Unsupported Personality Error HP LaserJet 1012 Windows 7

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We are going to call this inverted post style. This article started out down below where the heading HP LaserJet 1012 Printer Driver for Windows 7 Failure, but after writing all of that, I realized that I had taken too long to get to the point. That’s fine, because this is my brain storming, brain dumping, brain overloading, website and I needed to do a little of all three in order to be able to write the meat of this post. So, if you want it to completely make sense go to the heading and read to the end and then come back to the next paragraph. If you just want to know what is going on, just keep reading normally.

Using a different HP printer driver to fix the flawed business strategy of not supporting Windows 7 on popular, recently discontinued printers, has been tougher than it should be. As it turns out, there are two major reasons for this, as I recently found out about on a open-source forum dedicated to Linux printing.

The HP LaserJet 1012 printer worked pretty good for most people, but it was falsely advertised as supporting PCL5. Instead, the HP LaserJet 1012 printer actually supports some HP-bastardized version of PCL5. When the 1012 receives PCL5 print jobs it understands most of the commands it receives. Therefore, it is able to handle print jobs correctly that come from another PCL5 printer driver, like the HP LaserJet 3055 print driver for Windows 7.

Unfortunately, this unprofessional, hacked version of PCL 5 does not understand all of the PCL 5 commands it gets, so it just throws those into an error state. Eventually, all of the discarded commands fill up the printer’s buffers and it begins to generate visible error messages in the form of a printout that says only, “Unsupported Personality: PCL”.

Turning the printer off and back on resets clears the buffers out, and the LaserJet 1012 works on Windows 7 again until there is another buffer overrun.

Unfortunately, since it is the printer’s buffers and not the computer’s printing buffers that are overflowing, occasionally restarting the spooler service or other printer services does NOT fix the error of the LaserJet 1012 eventually crapping out with a PCL unsupported error message.

A permanent fix for the HP LaserJet 1012 Windows 7 printer driver issue would then require using a printer driver that has a similarly misused version of PCL5. Unfortunately, HP was never very forthcoming about the fact that its little laser printer didn’t really support PCL5 like it said it did in the first place, so obviously, they are not too forthcoming about which other HP printers supported on Windows 7 use pretend PCL5 either — if there are any.

So, I continue to search for a usable work-around for using my HP LaserJet on Windows 7 until either

  • a) I buy a new NON-HP printer to replace it. (HP is officially dead to me.)
  • b) I find a driver and Windows 7 printer settings combination that works.
  • If you would like to help out, please let me know in the comments or an email or a direct message to Best Hubris on Twitter if you come across information about which other HP printers use bogus PCL5 instruction sets, as well as any suggestions you might have for which (if any) Windows 7 settings or printer configuration options might help mitigate the issue of poorly implemented PCL5 command processing leading to errors inside the printer.

HP LaserJet 1012 Printer Driver Windows 7 Failure

My HP LaserJet 1012 printer has been giving me an error message on Windows 7 ever since the release candidate first came out. I got over it at first figuring that it would be fixed in the final release of Windows 7, but unfortunately, that is not what happened. Instead, HP will not support Windows 7 on lots of printers it sold in the years leading up to the release of Windows 7 despite having supported many of them on Windows Vista, and the great similarity between Vista drivers and Windows 7 drivers.

The HP LaserJet printer line is a popular line of decent quality laser printers used in homes and small businesses. In fact, I used to heartily recommend HP printers to anyone who asked, and plenty who did not, whenever the topic came up. The reason for this recommendation is that in all my years supporting computers and networks the one brand of printer that never had any consistent trouble or “unique” trouble (I’m looking at you Brother and your scored fusers from paper jams).

Not only that, but HP printers are well known within the computer industry for lasting a long time. I can’t count the number of times I walked into someone’s cubical and saw some dinosaur HP LaserJet 4 chugging away on some 40 page report. (The original HP 4 laser printer was rated at eight pages per minute and got a lot closer to five pages per minute if you were printing anything other than a very simple page of text.) It was with deep disappointment and eventual distain that I heard HP would not support the HP LaserJet 1012 on Windows 7 operating system. The printer had been discontinued just four years before Widows 7 was released, and was a very popular seller thanks to quality printouts and low price. It all adds up to tens of thousands or more HP LaserJet printer owners left hanging high and dry without printer drivers.

The worst part about all of this is that it takes a college intern a couple of days to turn out a basic printer driver. Of course, that is the problem. The LaserJet series came with bloated multi-function driver / software bundles that nobody really wanted, and that very few people used. However, HP would find it even tougher to justify not upgrading the whole driver bundle than to just abandon the printer altogether.

If you got to this post by clicking on another on this site, then you know that I have found a functioning work-around for printing on Windows 7 with an HP LaserJet 1012 by using an HP LaserJet 3055 PCL5 driver.

However, that is a very imperfect fix because eventually the printer buffers fill up on the 1012 and it starts printing

Unsupported Personality: PCL

error messages as a single line on a blank page of paper. This is particularly inconvenient, because other than the error message on the print out page, there is no other error message. In fact, on the computer that prints there is no error message at all. Unless you are sitting next to the printer and monitoring what comes out of it, you can end up with a dozen error messages printed out and have no idea that it is all failing. In addition to the wasted paper, this is a big problem for those times when you are printing out 15 different lists or a dozen webpages one at a time. It is not always easy to find them again. After all, if you printed them, you probably weren’t planning on having to get back there electronically.

