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Printer trying to reinstall itself


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#1 Lynanne

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 07:32 PM

Win XP Home SP3

HP Photosmart C4480 printer/scanner, wired connection

Have a Belarc printout current 11/11/13

 

1. Approx 2-3 weeks ago began seeing random HP Solution pop-ups stating what to do if I were seeing smudges on copies. (Was not having that problem. Replaced 2 ink cartridges (HP) within last month.)  I would close out these pop-ups and go on with no problems.

2. Saw a couple of update progress bars last week that appeared to be from iTunes.  Thought that might be causing the odd HP Solution pop-ups, so I uninstalled iTunes. (I think I only installed it in order to view or listen to some specific thing once or twice a long time ago.)

3.  Began seeing pop-ups stating a new device had been plugged in, and my anti-virus (Vipre) wanted to scan it. (No new device plugged in.)  Eventually some text indicated the new device was "another printer," actually the same as what I have. 

4. During all this printer/scanner worked fine.

5. 1/31/14 began seeing pop-ups reporting the computer could not complete the installation of the printer. ("Fatal error during installation.")

5. Control panel>printers showed a 2nd printer, and at one point showed it as the default printer, all while I was continuing to get the above "Fatal error .... " notices.  I succeeded in making the correct printer the default printer and deleting the 2nd icon, but even though a doc showed up in the correct printer's queue, it would not print.

6. Online I found other people have had similar problems (as in above #5).  One suggestion helpful to several was to update the HP Solutions Center.  Tried that.  Installation went fine until the last 2%, and then would hang.  Others had tried uninstalling/reinstalling printer, but this did not solve the problem.

7. My Computer>System Prop>Hardware>Device Mgr shows 3 printers, but I could find no info as to when my computer thinks they were installed.  The following is an exact copy of the wording found there:

IEEE 1284.4 Compatible printers

  HP Photosmart C4400 series (DOT 4PRT)

  Photosmart C4400 (DOT4PRINT)

IEEE 1284.4 devices

  HP Photosmart C4400 series (DOT4)

 

In the process of finding the above info., I discovered I had, sometime ago, allowed Remote Assistance because I thought I was going to need it for some other (now forgotten) problem, and apparently failed to disallow it.  Today I read that leaving it checked opened my firewall ports!  I unchecked it today, 2/1/14.

 

8. 2/1/14  Ran Malwarebytes  No infection  My Vipre is totally up to date - Anti-virus and firewall.  (Turned both off to run Malwarebytes but turned on again.)

9. Control Panel>Printers shows the 2 printer icons: The one on the left is the correct one. Default is checked.  It says "HP Photosmart C4400 Series," and under that "(copy 1)."  The one on the right no longer has the default check, and is labeled "HP Photosmart C4400 Series." Below that there is a "0," and below that, "Ready."

10  The only other current issue I know about with this computer has to do with Firefox and Flash Player.  About 6 months ago I switched to Firefox from IE8.  When Flash Player wanted to install an update, there was a problem I can't exactly recall.  I didn't have time to mess with it at the time, but did download and save some explanations I could go back to later. I tried uninstalling the Flash Player, but there is some known problem with then not being able to reinstall Flash Player onto Firefox until one does some other procedure.

11. Within the last month I have plugged in and used a new backup HD (WD My Passport Ultra) with no issues, a flashdrive (but I've used it a couple of times before maybe 6 months ago with no problems), and used my DVD to download some photos to the computer and thence to the flashdrive.

 

I'm aiming for a new computer ....... hopefully one with Win 7 or I might even throw in the towel and go back to Apple! ......... later this year, but right now I really need this one to be able to print!

 



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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 06:51 PM

If no one has said it before - welcome to BC !

 

From your detailed account it appears that you have more than one copy of your printer installed, which could be the cause of your problems. I would suggest uninstalling all of them and then re-installing one copy.

 

Before you start this process, make sure you have your HP install disc to hand, or go to HP's web-site and download the drivers for your printer !

 

Click 'Start - Control panel - Programs and features' and select, one at a time, all the HP installations that the screen shows and click 'Uninstall' at the top of the screen. This will uninstall all your copies of the printer. Then re-boot your computer.

 

Now run the installation procedure. Note that printers are notoriously fussy about the sequence in which things are done, and it is worth checking with the 'Quick start' guide to get it right. From memory - and it is quite an old one - HP printers like to be connected before you install the software, but my memory could be wrong on that !  Check !

 

Once you have done all this you should find that you have only one HP printer installed on your system, and if it isn't set as the default just set it to default in the printer properties.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#3 Lynanne

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:31 AM

Many thanks, Chris!

In the interim, between posting and now, I did exactly what you suggested.  I had the installation disk and followed all the directions for uninstalling and reinstalling.  No help.

