» Windows 7: My #@$%* printer won’t work

Windows 7: My #@$%* printer won’t work

November 25, 2009 by Sam Narisi
Posted in: Dealers & Channel, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Solutions

Users of several printer brands have run into problems after updating to the new version of Windows. Help is on the way — but only for some.

HP recently announced plans to release Windows 7-compatible drivers for some of its printers. Unfortunately, some models won’t be supported on the new operating system.

For example, an HP support forum has been filled with angry comments about the apparent decision not to update drivers for the LaserJet 3600n, a color workgroup laser printer. That model was introduced three years ago and discontinued last year. There are lots of angry users who now must choose between doing without Windows 7 or forking out for a new color laser printer.

For example, one aggrieved manager wrote:

“This is unbelievable! We purchased multiple 3600n printers just barely a year ago (September, 2008). We have made the decision to upgrade our office computers to Windows 7 (from Vista) and now we find out that our practically still new printers are not compatible.”

Another user warned: “If HP does not support these printers in Windows 7 they will be the last HP printers I purchase.”

The company has provided a list of what devices have drivers available or will soon. If a printer’s not listed, HP says it won’t offer support for Windows 7. They are facing a growing number of angry customers.

Problems have hit other companies as well. Lexmark and Xerox have also put out lists of which products they will or won’t support with Windows 7.

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48 Responses to “Windows 7: My #@$%* printer won’t work”

  1. Clifford Lerand Says:

    If HP doesn’t write drivers for earlier products, I will also quit purchasing HP printers. I currently have over 60 HP laser printers and will be purchasing 20 more this next year. We buy HP printers because they last and last. Thus, if they don’t write drivers for their printers to keep up with MS OS releases, I’ll start buying from a company that does.

  2. Bill Yellin Says:

    Seems like the Mac commercial has the right idea. Huh? “Trust me”.

  3. R Britain Says:

    Looks like a good reason to move to Linux….

  4. Thomas R Says:

    Maybe you should be upset with Windows 7??????????

  5. Kent Says:

    This is typical, especially with HP printers and every new version of windows. I went through this with Vista and HP. This is their (HP) cash cow. They even told me that I should just buy a new printer when I called them!

    Since then, I have switched to Canon and Brother, which seem to always provide excellent driver support for new OS’s.

    HP day in the sun has passed and I’ll never ever purchase from them again.

  6. Alex Says:

    It seems to me that HP is doing their best to keep up with rapidly changing technology. To place blame on the manufacturer of the equipment you purchased (over a year ago) vs. the brand new OS, is akin to blaming your 8 track cassette for not working on your Ipod!

  7. IT Service Director Says:

    Utterly unacceptable for a huge manufacturer like HP not to support Windows 7 for any hardware it manufactured within the previous 10 years of the new OS’s release date. How many years warning did they have before the new OS was released? How many years have they had the development tools in hand with the OS driver specifications? This is simply extremely bad customer support and service.

  8. Z Says:

    Alex, your analogy is fundamentally flawed – there is hardware incompatability between an 8-track and an iPod and _decades_ of separation in time.

    Updating a printer driver for an OS is hardly that big a deal – it can be done with a bit of software development effort. It is _not_ adding support for a radically different OS, with an entirely different driver architecture or something like that – most of the exisitng core code for the pre-WIndows 7 driver will work just fine in all likelihood.

    The bottom line: a printer should not be “driver EOL’ed” in this manner when it was purchased just a few years ago and stopped selling a year ago. Manufacturers must continue to provide reasonable driver updates (I am sure HP still sell replacement/repair parts and toner for these HP printers!) for some period of time after they discontinue any given model.

  9. Steve Says:

    Alex, do you work for HP???? In your example, comparing an 8-track (1960′s technology) to a printer bought a year ago is ridiculous!!! Anyone should expect to be supported on hardware bought a year ago, period!

  10. Suzie West Says:

    now no one can blame Windows 7 this is all on the vendors.
    I know I have issues with XEROX printers on 64 bit version of Windows 7.
    They have the drivers but they do not work.

