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Hundreds of thousands of faulty copiers may need new Xerox software patch

Xerox is to release a software patch that it hopes will repair a problem that saw some of its photocopiers changing numbers and letters in documents.

The company is first advising customers to “Reset Scanning Defaults” to make sure that isn’t where the problem lies before applying the software patch that will become available “within a few weeks.”

“It is important to know that Xerox devices shipped from the factory are set with the right compression level and resolution settings to produce scanned files appropriate for viewing or printing — while maintaining a reasonable file size. You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings,” said Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president of the Office and Solutions Business Group at Xerox.

German computer scientist David Kriesel identified the problem earlier this week when he noticed his Xerox Workcentre 7535 and 7556 machines were changing numbers, with faulty compression software used by the company machines to blame.

Kriesel, whose main inconvenience was the dimensions on a room plan being changed, expressed concern that numbers on vital medical documents or financial invoices could, in extreme cases, leave Xerox at risk of legal action.

The company didn’t hear of the problem until Kriesel identified it after the number six had been substituted by an eight when making copies and the room dimensions mentioned above were changed from 21.11m to 14.13m.

Xerox reported that 14 models going back to 2005 offer the Jbig2 compression standard involved, which means hundreds of thousands of individual units may end up needing the software patch.

Dastin confirmed that old rigs, the military and clients in developing markets are most likely to have changed the settings that caused the copiers to malfunction. Simplifying the settings to change the file size mean files can be sent quicker, which can be particularly helpful when only slow data speeds are available.

Image credit: Flickr (zrs_one)