HP needs to cut out the printer crapware

Opinion – I bought a nice little all-in-one HP printer earlier this week, it’s a member of the Photosmart C4500 series. Why did I buy HP? The cartridges are easier to get.

But while the printer is a nice little thing, the CD that comes with the software contained several bad things too many.

OK, it’s my fault really. The wise thing to do would not have been to bung the CD in the drive and let it get on with the task. First of all, the disk took forever to install all sorts of crapware on my machine. That wouldn’t be so bad, but the installation failed after 45 minutes of whirring away – it came up with a message saying it couldn’t install the USB drivers because they were unsigned.

Yeah, I know, you get that little dialog box with Windows XP that says something to the effect of go ahead and run this software anyway. Well it didn’t come up with a dialog box like that. It just failed.

But not before it had installed all sorts of stuff onto my desktop and into the start taskbar – it’s my continual goal to prevent stuff getting in there because it doesn’t half slow up startup having all these not so helpful things clocking time away when you switch your machine on.

What sort of stuff did it install? Well, there was a friendly little icon inviting me to shop, shop and shop again with HP. There were utilities I didn’t need and didn’t want cluttering up my machine. Simple is always better.

So I made it all go away and instead allowed Windows XP to find all the stuff by itself, only inserting the HP CD when it needed to find a driver.  Hey presto, everything works just fine now.

Like I said, I ought to have known better than to just bung in the CD and hope for the best. I’ve used a PC since the early 1980s. But I rather suspect that if you have no clue whatever and you’re Joe or Jane Public, your PC will be as slow as wandering through treacle and you’ll never know why.

All in all, the install, the de-install and the clean re-install meant it took something like an hour and three quarters to get the printer working. It’s my own stupid mistake. But in trying to be too “user friendly”, HP needs to take some of  the blame too.