  11. IT Service Director Says:

    This is NOT a Windows 7 issue – it’s a peripheral manufacturer laziness issue. HP, Xerox, Lexmark, IBM, Dell, etc. should have all developed good working drivers for Windows 7 for all of their older hardware prior to the rollout of Windows 7, in both 32 bit and 64 bit flavors. They had more than enough time to do so.

  12. Bill Bezemek Says:

    These are just more examples of the profiteering decadence that is pervasive in our 21st century business society. Greed abounds. Force the consumers to purchase new products instead of supporting the old ones.

  13. Allen Says:

    I have a HP Deskjet 3420 with no windows 7 driver available so I used the HP Deskjet 3500 driver and it works great!

  14. Really? Says:

    I have three words for all of you… Universal Print Driver

  15. Thom Morris Says:

    We are an HP shop (well, library actually,) with a museum-quality HP Laserjet IIIP still running (just for fun,) a couple of Laserjet 6MP’s (yes, you can still get toner…) a boatload of 1320′s and P2015′s, 4200′s, 4240′s, CP4005′s, CP2025s and even several Laserjet 1200′s and 1300′s which have racked up 100′s of thousands of pages each, and EVERY ONE OF THESE is being supported with new drivers. I give HP high marks for supporting their printers (yes, going back 10 years) on the basis of my experience. I’ve tried other brands (Canon, Lexmark, etc.) — not a happy experience; that’s why we’re all HP now.

  16. Ralph Says:


    Attached is a link to the list of all Windows 7 compatible Xerox printer from the very small to the Production Systems.


  17. Niksmart Says:

    C’mon people! Stay two years back on technology software “improvements”… ALWAYS wait and see how the companies respond to what Mocrosoft does BEFORE YOU COMMIT! I run a couple radio stations, purchasing computers/software is part of my job… We are stuill using XP because we saw what a disaster Vista was. So now 7 comes along and you think it’s the next XP??? C’mon! Microsoft has had exactly three of eight OS’s that were excellent, the rest mediocre. What do you expect? Stay back a few years and watch the fray ~ make your purchases wisely after all the fallout you are putting yourselves through. HP indeed has sucked for about 2 product generations, but they are still the BEST printer out there. I have three HP’s, one Cannon, one Dell (Lexmark) printer and all but the HP’s are tempermental on my network. You are asking for problems by buying 7 this soon into the life cycle. ALWAYS WAIT at least until SP2 comes out!

  18. Brandon bates Says:

    Actually this is a Windows 7 issue, vista drivers “should” work on windows 7 with no issues, unless you upgraded from 32 bit to 64 bit or something like that. Microsoft seemed to stress this point in their marketing that if it worked on Vista it will work on Windows 7 (since the underlying os is kind of a Vista 2.0, much like XP was a 2000 2.0, and 98 was a 95 2.0, we won’t mention WinME…) I would be curious what the real issues involved here are and if people have found workarounds yet…

  19. Greg Mislick Says:

    The underlying problem is the rate of change. Being in municipal government, with the budget issues that we face, longevity and stability of both hard and soft platforms is a must. We cannot respond to these changes at this rate and will be forced to move to another selection of platforms whatever they be. The comment that it might be time for Linux is not new. M$ is pushing the changes to the underlying product – the OS too fast in my opinion. They have a history of throwing their weight around, but unfortunately the economy cannot support that. Having just about recovered from the wholesale upgrades required to move to XP, we cannot even begin to consider 7. Add to that issues like this with the printers and you have a situation where all I can do is sit back and first laugh, then cry because there is no way that I can respond to the rate of change which is being imposed. In the past Big Biz had a significant bit of reserve and were to some immune to the costs. It just fit into their normal replacement cycles. Those cycles are being stretched now and issues such as this- potentially replacing all of my printers simply to have compatibility- are deal breakers. If we cannot get drivers, then we will not move to 7, if the vendor will then not supply us with the XP Downgrade option (as I expect will not be happening) then it’s simple. We will not buy PC’s from them either.

