Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peripheral Woes : : Anne McAllister

Peripheral woes, I am here to tell you, are not peripheral.

They may be 'peripheral' to a computer, but they need to work or Bad Things Happen.

Bad things are happening here. Or, rather, Good Things are not happening.

For four and a half years, my printer never let me down. It was right there, ready to print, copy and scan day in and day out. As long as I remembered to buy it ink and keep it full of paper, it was happy. And so was I.

Then I did the unthinkable. I bought a new computer.

This was not a capricious decision. I needed a new computer. The old one was S.L.O.W. It was stuffed with files, and it made noises no self-respecting computer should ever make. The minute I turned it on, it sounded as if it had a serious respiratory disease. It wheezed. It groaned. Its fan went wonky. I expected it to die at any second.

So I retired it and got a new one.

The old one is now resting comfortably on the floor of my office and a flash-bang whiz-kid of a computer has hustled along to take its place.

So far the new guy on the block is doing a great job -- with one exception. It can't run my printer.

Well, no, that's not true. It prints just fine. It copies perfectly.

But it can't scan to save my life. Or its own.

I've downloaded it new software. I've installed everything perfectly -- the online guides tell me so. And then when I try to scan, the hourglass just spins and spins and spins. And if I question what is happening, it says, "Software not installed." But then if I go to install it again, it says, "Software is already installed."

I have been saying several four letter words.

I have not said them to customer service because the printer is so long out of warranty that I'm sure they will laugh at me for even expecting it might work.

So, I need your help.

I either need better advice on how to get my scanner to cooperate (while still making sure my printing and scanning functions work), or I need to get a new printer.

Any advice on the former or suggestions on the latter?

If I have to get a new one, it will be an all-in-one like my old one. I don't have room in my office or my life for dedicated anything at the moment.

It would be nice if I could network it to my laptop and my husband's computer. It would be lovely if it were fairly fast. And if ink didn't cost an arm and a leg. And it was reliable. And if customer service was actually that -- service.

What's been your experience with your printer/copier/scanner peripheral? Does yours fax, too? Do you wish it did anything else? Like washed the dishes and mopped the floor?

Hmmm. Boy, is that a tempting thought!

Anyway, I really would appreciate your advice. If you have a particular brand to recommend, please tell me. A model? I'm all ears. One to stay away from at all cost? I really want to know that, too.

To say thanks I'll send a copy of one of my recent books to five people who make suggestions. I'd send you the newest one, Hired by her Husband, except I don't have my author's copies yet. So it could be The Virgin's Proposition or one of the other Savas-Antonides books.

Give me your opinion on printer/copier/scanners and I'll put your name in the drawing. Then check back on Friday and see if you've won a copy. If so, please send your snail address to me using the "contact Anne" tab on the right hand sidebar of my blog .



Laurie said...

We have an HP1310. I've never had a problem with it . We've had it about 5 years now. It does it all... scans, prints, copies. I'd highly recommend it!

Mary said...

I am having some of the same problems you are having. My computer decided to stop working and thanksfully my daughter's boyfriend knew how to fix the computer by installing an entire new operating system he just happened to have and a few new replacement parts he had on hand...he works on computers as a side job...How wonderful is that?

But now my printer won't work because my computer won't recognize it and we can't get it to work. I will copy if I manually use the printer but that's it. UGG.

I loved that printer, I use a Dell Printer, copier, scanner..would be nice if it worked but It looks like I might have tog et another one.

Or find someone who knows how to make my computer recognize it.

Christina Hollis said...

All I had to do to get a scan out of my old printer was to stick something on the plate and select 'Scan'. Job done.
I now have an HP Photosmart. Landing men on the moon requires fewer keystrokes and less technical know-how. My (systems analyst) husband took a while to figure it out so he now does it, ha.

ev said...

All of ours are HP All-in-Ones. They do everything, including fax. I seldom have a problem and when I do it's because of a program such as Nuance PDF, which I use in place of the ridiculously overpriced Adobe. It will occasionally change my printer settings to the ones for the program and I just go back in and fix it.

Did you make sure that your preferences are set to the correct printer?

I have an HP that I take to our local sci-fi con that I do reg for every year and it hasn't let me down.

Prices are really good on new ones and if you can afford it, I would take that route. I haven't played with them, but the Kodak ones are supposed to be good and have reasonably priced ink. Mine has 5 color cartridges which can be expensive but I think they last longer than one that has three colors and you have to replace everything at once.

A new one would probably also be easier to network and most of them come with bluetooth wireless printing, which I am sure is in your new computer too. I love being able to print from my laptop without hooking it up.

I have also had very good luck over the years with Canon printers.
I think it depends on what you are looking for- photo quality? size? Colors? Compare ink prices too when you are looking at them if you do.

Anne McAllister said...

