Plug and Gag: hardware that thinks it’s software?

These days nobody is surprised to see a software product expect tens or even hundreds of free Megabytes on the disk – a far cry from the frugal eighties, when entire operating systems would fit on a floppy or two, but this is life and we accept it philosophically. But when a piece of Hardware makes similar expectations, I begin to be annoyed. And increasingly, they do.

For example, I recently installed for a friend a new printer, the Hewlett Packard Deskjet HP-F2280 printer/scanner/copier. I put the CD-ROM that came with it into the drive, and then had to stick around for more than 15 minutes, and interact with a zillion dialogs, while the product installed an endless stream of stuff on the hard drive. Fifteen minutes for what ought to be the installation of a device driver?!?!!

Leaving aside the question of speed – this computer was running at over 2 GHz, so I’d expect it to need 15 minutes to solve massive mathematical problems, not to copy some silly software from a CD – there is the question of manners. It is not good manners to sell someone a printer, and then to blast hundreds of megabytes of software onto their hard disk, without so much as a pretty please. And HP has the nerve to claim in the System Requirements that you need “450 MB available hard disk space” to install the printer under Windows XP. For Vista, you need 700MB.

Think about it: 700 Megabytes? 700 MB is enough to store all the text of the Britannica; it’s the sort of space you’d expect for a complete development environment, or for a powerful video editing program. But a printer?!

Sheer Chutzpah, that’s what it is.

4 Responses to “Plug and Gag: hardware that thinks it’s software?”


  1. 1 Tim

    HP’s are notorious with that stuff. All the bloatware about using their Print services, the control panels & status boxes, and who knows what else before the simple driver is loaded.

    FYI, I do believe you can extract the several hundred MB install file and simply point the Windows “Update driver” function to one of the folders where it extracted. That way it just loads the driver. It might be a bit more complicated with a multifunction unit though, as you need the scanning & other functions enabled.

  2. 2 Nathan Zeldes

    Yep, HP does that big time. Thanks for the interesting workaround, Tim!

  3. 3 abalastow compendium

    Hp has on their website a ~66MB universal driver installer. I still think it should be a couple of dll/inf/sys file at a total of <1MB.

  1. 1 Plug and Gag, Take 2 at Commonsense Design

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