    Our Statewide Library system is facing the problem from the software front: The library catalog software will not run on 7 (or Vista) and that is the backbone of their “system”. They are in discussions right now with Dell regarding the XP Downgrade Option. They are mandated to replace the hardware every 4 or 5 years. With budget pressures being what they are the most likely outcome is no new hardware and a suspension of the replacement policy for a time….

    So, who’s problem is it? I suspect it’s ultimately going to be ours.

  20. clr35 Says:

    HP blows, we have 40 color lj 3550 that are not going to be supported now. They’re only 5 years old and for a hp printer that isn’t long. Heck you can still setup a hp 4 with no issue and it’s old than the hills. I’ll not be buying HP printers or pc’s. We have to upgrade 150 pc in the next 3 quarters and now I may need to printers.. Good thing for everyone that Canon still makes a fair product. We have a few of the large IR machines. They have drives for them. HP should have had the drivers ready when Windows launched.

    I’ll agree Alex’s 8 track comment was off base.

  21. Robz Says:

    Um – Windows XP Mode. EVERYTHING is compatible with Windows7.

  22. Jack Says:

    This is totally assinine.
    7 is essentially nothing more than a service pack for Vista. What in the OS woudl prevent printers from functioning? Sounds like both HP and Windows did not do all of their homework prior to release.

    No excuse!

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  24. Kevin R. Says:

    Folks………please consider and alternative…………Ricoh. See the link below.

    Good Luck!

  25. Tom Says:

    HP has assume all of the blame here. Windows 7 code has been available to all of the manufacturers for almost a year. There is absolutely no excuse for their incopetence exept that they want to force people to buy new printers. Watch out HP this looks like grounds for an antitrust suit. If you get the pro version of windows 7 you can get the virtual machine and xp compadibility for free. do your research and make sure if you are going to upgrade that you get the correct version so that you don’t have these issues.

  26. Ian Says:

    @Greg Mislick

    Windows 7 Professional and above allows the opportunity to run Windows XP as a virtual-pc, free of charge so that applications that run only in windows XP and lower can still be used.

  27. Matt Says:

    If anyone’s in a real crunch, they can download a free copy of Windows XP from Microsoft, and run it within Windows 7 in “Windows XP compatability mode”. Compatability mode allows you to map to all of your USB devices, and hard drives, so the XP OS has access to everything that Windows7 does.

    This may not be the best answer, but it will get you by until official Windows7 drivers are released.

  28. Greg M Says:

    Despite the issue on the surface here, the real problem is that printing in Windows is still the same old buggy code base it’s always been. It was never designed for backwards compatibility (if you’re HP, this can be good for your bottom line – you’ll sell more printers). It’s slow, incapable of a color management system that actually works, unreliable and tends to crash at the most inopportune times. Our best printers are those that rely as little as possible on the Windows printing subsystem and let the printer do all the thinking (i.e. Fiery based solutions).

    If Microsoft REALLY cared about printing, they would replace the print sub system with a simple, optimized PDF processing engine and a legacy emulation mode for any printer driver going back to Windows 2000. There is no reason that printer manufacturers can’t standardize on a PDF as their standard document protocol and a standardized XML template for printer commands. Oh wait, if we cleaned it up and standardized, a whole bunch of driver writers would be out of a job, wouldn’t they? There might be REAL competition in the market, too? Universal support across any platform for any printer? Print from your new computer to your old HP printer without giving HP any money? Can’t have that! Nevermind! Forget I said anything!

  29. Greg Mislick Says:

    The XP virtual machine sounds like a viable workaround – perhaps. It will depend on how theyhave implemented it. As I have not yet tried it, I can’t speak to the issue. I have passed this on to the Library and if people who have more time than I do to play with it like the solution I’ll pass it on. In addition to the Library’s catalog and patron management system, we have a print control system / print driver issue that will also have to be resolved. The state wide library people are in discussions with Dell at this time to see what they can do (read: are allowed to do by M$) to resolve the needs. The issue with ordering stems from the library not using volume licenses, each box comes with it’s own CAL for the OS. It should be interesting. … I have so much to learn about 7 and so little time to do it.

    thanks to all for the comments, very enlightening.