I discovered my Vipre antivirus had quarantined a Trojan on 23 Jan., which is about the time, or a little before,  I began having this pop-up issue, I think.  A few months ago I had told Vipre to handle things automatically because it was so rare that anything of any significance came my way.  However, they are supposed to notify me when something is quarantined, and I will pursue with them how it was I missed such a notification. (Have to thoroughly check my inbox.) I intend to return to having Vipre report to me immediately after a scan so I can see right then what was found, if anything.

Right now I'm in the midst of getting back to them after following their directions ..... pop-ups still in evidence ..... in order to get moved up to the next level of intervention.  That's one thing I've always liked about Vipre: terrific support, via email or chat or phone.

Along with the so-called faulty printer installation pop-up, another "pop-up" began right after I posted here.  It's a large, clear box.  In the center is a clear sand time clock with white sand.  It shows all the sand draining out of the top portion, then flips, and does the same again.  That image is far more disconcerting to me than the printer pop-up!  I keep wondering if it's telling me my computer is going to crash soon!

I'm afraid to backup to my external drive right now because I'm concerned that whatever is wrong currently will get transferred to the drive!

I'll post again after I finish working with the Vipre folks.

I really appreciate your taking the time to answer my posting.

Lynanne



#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 07:53 PM

It is possible that you have malware on your computer. When you have finished with the Vipre folks, go to this link and download and install Malwarebytes from BC and run it once it is installed. It is a very good detector of such nasties.

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-malware/

 

If it finds anything, it will try to cure it, and, as part of the fix, it may ask you to re-start your computer. If it does, do so straight away - it's an important part of some 'fixes'. If it finds anything which it can't fix, I suggest you post in the 'Am I infected ?' section of BC. If you do end up posting there, be patient - these people are (1) all  volunteers, and (2) busy !  Follow any steps you are asked to do carefully, and if you don't understand something, post back for clarification.

 

Good luck,

 

Chris Cosgrove



#5 Lynanne

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:49 AM

Haven't heard back from the anti-virus people yet, but wanted you to know I downloaded and ran Malwarebytes at the beginning of all this, right after I did a deep scan with my anti-virus.  Malwarebytes did not come up with anything.

I've tried to find something online about the clear boxes with the sand timere inside, but no luck so far.  Any references to "spinning hourglasses" I've found refer to Windows' hourglass icon that shows Windows is "thinking."  The hourglass I'm describing is much larger and clear.

Thanks, again!

Lynanne



#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:55 AM

I have seen something like this hourglass of yours once before, but it was quite a long time ago and for the love of me, I cannot remember what was causing it except that it was connected with some software I was installing, I think. Is there any text or logo associated with it, or is it just an empty box with this hourglass ?

 

I think a 'Speccy' report would help here. If you don't have 'Speccy' on your computer you can get it from this link :;

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/speccy/

 

A very useful little utility which says a great deal about your computer. Download and install it, then run it. Once it has finished analysing, click 'File - Publish snapshot' and 'Yes' in the box that appears. You will then get a URL for your snapshot. Copy and paste it into your next post and I will have a look at it. It is secure and publishes no important data.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#7 dls62

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:37 AM

I have seen something like this hourglass of yours once before, but it was quite a long time ago and for the love of me, I cannot remember what was causing it except that it was connected with some software I was installing, I think.

 

Chris,

 

If my memory serves me right, this can be related to a chkdsk bug and the workaround is to run chkdsk C: /r from the XP Recovery Console.  An option you might want follow up with Lynanne.



#8 jonuk76

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 08:08 AM

I have seen an issue with a different HP printer (a CP3505 laser) connected via USB where it would always install two instances of itself.  So you would see CP3505 and "Copy of CP3505" in the printers folder and only the copy would work properly.  It got worse in the end and became unresponsive and effectively "bricked".  What fixed it in the end was a printer firmware update which I had to forcibly install.

 

There is a critical update listed for your printer on the HP site which addresses issues with USB connectivity.  It might be worth a try - http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=mp-65961-4&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&os=228&product=3418705&sw_lang=


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#9 Lynanne

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 03:49 PM

I was so excited when I read of the HP critical update, as I thought this just might be the ticket.  However, when I downloaded it and started to run it, I received the following message:  "This update does not support any of the HP device drivers you have on your PC.  You do not need this software update."  Does that mean the driver my printer is using is so old, this critical update can't deal with it?! At one point in all this I wondered if perhaps I should try downloading driver updates, but then became concerned, should I do so, I might run into one which was too advanced for my old computer and cause all sorts of further difficulties.

