Gripe Line reader Dave wrote in with a complaint I've been hearing a lot lately: "I have an all-in-one color LaserJet printer. I recently upgraded my computer to Windows 7. After I did, I went to HP's Website to pick up new drivers to get my printer working again. There aren't any."
This complaint is not always about Windows 7. I've heard from a few people who still can't get printer drivers for Vista.
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"I had a similar experience with Vista," says Dave. "The excuse I was given with Vista was that 'Microsoft released Vista unexpectedly.' I might agree about Vista, but Microsoft gave lots of warning for the release of Windows 7."
Back in November, HP made overtures regarding the imminent arrival of Windows 7-compatible drivers. Fast-forward to the present, and Dave still can't get his multifunction printer to print in color or to scan with the "universal" drivers he downloaded.
"So now I have a very expensive boat anchor, and nobody at HP can tell me if or when the software I need to make it work is coming. This is the umpteenth time I've been bitten by driver issues with HP. From now on I'm probably going to buy Lexmark," Dave remarks.
Naturally, I forward all such driver requests and complaints to HP. Unfortunately, I have yet to receive an answer that Dave -- or anyone else who has written me about an HP printer that still won't work with Vista or Windows 7 -- will like. But these complaints are not news to HP. There are a number of forums dedicated to the question of drivers for specific printer models at HP.com. By way of explaining what's going on, I was directed to an HP blog post on the topic.
The post is meant to explain why printer drivers take so long, and perhaps why some printers get abandoned when a new operating system comes out: "A printer driver is specific to the exact model of printer. Many printers have variations within a range. For example, the HP PhotoSmart 4200 has eleven different models within the range."