  30. Clifford Lerand Says:

    We have just implemented Windows 7 here. However, the issue with trying to run a virtual XP session is this: we opted for the 64 bit version so we can address 12GB or more of memory for Adobe Creative Suite applications that need the power and capabilities of a 64 bit system. Trying to have a 32 bit XP virtual session doesn’t really help much when we’re running live in a 64 bit window that is now trying to print to a printer that isn’t supported. We can save the file and then open it up again on a slow 32 bit sesssion, but it doesn’t help with the whole purpose of being productive in a 64 bit session. We buy HP printers due to their longivity. That is their name to fame. Thus, it behoves them to always keep drivers updated with current MS OS releases, even if they are old printers. If they suddenly stop doing that, then there is no reason to buy HP due to their long life printers if you can’t use them on current OS releases anyways. HP just needs to realize why we buy their printers in the first place and get drivers created for even their older printers.

  31. Greg Mislick Says:

    Does M$ have the 64bit version of XP for the virtual machine in 7 ?????

    However, I agree with you 100% on HP and their printers. Their golden egg is that plain and simple their equipment lasts and works and keeps working and you can keep getting parts and supplies for them for a long long time. If that ends, and the driver is an integral part/supply I should think, then there is no reason to pay for the printers. Switch over to cheap printers which you expect to fail in a “short” time and just plan to replace them. Why think green in terms of longevity, just throw them away and add to the growing problem of high tech junk choking the world. This is a very poor marketing move on the part of HP. As the rampant pace of major OS upgrades and the attendant hardware requirements to run them continues, Open Source for the enterprise looks better and better. We pay for stability and support. If I can’t get either then why should I pay?

  32. Niksmart Says:

    Ubuntu, anyone? I just took delivery of two new Opti 360s for workstations. I payed extra for the XP downgrade on both machines. Microsoft forces Dell to charge me to use the OS it had two generations ago, and when I asked the friendly salesman at Dell if I could just get them with 7 and install my own XP OS (I have several unused licenses), he says that if I do, my warranty is voided.

    Microsoft realizes the world pretty much still uses XP, prefers XP, and doesn’t want or need to change, so M$ grabs us by the short and curlies and force feeds us their latest crap in a box, or charges us usury ($100.00 extra to ‘downgrade’ PER LICENSE!) to remain in a reliable, stable OS.

    What HP is doing with the drivers is wrong, but Microsoft owns the world and is tugging the leash. Mass revolt and OS change is the only true answer, and Mac is not the only alternative.

  33. Greg Mislick Says:

    I love the fact that changing the OS will void the warranty. Since the OS is just software, I’m surprised that running any software at all does not void the warranty. That is the biggest bit of hog wash I’ve heard yet. Unless they are saying that M$ OS’s can be harmful to the physical hardware, what in the name of anything does the OS installed have to do with the warranty on the hardware? Clearly M$ is just strong arming everyone. I’d say that it smacks of an antitrust issue, but it would seem that M$ is working against itself, and I doubt that even the European courts would take that up.

    Ubuntu??? How about Abacus and stone tablets! (note: Ubuntu is a viable alternative – maybe, it’s the support and compatibility which comes into question. I’d love to go that way here “but…….”)

  34. Ian Says:


    I find it odd that Dell would void a hardware warranty based on the OS installed – actually I can speak from experience in saying that I have never had that experience. We are a Dell shop and we install our own OS on every workstation and server we purchase and have never had an issue with a warranty. I think your “salesperson” was blowing smoke so that you would spend the additional $100 so his commission would be nicer.

