HP takes bloatware to a whole new level

Ok, imagine this scenario. The printer has extremely limited memory, but needs to render an 8.5x11 page at 300 dpi (working out to 8415000 pixels, each of which can be on or off). So they create a scratch file on the hard drive to draw the image into. But the programmers are really bad, and they used a byte to represent a boolean value, then created an array of 8415000 of these, making their scratch file 67Mb. The driver code actually fits in about 2k, and the other 33Mb is an easter egg containing an MPEG movie of the dev team getting wasted at a “team-building morale event”.

So I got this HP all-in-one jobbie for work. Our old one, which worked fine as a printer, lost its ability to scan (lightbulb burned out) and woulda cost me the price of a new one to fix. So instead of a copy/scan/fax/printer i had just a printer.

I got this new one and it worked real well. Worked over the network. Just peachy. Easy to install.

Then my mom needed some special hand-holding tools to scan stuff to PDF. I needed to make it easier for her than what I knew how to do, so I installed the software that came from HP. Was fine.

Sometime after that, I had to do a format/reinstall (not cuz of the printer). Did that, installed the software for my mom, no problemo.

She goes to use the software and only 1 or 2 of the previous 10 or so options were available. She couldn’t perform her task.

“Weird…” i thought. No biggie, just reinstall the software.

I uninstalled everything completely. Then tried to reinstall. Would get halfway through then throw an error. GOSH! Kept trying, trying, trying. Uninstalled and reinstalled. Cleaned out the registry, still nothing. I couldn’t even get the DRIVER to install, let alone all the bloatware.

Was telling me certain registry keys didn’t have the right perms. Weird - they did the last 3 times I installed this!

Found some sort of patch that supposedly fixed the keys. Still no go.

I DLed the software from HP (it was newer than the disc) and tried. STILL NOTHING! ACK!

I FINALLY figured out that I needed to run the downloaded program, and at a certain crucial point, run this patch so that the patch could change the registry key permissions RIGHT at the right time.

Whew. Done.

Er, not so.

First I noticed every time I rebooted, XP found new hardware. Not just a printer tho. A USB printer, a DOT4_USB printer, a scanner, a fax…and it would fail installing them.

But everything worked (printed/scanned/faxed/copied) ok.

Ok fine, I never reboot this machine anyway. Will just ignore it.

BUT…I have an old HP CDWriter drive. It also decided to get in on the action by finding my “new hardware” and running the HP printer install every time I PUT A CD IN THE DRIVE.

Holy crap, what’s up with that?

Finally I figured out how to get it all fixed. I think it ended up with me letting the install complete after it came up when I put a CD in the drive. Something like that.

Now I have this stupid “HP Digital Imaging Tool” that takes forever to load up when I boot. No options to disable it unless I go directly to the startup config for XP. Bastards. (I did disable it finally)

Pissed me the hell off. Mostly it pissed me off because i LIKE HP printers. I’ve always had HP printers and other than the last one biting it, they haven’t caused me any problems.

Now I feel all bitter and betrayed because this one caused so many PROBLEMS. I agree with whoever said downloading the driver/software bundle over dialup would be a deal-breaker. Sucks :frowning:

Actually now that I am home I see that my problem was Epson printer/scanner/copier bloatware not HP printer/scanner/copier bloatware.

I was wondering about this sort of thing with HP when I noticed my Scanjet 3500 required 4,090 MB! It’s at least 10 times larger than any other program on my computer. On top of this, its one of the most irritating and clunky programs I’ve ever used.

If it’s anything like my PhotoSmart 7350’s driver, it’s a bunch of absurdly substandard programs for image manipulation, scrapbook creation, photo album storage, ugly certificate and award printing, and a copy of MSN (I think). Including templates and sample files and videos and blah bling blah, it comes out to

Okay, Colibri just cited a program larger than my hard drive. :eek: That scares me.

Yeah, I know, my computer’s an old dinosaur.

Back for round two!

If it’s anything like my PhotoSmart 7350’s driver, it’s a bunch of absurdly substandard programs for image manipulation, scrapbook creation, photo album storage, ugly certificate and award printing, and a copy of MSN (I think). Including templates and sample files and videos and blah bling blah, it would have taken ~500 MB, IIRC. I did what I always do with HP printers, though – I went to their website and got the pared-down driver-only version. The one for the OfficeJet in question is here, and is ~45 MB compressed.

Colibri, that is absurd. Especially considering that that particular scanner was released in 2003. 4 GB today is a bit much (out of the 140 GB drive on my PC, for instance), but in 2003 could easily have been 20 - 40% of the drive. Unacceptable. If you’re still using that scanner, there’s a driver on HP’s website here that is a 232 MB download. I can’t imagine one that size expanding to 4 GB.

I knew bad things would come of HPs merger with Compaq.

I’ve got a Lexmark Scanner/Copier/Fax/Printer/Cat Warmer which, for the most part, works fine. Except for the fact that it has this annoying voice which announces “Printing started” and “Printing complete.” whenever you print something. There is an option to disable the voice, but when I did that, the damn printer quit working! Grrrrrr.