Laurie, thanks for the recommendation. If you've had yours for 5 years, they probably aren't still selling it. But I'll take a look and see what's comparable and toss it into the consideration mix.

Mary, yes, we do have similar problems (except for my computer is new!). Pay attention to all this advice I'm being given. You might get some hints, too.

Christina, I don't suppose your systems analyst husband would like to trek across the pond on a daily basis, would he? No, I didn't think so. Ah, well.

Ev, yes, I did make sure I was using the right printer (always have to check that because it defaults to something else these days). Thanks for your suggestions. I'll keep them in mind. I have a Canon camera, so I might go that way, though I've always had good luck with HPs. I don't want the ink to cost an arm and a leg, and I want it available, so I need to be sure I can readily access an ink supply.

Thanks everyone for suggestions. Please keep 'em coming!

Nas Dean said...

I had Canon for ever. And I use to refill the ink but lately I bought a new 3 in 1 HP. Everything works fine but it doesn't like me to refill. It has its own mind which I don't like as it gives message no ink even if I have just refilled! I have thought a new way, next I will refill before it gets empty, then I want to see what message it gives!

Joanna St. James said...

hp officejet 4500 wireless it does everything and is wireless so u can scan and send it to any device or print from a different room it is an amazing toy.

chey said...

I'm having at least one of the same problems you are. After I got a new computer, I haven't been able to get the multifunction printer to scan.

Anne McAllister said...

Nas, thank you. I am considering the Canon. But I know that HP is at least reasonable on ink costs. I haven't ever tried the 'refill' approach so I can't speak to that.

Joanna, thanks for the endorsement of the hp officejet 4500. I'll take a look at it. Scanning is a big thing here because I do a lot of research that I like to get scans of -- and original historical documents as well. So the scanner is really important to me.

Chey, welcome to the club! I wonder what the problem is. Someone today suggested that I check and make sure it is the one highlighted on the control panel just in case the computer thinks it's using another printer. I thought I had, but I guess I should make sure.

Linda Henderson said...

I wish I had a good suggestion for you. I just bought a new computer in September and my old printer won't work with it, so right now I'm minus printer. I haven't made up my mind what kind to get yet, my new PC is a Dell. All I know is I want one that I can afford the ink cartridges. Although Walgreens refills cartridges so I could always use them. My daughter says they do a lot of them, she works there.

Anne McAllister said...

Linda, sorry you're in the same boat I am. My new PC is a Dell, too. But I am not crazy about Dell printers. My husband's printer is a Dell and it needs new cartridges a lot and they are more expensive than my HP -- and the printer is slower.

I really liked my old HP. I wish I could get it to work!

SiNn said...

ive always been an Hp fan really is what i do when i buy one sadly its almost cheeper to buy a new one everytime u run out of ink then it is to replace the ink in them now adays

Denise said...

Hi Anne! Sorry about your scanner woes! =( A few years ago, I had a problem hooking up my computer, which had Windows Vista on it, to an older printer that I owned. My dad told me it had something to do with Vista missing certain drivers, but I'm guessing you're not having the same problem since your computer is new so it probably has Windows 7 on it. According to my dad, Windows 7 doesn't have the same driver problems that Vista did. I would definitely suggest Googling your computer's model number and your printer's model number together to see if anyone else has had the same problems, and to see if they were able to find a solution. If not, I have a Canon all-in-one that's been dependable, but it's older so I don't know if it's available anymore. But the Canon PIXMA MX870 Wireless Printer seems to have pretty good reviews, overall.

Good luck!

Anne McAllister said...

SiNn, Sometimes I feel that way about the cost of ink, too! Hoping I'll find a printer I can afford to maintain!

Denise, Thanks for your input. I've checked the driver issue and I did have to download new ones, which I did, and then the other bits all worked -- but not the scanner. Thanks for telling me about your Canon. I'm not sure yet which way I'm going, but I'll probably end up with a new one -- and will give my old one to one of my sons who still runs Vista on his (it seems to work with Vista).


Anne McAllister said...

Mitch and Micah, my two golden retrievers, take turns picking winners whose names I put on little pieces of paper with treats wrapped in them (they LOVE contests!).

So they have picked the following winners of a copy of one of my books:
Joanna St James
Nas Dean

If you could go to my blog ( and click on the "Contact Anne" link in the sidebar to the right, and send me your snail mail address, I will send your book.
It may take until after Dec 1 for me to get them mailed (depending on how quickly I hear from everyone) because I'm going to be out of town for about 10 days and Mitch and Micah will be holding the fort (with the dogsitter. The dogs love the dogsitter, too). But going to the post office is not on her list of duties.

Thanks so much for all the help and advice, everyone. You've made my decision process much easier.

Mary said...

Thanks so much, Anne. I'll send that info to you right now. :)