    @Greg Mislick – I don’t see it being an issue with Microsoft, Dell is a large company and i am sure they can push back on Microsoft all they want. And at the end of the day, they are the manufacturer offering the warranty, they make the rules.

    The issue I see here is that HP and other manufacturers are not supporting their products. OS’s change and get updated, computer hardware changes.It is up to these manufacturers to make sure the life cycle of their products matches these changes, regardless if it is Linux, Windows or Mac OS. It is much easier and profitable for them to just say – “buy a new one”

    Another thing to note, I have been testing and using Windows 7 for sometime, I find it to be very stable and have had no issues with any peripherals that are somewhat modern. If the manufacturer did not have a Windows 7 driver, I found that using the Vista driver worked just fine. Of course if any of your peripherals much older and do have Vista drivers, at that point you may need to think of upgrading that hardware or leaving a “legacy” system in place to handle it. I know I still some alpha servers still running NT 4.0 for this very purpose.

  35. Greg Mislick Says:


    The state Library consortium has gotten the same statement from Dell – reinstalling some other OS will void warranty. My shop does not buy in enough quantity for it to be an issue, and we have been buying HP’s lately (this year, they have been the better deal) Moving forward I hope to put us onto a revolving upgrade/replacement schedule and the “shop” will make a difference then. This discussion is very interesting.

    We are an HP Shop when it comes to printers for all the reasons that have been raised as well as past experience. I used to work in an IT shop running billing for a large company – the HP printers would run nearly continuously during a bill run…effectivley a Laserjet 4200 series printer equiv running as fast as you can feed it paper and toner for say 20 hours. All we ever did to it for the years that I worked there was to feed it. No service of any kind and it did not fail – you almost coudl not put your hand over the fuser area of the case while it was running, and the noises it made were scary – but – it kept on running, and then it ran again the next billing cycle (why we ever had to print those 1500 page reports over and over only to recycle the previous report when the new one came out I’ll never know, but I could never get anyone to approve NOT printing them)

    The argument for legacy servers etc is valid and one that cannot be escaped. You will never have all your vendors (that billing software was still COBOL running on old VAX 11/780′s !) moving up. The issue with the Library consortium is exactly that, the only problem being that the “legacy systems” would have to be the desktops as the software in question is for print control, catalog, circulation management. All the apps are pretty good and the cost to change (if there is a better app – niche market and all) beyond consideration. So, we are stuck – and the printers….HP!

  36. TFC Says:

    It seems to come to four choices. The worse choice is neither HP or MS supplies a driver, which means both those parties lose along with customers. The best choice is both of them supply print drivers and everyone wins. Choice 2&3 is good but you have to wait for someone to take initiative. Customers should vote with their feet. Simple as that and if MS or HP do not get the big picture, someone else will step up to make the money.

  37. Crunch-time solution for Windows 7 driver troubles | Says:

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  38. jed Says:

    Maybe the problem is not as bad as it seems. Did you try a cheap print server? I have a network printer attached to an XP computer and Windows7 could not print to it. Once attached to a print server my problems are solved. Now XP and Windows7 machines can both print to the printer and it was less than $100 to fix the problem.

  39. Frank Says:


    I have been trying to install a hp colorlaserjet 3500 on windows 7 since last night. Gave up about 4am. Tried again and finally found a previously download HP (vista 64) from 2007 I believe. I put the details from my test page below, hope it helps

    data format – raw
    driver name – unidrv.dll
    driver version – 6.00
    environment – windows x64

    I also turn off (from windows) the advanced printing features

    Email me if you need more details.

  40. Marty Says:

    It’s too bad HP is burying themselves with the stupidity of not writing a driver for Windows 7. I have a Photosmart 1115 that I have had for years, and the picture quality is still awesome. It worked fine through XP sp3, but now that I have upgraded to Windows 7, I too am SOL. Tried Photosmart 8200 which worked OK, but does not have utilities to calibrate, clean or monitor ink cartridges. If They think I am going to buy another HP product because they are too lazy to come up with a driver for windows 7, then HP can kiss my behind. I’ve been wanting a wi-fi network printer anyhow. I’m sure other brands have much better photo printers or all in ones that support Windows upgrades. LOOSERS!

