A little while ago, my household needed a new multi-function printer, to cope with the intense printing and copying demands that primary school teachers place upon the beleaguered home IT equipment. My wish-list of functions was as follows:
- Network/wifi enabled (to print straight from the laptop)
- Double-sided printing (to save paper and labour)
- Cheap ink (natch)
To cut a long story short(er), the first one I found that really satisfied all requirements was the Hewlett Packard C6280. Now, I had promised myself that I would never buy another HP printer after the trials we had with the previous one, but it seemed that nothing else was really available that ticked the most important boxes, so I bit the bullet and ordered it.
The first one delivered was faulty – guess that should have been a sign. One replacement later and it was all up and running. Things seemed to be going well – it was great not having to crouch down by the printer, hunting for cables, or cajoling it into please not devouring half a stack of paper and subsequently choking on it. Individual ink cartridges didn’t really deliver much of a saving on ink costs which was a disappointment, and not doing double sided printing but inexplicably not copying was frustrating. But on the whole, not too shabby.
However, I soon noticed that our PC had slowed to an absolute crawl. Task Manager showed that the CPU was constantly at 100% usage, with about 11 instances of svchost.exe running! I searched the internet for weeks, trying to find out what could be wrong. I disabled all unnecessary services to no effect. I had resigned myself to a full reformat and clean XP installation, when I tried one more thing… and lo and behold, I found that HP was to blame.
It seems that the “HP Network Devices Support” service has serious flaws. It keeps checking for the printer on the network – and checking, and checking, and checking… eating up your CPU constantly. The solution? Change the service from “automatic” to “manual” startup, as follows:
Go to Start > Run > type in “services.msc”.
Scroll down and right click on “HP Network Device Support” service.
In the Startup pulldown menu, change “Automatic” to “Manual”.
Click Apply and close.
That finally sorted the CPU usage issue, and my PC began behaving properly again! Since it now appeared to be worth using for basic tasks once more, I thought I’d have a go at scanning some pictures in using the blighted HP device. Surely that would work, right? Wrong. Hp’s own scanning software refused to start, preferring to crash the PC. And using the TWAIN import function within other programs didn’t work, either. I had about given up attempting to get any useful functionality out of the C6280 beyond printing, when I noticed the annoying status monitor in the system tray, performing its usual retarded antics of telling me the printer was connected when it wasn’t, or vice versa, and failing to supply me with any meaningful information whatsoever. I did a bit of research, and found that by disabling hpqtra08.exe, it would no longer load at startup and annoy me. And lo and behold, all of a sudden TWAIN scanning started to work…
HP software. What a load of old crap. I can’t believe that it caused so many problems for me, and that the only way to get the product working properly (not to mention un-crippling my PC!) was to disable most of the bundled software!