Re: "Recovery Console"  I don't think I have that.  According to one of my XP reference books, Mastering Windows XP Home Edition, by Guy Hart-Davis, "Some OEM versions of XP don't include Recovery Console."  It doesn't sound familiar to me.  How might I locate it on my computer? I do have a Check Disk utility accessible, and I see now, according to one of my reference books, that's the " ...... first thing you should do if you are experiencing lots of error messages."  So, I think I will try that now.

Before I try Speccy, I wanted to let you know I do have BeLarc Advisor installed and could printout a new report.  Might that have the needed info?  The copy I have in hand was made 11/11/13.

Blessings be upon all of you for your help, suggestions, and just being there as I work my way through this!!!



#10 jonuk76

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 12:03 AM

Is the printer showing any error messages on it's control panel or becoming unresponsive, or is it normal apart from the obvious problems with the USB connection?    Do any of the 3 copies of the printer allow you to print a test page?

 

One other thing, do you have another USB cable you can try, and can you try it on a different port?  It's worth ruling out the easy stuff first.

 

BTW, you don't need to run chkdsk from a recovery console unless your PC is unbootable and that is the only option.  You can run it through an ordinary Command Prompt window, using the same command mentioned above.  As it won't be able to fix disk errors while the disk is in use, it will schedule a check on your next restart.


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#11 dls62

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:16 AM

Disconnect your printer from your computer.  Then go to Device Manager and right click on each of the printer entries and select Uninstall.

 

Next uninstall all the HP printer related software from Add/Remove Programs.

 

Now open a Command Prompt window and enter the following four lines, one at a time and press Enter after each.  You can copy and paste to ensure no typo's.

 

net stop spooler

RD /S %WinDir%\System32\spool\Printers

net start spooler

 

exit

 

Download and run the TFC utility.  You will be asked to restart your computer at the end of the process.

 

After the computer has restarted, reinstall the printer software from the installation CD.



#12 Lynanne

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:49 PM

That's probably why, when I tried to run CheckDisk I kept getting the message it couldn't be performed because it needs exclusive access to some windows files on the disk, and that these files could only be accessed by restarting Windows!  Although I'm not sure how that works because when I shut down, restarted, and tried to run check disk again, I got the same message.  Same in Safe Mode. Perhaps it only works if you let CheckDisk begin automatically upon startup?  From what I read, that scan could take many hours, so I won't start it now, before trying the other two suggestions (referred to below.)

At one point in this saga the printer would not print, but later it began to operate correctly once more.  Scans, too.

I'll try a different port for the printer.  Don't have another cable to try, but might go purchase one as I do not believe they are very costly at one of the discount electronics places.

I've already uninstalled and reinstalled the printer software once, and after that I was back to having just one printer listed.  However, I see the suggested solution has some other tasks to insert inbetween the uninstall and the reinstall, so I will give this a shot.  I've also cleaned out my temp files, but perhaps the TFC file does a more complete job than the built-in Windows service.

The only other development concerns the clear box containing the sand timer which would rotate twice.  Now the box has a white background, the clear timer with white sand is superimposed on the white background, and the timer sometimes stays on my screen rotating many times.  It used to only show up in conjunction with the "Fatal error during installation ...." message that would pop up when the ghost printer was trying to install, and it would go away when I 1) clicked OK, and then 2) closed out the installation popup.  Now the rotating timer will sometimes appear without the installation popup, or stay on screen for a bit after the installation popup has been sent away.

Can't thank you all enough for the suggestions and support!  I'll report back.



#13 Lynanne

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:10 PM

dls64, you had the magic cure!!  I and my UK ancestors (Yorkshire) thank ALL of you wonderful people for helping me out!

I was sure nervous when it came to dealing with a Command Prompt, never having ventured into that particular computer realm before, but I crossed my fingers and dove in.

There were about 5-6 different line items of HP software to be removed.  Even as I put the HP disk in to reinstall things, the clear box with the sand timer was still popping up, although the Fatal installation pop-up seemed to have disappeared.  I didn't wait around to see if it would return at that point!

Since reinstalling, I've not seen the sand timer again, northe Fatal installation thing.  I even left the computer on standby for about 4 hours, not wanting to get my hopes up, but now that I've returned, and used the computer for about 30 min. and not seen the pop-up, I'm inclined to believe it's gone, although the proof will be in the pudding .......... after I shut it down tonight and turn it on again tomorrow.

I chose not to run the TFC utility.  When I clicked on the Download, my anti-virus popped up and said it was a dangerous place for me to go.  I'm sure it was overreacting, but given what I've been through with the computer the last 2 weeks, I chose not to try it.  I did use the Windows provision for dumping temp files.

I intend to write to Bill Husted, the newspaper column author in whose article I learned of this group, and tell him what a terrific experience I had! 

Again, many thanks and kind regards to all of you!



#14 dls62

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:12 AM

Hi Lynanne,

 

I'm glad that we have helped you resolve the problem.

 

Regards,

 

dls62






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