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11 thoughts on “Unsupported Personality Error HP LaserJet 1012 Windows 7”

  1. Chris Tarjeft says:

    I fixed it by going to this page:
    http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/DriverDownload.jsp?prodNameId=1137937&lang=en&cc=us&taskId=135&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=1137934

    Downloading the HP Universal PCL5 print driver for my version of windows and then telling the installer to install the generic driver now and specifying the local port as Dot4.. It added a new printer called “HP Universal Printing PCL 5” no more errors.. 😉

    1. Steven says:

      What is your windows ver? Win 7? 32bit or 64bit?
      After I have installed LJ 3055PCL5, it seems fine until it printed out certain amount of paper. Then page started showing “Unsupported Personality PCL”. Any idea?

  2. Roman Hannesschläger says:

    I’ve got another funny story to share 🙂
    My LJ1012 is connected to a linux box that uses CUPS.
    If you print directly from applications like Word, Excel, AutoCAD or the browser it prints perfectly. But any PDF file I send just disappears – no message, no printout, nothing.
    I also tried the “print as image” option.
    Any idea about this?

  3. Geoff says:

    Thanks for the useful info!

    I got my HP 1012 working on Windows 7 (64 bit) using the Vista 64 bit driver for HP LaserJet 1010 Printer Series from HP.com
    The driver is called “HP LaserJet 1010/1012/1015 Host Based Driver” for Windows Vista 64 bit.

    cheers.

  4. Laevers says:

    I think I’ve found a fix that works. I was getting the Unsupported Personality: PCL message. But after trying this fix I have just printed a 17 , 18 and 5 page pdf file without getting the error message for the first time in months.http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Windows-7/hp-LaserJet-1010-driver-windows-7/td-p/1115411

    Post no. 3

    “hp LaserJet 1010 driver windows 7

    01-20-2010 06:18 AM
    I had the same problem with the Vista driver installed. Managed to fix it with the XP Drivers. HowTo:

    Printer should be offline and Automatic Updates disabled. Othervise Windows will automatically download drivers from the updates.

    1. Download the XP driver for HP Laserjet 1010. ( http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=306507&p… ).

    2. Go to Devices and Printers and click the Add Printer button.

    3. Click Add a Local Printer.

    4. Check Use an Existing Port: LPT1.

    5. Select Have Disk and Browse to the location where you have downloaded the XP driver. Select HP1010U.inf file.

    6. It will give you an error. It is because the local Printer spooler service has stopped. Go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services and in the list find Printer Spooler service and with the right click select start. Now go back to the window for installing the printer and click next. It will give you an error that a printer with the same name already exists. Click cancel, go to Devices and printers and refresh the page. You should find the printer with the name you gave. Now right click the Icon, select printer properties and in ports select Dot4.

    7. Turn on the printer. Windows should now find the driver for it.

    8. When installing the printer on the network you will get the error like in step6. Just restart Printer spooling service on the local machine and it will work.

    Cheerz!!!”

    Note: where it says Select HP1010U.inf I had a HPP1010P.inf file but it seems to have worked (on the third try but that’s probably down to my tiredness.)I had to do the dot4 step twice before it added the 1010 alongside the Laserjet1015 compromise driver which generated all the PCL messages. Maybe removing the 1015 driver first might have been better. If it’s still working next week I’ll let you know.

    1. spurlocktools says:

      I tried this fix, but at step 6 I could not get the print spooler service to start. Right clicking on “Print spooler service”, I see “start” is greyed out. Instead I clicked “Restart” but the progress bar only goes part way and aborts. Any idea what the problem is?

      THanks!

  5. Mo says:

    Hi, saw this searching for a suggestion for clearing a paper jam in a HP 1012 Laserjet. The jammed paper ripped, so I don’t have a grasping point to pull it out by. Got any ideas before I take screwdriver and hammer to it?
    Thanks, Mo

    1. WGHubris says:

      Pull out all the parts you can like toner, paper tray, and any feeder. Unfold a paper clip and see if you can get any of it to come out. Try needle-nose pliers on anything you can grab. Try feeding a thicker piece of cardstock to push out the paper if the printer will feed at all. Otherwise, yeah, start taking it apart. Start with the screwdriver. Leave the hammer until last 🙂

    1. WGHubris says:

      I have not heard of this working, yet. I know lots of people were using the Vista drivers when Windows 7 was in beta and then they stopped functioning when the Windows 7 release candidate was rolled out.

      I’d love to know if anyone has had success with this method.

  6. Gergo Viczian says:

    Thank you for this post, at least now I know the reason behind the seemingly erratic behavior: it wouldn’t print something, but after a “hard reset” it does. I actually got into the habit of power cycling the printer before every print job – and during the 2 seconds I wait after I turned it off, I swear I will never buy anything HP again 😉

    I could dump this printer and just buy something that has a decent Windows 7 driver, but I guess I’m too environmentally sensitive to throw out something that works perfectly – at least hardware-wise. I’m sure much more environmentally sensitive than self-proclaimed HP is…

    As a freelance IT consultant I also used to recommend HP, now I rather advise to buy Samsung.

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