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Gold'en Rant : HP wireless printers - just say no...

Bought a new wireless scanner/printer - the HP C4380 - the other week. Half-price at our local Dixons, now Currys Digital World, who really seem to have turned around their customer service. Or so I thought.

This baby is wireless and its installation procedure - which requires connecting it to a PC via a USB cable (fx: huh?) should take about an hour.

Beef number 1. The HP installation software is pedantic and slow. Further more, if the power jumps in mid-install and your PC crashes, you're in trouble. Big, big trouble.

Beef number 2. HP, unlike most other IT vendors, now leaves the registration procedure to the end of the installation. This means if your installation software starts looping, as mine did after the crash, you can't get support from HP. Not until you've registered -
"you'll have to talk to the reseller sir."

Try doing that with Currys/PC World. Another 0870 number at 10 pence a minute. "Sorry Sir, you'll need to talk to the vendor."

So I tried uninstalling the software and starting again. Hah - HP's software is pervasive. It alters Lord knows how many Registry entries and you really cannot get rid of it and start again.

A quick Google revealed that I'm not alone. See here (opens in new tab) and here (opens in new tab).

This combi printer is a wireless PIG! (Ed: No offence to you, Mr Pig)

After a further hour of stepping through, line-by-line, the HP software, I fixed the problem by installing the printer again - alongside the first `printer' on the PC/network facility (after closing off the file$ marker settings) - and getting that working. Then I deleted the original. Phew!

Zero marks to HP or to Currys/PCWorld helplines. And to cap it all, the cartridges have a chip inside them that makes it impossible to buy generics.

You can of course refill them yourselves, but just try buying a hypodermic syringe from Boots in Birmingham's Bull Ring centre without them asking you to leave. But that's another story...