Hell, Photoshop in its entirety is only 200-some-odd megs.

Does this printer driver come with its own operating system or something?

Thanks for the info. I’ll try that. I bought the scanner in 2003, and was absolutley horrified when I found out the program was taking up 10% of my hard drive. Unfortunatly I was not aware of this problem with HP when I bought it. My next biggest program is MS Office, which takes up 473 MB. And the version of Photoshop I have on this computer (5.5) is only 87 MB.

I recently went through this same problem with HP’s shitware drivers. For the All-In-Ones, there is no choice but to download their 163MB turd. It’s not even the downloading I object to so much - it’s the way the install then shits all over your computer, installing about a googol of services that start at boot-up and a bunch of other virus-like material.

I found a semi-reasonable hack, though: after downloading the shitware, run the install; let it vomit its contents onto your hard drive, then kill it in Task Manager before it can actually install anything. Then, go through XP’s “found new hardware” wizard, tell it “have disk”, and point it to the folder where the install unpacked the files. Seems to install the driver with a lot less of the bloat.

HP’s drivers really are an embarassment to the company.

I have already felt your pain in The Pit, and urge you to go console yourself by pretending that you have mailed my rant to the Lexmark CEO.

Because I love simplicity, I hereby pit all “plug-and-play” hardware that does not conform to standardized hardware and software interfaces. That is to say: if it doesn’t play as soon as I plug, without any ancillary interference from your malware, I want my money back and I also want to shit on the CEO’s desk.

Drivers are used to paper over hardware problems. If the consumer grade printers are so shitty they need extensive software handholding to put ink on paper, that will bump up the size of the driver. If business grade printers are better-built, the driver won’t need to have as many [del]ugly hacks[/del] software solutions.

But with printers in general and HP in specific, I wouldn’t rule out crack-smoking Rhesus monkeys.

Sick joke:Q: What do you get when you send monkeys to clear a minefield?
A: Rhesus peices!

Aww c’mon, you just know all that space is getting put to good use;

  • Four flash presentations telling you how wonderful HP is.
  • Eight mpegs that show you how to place paper in the feeder tray
  • 4 crippled trial versions of other great HP applications
  • 40 wav files that mimic the sound of printers, phones and cameras from the good old analogue days, just in case the sound of silence worries you.
  • a kickass easter egg game that Joe in development ran up during coffee breaks, requires you set your video card to 400 Billion colours and works best on a 31 inch monitor. Causes lesser computers to seize up and forces a reboot.
  • a 113MB plug-in that only works on the hardware made for the Australian market
  • 48 copies of the help files in every major language, plus font support.
  • a dedicated web browser that will harass you continually for the next four month about registering, and then will mysteriously stop.
  • An entire AOL signup package that will appear uninvited on your desktop, muscling up to your existing ISP software.
  • A Microsoft library module that will overwrite the existing one on your computer and break 3 other applications. But you won’t find this out until a week later.
  • A pointless free application that turns your mouse into a web-cam, or something. You can’t remember and it never worked properly anyway. You had to reinstall your mouse drivers after trying it.
  • 10 skinable themes for everything, so that your HP software an either look like a box of panty-liners, or the back of a Nine Inch Nails tour t-shirt. Naturally all the themes will make the application twice as slow to load and be unusable crap compared to the default. But still, having the choice is important.
  • 24 Graphics utilities originally written for Windows 3.1 that do nothing that Windows Paint doesn’t.
  • Some bastard thing somewhere that you can never find, but keeps changing your file associations for graphics and putting HP.com on your favourites list.
  • 589MB in a directory of DLLs that everyone has forgotten about and doesn’t do anything.
  • Details of an online competion to win tickets to an HP sponsored event that happened 18 months ago.
  • 4 taskbar applications that do nothing but blink at you, just in case you’ve forgotten your HP software is installed and ready and eager to be used.
  • 216 high quality jpeg photographs of smiling models of all ages using your HP product. To be liberally and arbitrarily displayed during the use of software to remind you that HP makes their customers insanely happy and brings their beautiful family closer together.
  • 12 links to the HP web site that all now take you to the same default page, obliging you to trawl through another 8 pages before getting the one you first set out to.
  • a driver that comes in 7 different bits, all of which must be installed if it’s to work, although only one bit ever seems to do anything.

Whoop! I just realized the above was my 3,000th post. And was going to save that for something special:slight_smile:

Hell, dude, that’s probably the finest milestone post I’ve seen on this board. Ya did good, kid.

Not that’s funny, dammit.

Got some hearty laughs out of me…

Futile Gesture, that was brilliant, fucking brilliant. One minor quibble:

Shouldn’t that be 400 Bajillion colours? :slight_smile:

Gawd. Now you all have me longing for the days, just twenty years ago, when a good database program needed just 170,000 bytes of code. Course, things were slower than snot then (took half a day to compress a 200k file), but then, it took us two or three years to fill a 10 meg hard drive. . . .

And to think I used to worry about hitting BASICs 32k code limit. (Never happened.)