for Windoze computers these days. You can buy a new one cheaper than hiring a “computer therapist” like me <g>.

  12. Pierre Igot says:

    Definitely a cultural abhorrence issue here. Part of the problem is that people also want to believe that, with the help of the troubleshooter, they’ll be able to learn how to troubleshoot themselves — and that’s a better investment than just buying a new machine, since that won’t give improve their own troubleshooting skills.

    Part of it is simply a reluctance to treat electronics (including computers) as disposables. Not necessarily a bad thing (all these dead electronic devices must be a great source of pollution), but not necessarily the most cost-effective approach either (although, like you, I do not mind the additional business for myself <g>).

  13. Faiz Syed Hussain says:

    I’ve got a hp Laserjet 1000w, which, when I bought it worked on Mac OS 10.2 “Jaguar”. Now that I have upgraded to Mac OS 10.3 “Panther”, there are no drivers, built-in or otherwise for this printer. Does anyone know where I could find one?

  14. Pierre Igot says:

    Faiz: As far as I can tell, this printer cannot be used with a Mac. How did you get it to work under Jaguar? Did you try using the “Generic” printer driver? It might work passably well.

  15. Phil Twiss says:

    Faiz, Try linuxprint.org (I think that’s right), I have just bought an HP LASERJET 3020 MFP, which as I now know does not work with the included drivers for Panther, contrary to all specs and avertising gumph. They may have a driver which will make you printer run, I’m using the drivers for a slightly different HP MFP but I am still able to print, can’t scan pretty pictures, but a least I no longer have just a photocopier.

  16. Faiz Syed Hussain says:

    how do you use the generic printer driver?

  17. Faiz Syed Hussain says:

    Thanks for your help, cheers

  18. Mitchell Wall says:

    go to this link and download the ‘HPIJS’. it is a multi driver… a all in one that controls 457 different printers. mainly HP


  19. sogerilla says:

    did you guys fix your print problem with the cp 1700? I had this problem a while back but found that the open source print drivers work really well on OS X.

    there’s 2 bits of software you gotta install

    1 is ghostscript

    whoops….looks like ghostscript is now HPIJS that mitchell recommended.

    ok nevermind looks like someone already mentioned the solution

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