  41. Mosaic Lady Says:

    I had the same problem. My 5150 DeskJet wont work with my new pc that’s running Windows 7. Here’s what I did, after messing around with the techs for a while. Went to HP’s corporate website. There’s a link from the CEO that you can email him . I sent him a letter stating that I have always used HP products and been satisfied; that I was very surprised and disappointed with the printer problem; that people on blogs like this one are saying they think Hp just wants to sell new printers, and that if I have to buy a new one, it won’t be an HP and neither will my next computer purchase be.

    A few days later I got a phone call from HP customer relations. They aren’t going to update those drivers, but will send me a 25 dollar e-card to use toward a purchase of a new HP printer.

    Often, a letter to corporate will get some action.

  42. Marty Says:

    I’m beyond writing HP at this point. My Photosmart 1115 died after 8 years of loyal service. I have been shopping around and found that the Canon Pixma MP990 Wireless Photo Printer has everything my wife needs for printing high quality photos, speed, and has very high ratings. We don’t need an all-in-one, however, the scanner is better quality than our current HP Scanjet 4370. So, I may end up selling the Scanjet on eBay within the first week or 2 of Feb. Too bad the printer had to die while I have a bad taste in my mouth for HP. Oh, well, I always had canon printers before the HP :o )

  43. Mark Says:

    My HP photosmart 1115 is still going strong — after 9 years and three PC’s have passed. To throw it in the dump because there is no Windows 7 driver is a shame. Thanks for the tip on the Canon, Marty.

  44. Marty Says:

    Your Welcome Mark! Hope it works out for you.

  45. Mosaic Lady Says:

    I received the 25 dollar gift card from HP. But all the printer reviews for what I was looking for (inkjet/all-in-one/100.00) had a lot of negative things to say. I have a canon scanner that’s 14 years old and still works , but not on windows 7, so decided to go with Canon. I got the MP 560 at Walmart for 99.00. It took me 15 minutes to put in the ink, download the software and I was printing. Didn’t have to download drivers or talk to tech support. Gave the gift card to my kid.

  46. Mosaic Lady Says:

    Forgot to say, it scans, faxes and prints photos. I don’t plan to print pictures, but it’s nice to have in the event I need to.

  47. Code D Says:

    I’m sick about this. I’m unemployed & went out on a limb to get a good computer & printer for job hunting. I’ve nothing but trouble with the printer, HP Laserjet P1006. I purchased it about a month before getting Windows7. I got a laser because someone highly recommended it. It will print one copy, but usually everything stops in the spoiler. It puts two print jobs out there. I have spent literally days trying to get it fixed. I’m done with HP printers too.

  48. Greg Says:

    I just found this for you:

    “Install the vista drivers and remember the location of the drivers ( i.e. C:\program files\hp). Don’t worry if it fails to install. Go to device manager (i.e. right click my computer and select Manage). Look for the printer under unrecognized hardware in the hardware tree (your printer should be turned on for it to show up), right click on it and select update or install the driver. Browse for the driver in the location that it was installed by the HP software and install it. It should work now if not try rebutting or to power cycle the printer.

    Windows 7 security won’t let the driver to install otherwise.

    Good luck!”

    It was here :

    I can confirm that Windows 7 will balk at the standard installation programs. We just did the dance with a Konica C253 color Copier / MFP. When I skipped over the autorun or the setup.exe and just told 7 that I had a disk and navigated all the way into the appropriate folder onthe CD, the drivers supplied for XP actually (I think) worked – the OS was (I believe) the 32 bit version of 7 as delivered from DELL on an Optiplex 780.

    So, just get the drivers unpacked onto your disk, then when you get to the point where you need them, tell 7 you have a disk and navigate to them and then install – use the Vista drivers if you have them. In the above citation, the user with the problem said that it worked as advertised. I have no reason to believe that it will not.



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