HP has adopted a new approach to download drivers. They want you to download software that will install the driver for you based on what it detects. Only it doesn’t. HP Smart is what they call it. It isn’t. It’s like their old logo HP Invent, when they really meant HP Acquire. They stopped inventing a long time ago, and began copying what others were doing to make quick money. But I digress, sort of.
HP Envy Pro 6458 printer. A friend has one and wanted to print to it via USB cable as a local printer. HP really doesn’t want to do that. They keep suggesting that it be hooked up via wireless. In a pinch, they’d begrudgingly will let it connect via Ethernet. I expected it to be recognized instantly when I plugged in the USB cable. Nope. Device manager sees it, but with an exclamation point, meaning the driver is futzed. If I install it via Ethernet, it expects that it will STAY a network printer. If I connect the USB cable again, the driver it installed over the network doesn’t work. Running HP Smart with just a USB cable… printer? What printer?
When a computer is connected to a VPN, and the VPN software is locked-down to prevent local network resources from being available (to protect the company network from things like ransomware), then it becomes important for a printer to be used locally, that is, connected directly to the computer via USB. But if the printer’s manufacturer doesn’t see the point of an all inclusive print driver, that makes life difficult for the user, not smoother and more efficient.
Manual downloads and installs have worked for the past 20 years. They would still work today, if HP would let them. But nah. They made it better. They made it easier. They made it work for most of their customers, and that’s good enough for them.