Tactical Technical Strike

Musings, Thoughts, Notes, & a brain dump of what I come across

Windows XP ate my printer

Posted on | April 29, 2010 | No Comments

Weird issue arose today while helping my parents try to fix a computer problem. They have a lovely HP Laserjet 1012 printer that is just the Bees Knees in terms of their printing needs. Well, this issue isn’t the printer, it’s windows (Shocking, I know!).

The issue: Every 10 seconds, Windows is kind enough to remind them that “It’s found new Hardware (An HP Laser Jet 1012 printer), and it needs to be installed.” Sounds normal? Well, the printer is already installed. It can print test pages, web pages, and word documents with no problem. Ugh Windows. Ok, ok. I’ll just go ahead and let windows install it. Click OK, click yes, and AHHH! “The device installation failed. Please report this error to the vendor.” Ok, whatever, I can still print right? {POP}. That’s the sound of a Windows alert popping up to tell me that I have “found new Hardware (An HP Laser Jet 1012 printer), and it needs to be installed.” Now you see the issue.

The solution: It seems that sometimes when you install devices using vendor specific solutions (you know how HP wants you run their disks to install their printers instead of using the normal Windows found new Hardware Wizard), Windows XP doesn’t get the message, and still thinks the device is un-installed. Supposedly it can be caused by certain virus scanners being on at that same time, or some other issue. Whatever. The point is, Windows makes life really annoying regardless of why. So, I searched through the Internet and found a Windows Knowledge Base article on it (KB 298370) as well as a good Tom’s Hardware Article on it.

So, what’s the solution? Well, other than trying to un-install the printer and letting Windows reinstall it, is to edit the Registry so Windows stops trying to install it. What to do? Well, first you have to find the Device’s Hardware Id. You can do that by looking through the device manager (Right Click “My Computer”>Properties>Hardware>click Device Manager) at hidden devices (View Menu > “Show hidden devices”) and finding the hardware id by viewing the properties for the device in question (Right click > properties), navigating to the details tab, and setting the drop down to Hardware Ids. Record these ids somewhere.

Now, you need to open up the Registry Editor (Start Menu >Run > regedit), and navigate to the Hardware Key for this device. The path to the key is:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\{Recorded Hardware Key}. Delete the Software and Hardware Keys, and windows should be back to normal (fingers crossed).

Note on deleting the Hardware Key: You may not have the proper permissions, so you need to give the Everyone group Full Control of the key. This can be done by Right clicking on the hardware key (left pane of registry editor) > Permissions. Select the Everyone entry from the table at the top, and click the allow box for Full Control.

[1] Windows Knowledge Base 298370 : Fun fact, this bug applies to ALL versions of Windows XP. Good job MS.
[2] Tom’s Hardware Post


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