On Saturday we experienced a momentary electrical power outage. They happen occasionally, and are little cause for concern except with regards to the desktop computer. And even that forced reboot doesn’t cause too much angst since most of my work is done in Word, which recovers files readily.
But this time, when Windows was repainting my desktop icons, a “Found New Hardware” window popped up.
“Stupid Windows,” I thought. “There’s no new hardware, and you’re acting so proud of yourself for finding it—like you sought diligently. Ha!”
I expected the notice to go away as the operating system realized its “Oops!” But no. The window informed me that it had found a “HP OfficeJet Reflash” and wondered if I had the appropriate software and drivers to make it operate.
I turned on my printer—an HP inkjet machine, connected via USB—and all the lights on its control panel flashed rapidly in alarming fashion. I turned it off and unplugged the USB cable from the computer, waited a minute, and plugged it back in. My computer went through a paroxysm of beeps and boops... and then froze. As in — locked UP. No keyboard or mouse input had any effect. I had to power down, and then back up.
Then commenced hours of frustration. If I booted my computer with the printer USB cable plugged in, Widows proudly announced its new hardware find. If I plugged it in AFTER the machine was all booted up, the operating system froze completely.
By the way, my desktop machine takes about 5 minutes each and every time to boot up completely... But that’s another story.
I checked the HP web site. Nothing. But then a live chat with a tech support rep led me through a complete download of new drivers, new printer software, and a help file telling me how to manually change my Windows registry settings. I did all of that. I manually UN-installed all the old HP software, files, registry settings, and so on. Do you think ANY of that did any good?
Of course not. (And each separate install and change required a system re-start.) Grrrr.
All of that activity occupied much of Saturday afternoon and evening. I went to bed very frustrated; sure I would need a new printer.
Then, on Sunday morning, I got smart. I Googled “OfficeJet Reflash” and found a Q&A discussion thread on some forum web site. Someone else had experienced the exact same problem and asked what to do about it. Guess what the answer was. Go on; guess.
Unplug the prnter power cord, wait a minute, and plug it back in.
Okay, I tried that. When I plugged the power cord back in, even with the power button off, several of the control panel lights flashed a time or two, then went dark. I turned ON the power button, and all the lights and controls looked normal. I plugged the USB cable back into the computer, and Windows proudly announced to me that it had just found “New Hardware” which it identified as an HP InkJet Printer!
For some reason, even though I had downloaded and installed 389 MB of updated software and drivers from HP’s web site, Windows was unable to find the correct software to operate this “new” printer it had found. I had to use the CD that came with the printer, and then go back to HP’s site and download the new software AGAIN! (Thank goodness for broadband!)
By Sunday evening, all was back to normal. No out-of-pocket expense, just most of the weekend wasted.
In the background I could hear the CONSP*RACY laughing at me. I’m sure of it.