HP LaserJet 1012 Printer Drivers for Windows 7
Update: It seems (so far) that scripting a stop and start of the Spooler service can eliminate the need to turn the printer off and on. At least as long as you don’t print too much during the automatic scheduled task interval. – Will add new post when I have more data to go on. Grab the Best Hubris RSS Feed to read it right away.
HP printers have been solid workhorses for some time. Many IT pros swear by HP printers and won’t buy anything else. As Microsoft Windows 7 becomes more commonly installed and the default operating system installed on most new computers, upgrading old HP printer drivers to Windows 7 is more important.
Unfortunately, HP has decided to abandon a large group of HP printer owners. Numerous HP printers, particularly inexpensive “low-end” models have been assigned by HP to “Category 6”. Category 6 printers will not be supported under Windows 7, which means that Hewlett Packard will not be offering new print drivers for those models of LaserJet, InkJet, and All-in-One printers.
Of course, HP is doing its best to spin the situation by pointing out how many other printer drivers it is offering, and offering its more gullible customers the chance to participate in a special HP printer upgrade program for owners of obsolete printers. Too bad that the so-called special pricing upgrades offered by HP don’t compete with the best deals that a savvy consumer can find on the Internet or by watching the sales ads in the Sunday newspaper.
No Windows 7 Drivers for HP Printers 1012 and More
Obviously, the decision to not provide Windows 7 drivers to loyal HP customers is motivated by money. Although possibly a good financial move in the short-term, the lasting damage to HP’s reputation among customers, end-users, and technology professionals may well prove to be a much bigger expense than simply coding a few printer drivers. All of which raises the question,
“Why is HP not making Windows 7 print drivers for the HP 1012 and other printers?”
The full-answer lies within the walls of HP, but some information can be extrapolated.
First, HP fell victim to the business strategy of trying to bundle HP printing software with its printer drivers under Windows XP. These printing bundles provided little to no value and came with enormous overhead. Often, these printer bundles came with numerous printing utilities that customers never used and the bloated the size and complexity of updates from HP. Professional systems administrators and businesses stripped out the extra software immediately and used just the plain driver, while less savvy end-users ended up installing the software, but never using it.
However, since the software had been offered by HP and touted as improving the printing experience, HP was obligated to support and update not just the printer drivers, but the software bundles as well. This proved to be an added expense with no value because most people did not see any benefit from the utilities they were duped into downloading.
The extra HP software allowed HP engineers to code to their own internal standard instead of being confined to the actual computing standards being followed all over the world. For example, the HP Laser Jet 1012 print driver claims to support either PCL5 or PCL6, although the driver output from both modes does not conform to PCL standards. It is this bad business decision that is forcing HP to abandon so many of its good customers by not updating the drivers.
In order to fully support lower-end HP LaserJet printers that got these half-standards drivers, HP would have to fully recode the whole driver in order to generate the proper output to the printer hardware from inside Windows 7. The existing hooks and printer driver components supplied inside of Windows 7 by Microsoft as part of the operating system would not be usable because they only generate true standardized PCL output streams. The HP LaserJet 1010 series would not be expecting pure PCL commands and would produce errors.
Unsupported Personality PCL LaserJet 1012 Error Message
Many users have tried to continue using their LaserJet printers in Windows 7 by using another printer driver. Most theorize that a “close” model number would provide good enough printer driver support for their specific HP LaserJet model printer. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, since the true determining factor of whether or not the driver will function properly is whether or not the printer shares the same kind of pseudo-PCL code as the alternate driver.
For example, most LaserJet 1012 owners first try using the LaserJet 1015 driver. While some users report success, most find that they get errors right away, and most other begin to notice more and more errors as they try and use the wrong driver.
Fortunately, the LaserJet 3055 printer driver for Windows 7 appears to be able to allow the LaserJet 1012 printer to run under Windows 7. However, many users note that even that will eventually fail with a Unsupported Personality: PCL error message being printed on the page. Some users can clear the message by deleting the print job and power cycling the printer.
As it turns out, the error is caused by a mismatch in how the LaserJet printers implemented the PCL standard. The LaserJet 1012 printer outputs additional unsupported data with every print job. Eventually, all of the “extra” data fills up the buffers and the printer stops working. Additionally, the LaserJet 1012 uses a hacked printing methodology that prints everything as Raster-graphics and not vectorized. The LaserJet 3055 driver by default is set to vectorized which causes more serious errors.
Fortunately, users of LaserJet 1012s can use the 3055 driver successfully if the printer properties are changed to raster-graphics from vectorized and the printer is powered off every so often. A good trick for personal users of LaserJet 1012s is to attach them to a power strip used to shut down the computer on weekends or overnight which will cause the printer to power-cycle on a regular basis. Users with higher-end powerstrips like the APC Power-Saving Surge Protector can plug the printer into one of the managed outlets which will cut power to the device whenever the computer is turned off.