HP Crapware Crosses the Line

I used to work for Xerox, I hide this not one ounce. One of the things I liked about Xerox most was their drivers – Lean, mean fighting machines, rarely any bigger than 10MB for the full driver.

Nicky got a new HP printer for Christmas from her Dad. I would have had him chose a Xerox Phaser 6115 MFP for us if it wasn’t for the extreme price tag on them, however the HP Photosmart series makes a good mixture of price and features for a home ‘power’ user.

HP seem to be the anti-christ when it comes to drivers. I downloaded the driver for the printer from the HP site. I would normally download the driver only package as this means you can print and it is much leaner and more stable, however the lean build isn’t even available for this model, so I was forced into the full package (also because I need to configure the networking on the device which can’t be done via the front panel) so instead I had to download and install the 180 MB package.

After several problems getting the software installed (due to the fact that HP’s installer package couldn’t handle the fact that I use a redirected home drive for my documents directory on H:) I managed to get it installed with some registry hacking.

Once the installation started I was watching it go through, I was watching the phases whir by and one of them offensively caught my eye – Yahoo Toolbar Customized by HP. This annoyed me no end, because I hate toolbars so very much because they are intrusive and 99% of the time not installed at my request such as this one. Yahoo is not my search engine of choice and never has been. If HP want to bundle the Yahoo toolbar then that’s fine with me, but at least give people the option to not install it.

Secondly, after the installation finished I noticed something else I didn’t ask for – A Windows Sidebar Gadget had been installed which allows you to drag and drop pictures onto it for instant printing. That’s a nice feature for someone who actually wants to use the printer, however I only installed this overweight bloated driver for the purpose of configuring the networking. Even though it may be a nice feature, this is again a feature which should be optional. Sidebar Gadgets can be quite intrusive at time (especially those shipped by TechGuys and PC World to name a couple).

I feel HP have crossed the line on at least three accounts here by not giving the users the choice they deserve and forcing junk bloat-ware upon it’s users, not giving users the ability to configure the networking in a lightweight fashion without installing the software and lastly for the damn software not working.

Now I have the software installed, I’ve spent the last 45mins trying to get the software to correctly assign the wireless network settings to the printer so that I can use it as planned to no avail. It would be faster for me to manually change the binary bits on the EEPROM!

HP – Make better drivers, smaller without bloat!

I just opened Internet Explorer to do something and discovered some monstrous and utterly real estate wasting piece of rubbish toolbar on the left side of the page view area has also been installed. Get real HP!

I managed to get the networking on the printer configured by setting the Configure Network application to Compatibility mode for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Administrator Mode in Windows 7. The irony here is that HP’s software claims to be Windows 7 compatible from the text on their website, but it’s obviously borderline compatible.

I have this morning been trying to uninstall the HP software from my machine now, as now that printer is on the network it is broadcasting itself via UPnP for all to see which I have to say is excellent (another post coming) but the shoddy software not only requires me to reboot for changes to take effect after the removal of each of the six components, but forces the immediate restart killing any open Internet Explorer tabs in the process – Rage ensues.