You may remember Gripe Line reader Dave, who wrote in with what turned out to be a common complaint: the utter dearth of Windows 7 drivers for his LaserJet printer, and HP's response -- or lack of one -- to the issue. Fearing that this essential piece of home office equipment was destined to become a "boat anchor," he attended HP's online "Meet the Experts" event in the hope that one of the printer pros offering up advice would have a solution. That didn't go quite as well as he'd hoped.
"I saw your column about the 'Meet the Experts,'" he told me, "and I posted a question about driver availability for my printer. My question was polite -- no flames included. And it got an answer -- of sorts -- from HP: It was removed."
[ Also on InfoWorld: Dave's situation is far from unique, if Gripe Line readers are any indication in "Where are my Windows 7 print drivers?" | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]
Needless to say, Dave was reaching his boiling point with his printer situation and expanded on the reason for his annoyance. "When Windows 7 came out, I 'volunteered' my home PC for an upgrade test for work," he explained.
"The upgrade failed because the machine had an nVidia i860 chipset. Windows 7 doesn't support it -- though the hardware compatibility check said it was OK. I grumbled about that but plunked down money for a new motherboard and DRAM. But when my HP CM1017 didn't work either, I went a little crazy. I guess we all expect PCs to have a limited technical life. But we feel printers should last much longer. Or is that just me?"
Judging from the angry emails I got from readers with printers orphaned by a lack of drivers for Vista and Windows 7, I'll venture that it's not just Dave. But today I'm happy to report that Dave's story has a happy ending, and the solution came from an unlikely place.
In his original gripe, Dave said, by way of a dig at HP, "From now on I'm probably going to buy Lexmark." He was, in fact, seriously considering selling his HP for whatever he could get for it and switching his loyalties. "We have a Lexmark C544dn at work," he explained in email, "and it's worked wonderfully."