Beware HP Photosmart Premium printer software – access denied

November 22, 2010 | By | 7 Replies More

We brought home our new HP Photosmart Premium printer two days ago. It prints, scans, faxes and copies. Pretty cool. We installed the DVD full of software that came with the printer (and it was an immense installation). We tested the printer, but our new printer ate the copy paper. It chewed it up and ruined it. Bad start.

OK. Even good companies sometimes make defective products. It doesn’t mean that the design is bad. Sometimes it’s just an isolated bad machine. Therefore, I exchanged it for a new printer of the same model: HP Photosmart Premium printer. This one printed very nicely, including the printing of photos on special photo paper. Quite impressive.

That evening, I noticed that I could no longer delete files on my computer. A prompt popped up saying “C:\ is not accessible. Access is Denied.” I checked my file permissions in Windows and they looked to be in order. Even though Windows 7 indicated that I had full permission, I was not being allowed to move or copy or delete files. I could could use my files, however. Then I noticed that every time I started a program, the Windows installer popped up and caused a significant delay.

What was the last thing I did before these problems? I had installed my HP Photosmart Premium printer software–it is a long install, puzzlingly long.  But the printer worked and it seemed like too much of a coincidence to blame HP for this corrupted Windows system.

Bigger problem: How do I get back full use of my computer? I had a backup that was about 10 days old (I use ShadowProtect Desktop, which is excellent full metal backup/restore software).   My corrupted version of Windows 7 wasn’t allowing me to copy my newer files from my machine– I was denied access. I found, however, that Windows Easy Transfer software did allow me to save my current files (This is a utility that comes with Windows 7. It was still on my machine from my recent install of Windows 7–the installation of Windows 7 from XP is another separate frustrating adventure that sucked about 2 work days out of my life, though Windows 7 does seem to be an excellent platform) .   Bottom line with regard to the access denial problem: I was forced to spend a full day trying to get my computer back using my 10 day old restore plus the updated files I squeezed out of my machine.

As soon as I had my computer working again (and this required two hours with a computer consultant to figure out all of the various issues and spinoff issues —Thanks to Andy Wahl), I did a full metal-to-metal backup again on ShadowProtect. That was completed about 20 hours ago.

After I got home from work today, I decided to reinstall the HP Photosmart Premium printer. My mistake. Immediately after installation of that software, I again lost most of my permissions regarding my C drive. Exact same problem as before. Now I will need to set up a restore (after driving to work tonight, where I dutifully deposited my external backup drive this morning, trying to keep a copy off-premises). I will now lose several hours of productivity. I am angry at HP for putting out crappy unnecessarily complicated software loaded with unrequested promos.  Thank you, HP for locking me out of my own hard drive.

Beware to anyone buying the HP Photosmart Premium printer: Do not install the software that comes with your printer. Instead, Andy recommends that you go to the HP site and install only the basic drivers for printing/scanning. Or, if you decide to pop that tempting printer disk into your DVD drive, don’t do it unless you have a full system backup waiting in the wings.

I am now finished writing this post about the defective software that comes with the HP Photosmart Premium printer.   I’m hoping that I don’t need to write anything further about the defective software that comes with HP Photosmart Premium printer.  If you installed the software that came with your HP Photosmart Premium printer and it’s working, congratulations.  I hope that I can save others trouble with this post.

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Category: computers

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (7)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I have learned not to install modern "driver" disks, largely because of the "helpful" bloatware that they contain. The disks for my last few cameras are still in the wrappers. If the O/S can't find a driver online, then I use the O/S to look for the drivers on the disk, rather than letting the "easy" install program load my drive with tutorials (how to put paper in the printer) and "useful" tools such as Bluetooth printer adapters and 10,000 cute borders and such.

    That said, I find that HP and Compaq are worse offenders than Canon or Epson.

    Surely, there was a minimum or advanced install. It may have been labeled "Advanced" or "Professional" or some such. Those usually let you select not-to load up with all the junk that marketing could invent to fill up the disk.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Speaking of bloated software . . . I have now downloaded and installed the stripped down version of the software from HP's website. Lucky for me, the stripped down version hasn't wrecked my operating system. On the other hand, it amazes me that the stripped down version is 75 mb before extraction. My consultant said: "Hardware companies shouldn't try to write their own software."

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Erich, your consultant is wrong about hardware companies writing their own software. They are the best qualified to write the drivers for the hardware. What often causes problems though is the crapware included as a bonus.

    Also you should blame Microsoft Windows 7 for allowing the installer program to corrupt the access control lists. (or for relying on ACLs in the first place).

    Driver installers for printers do a lot more than install a driver. first, it verifies the integrity of the installer, extracts a setup program, which identifies the printer and extracts one of several driver files from the installer. it then copies the driver software to the appropriate location, and configures the driver.

    This last step involves futzing around with the registry, the most idiotic concept in computing history.

  4. Buy a Brother multi-function printer. I have found the HP printrs to be overrated and the cartdges overpriced.

    I bought a Brother 7840w a year ago and it works great. It was a Consumers Report pick.

  5. Strategy: establish a beachhead of practical usefulness. Extend the context of practicality with significant peripheral enhancements (enticements). Edit simplicity. Offer contextual solutions to validate expertise. Create complexity. Undermine critical path. Offer comfort. Sell assurance.

    In computing, we have entered the era of uber-complexity that results in benign acceptance of solutions manufactured by the "clouded" thinking of corporate strategists. Things only appear simple. So does E=mc2. The move to put most of the work on an interconnected network that grants us the assurance of blissful computing hides the nerve center of invasive DNA human network management that is today's cloud computing.

    Download, re-load, off-load. Rather than upload. A personal mantra of keeping the troubleshooting at home is worth lost productivity over the long haul. Stockholder interest in ROI demands complexity masked as simplicity for most organizations. Personal interest in RMI (retaining my independence) suggests I acknowledge the cost of complexity and pay for it.

    Simplicity isn't.

  6. Daniel Rose says:

    After installing the ‘full’ driver pack for my HP Photosmart B110 Series printer, I also suffered from the “C:\ is not accessible. Access is denied.” error. It was impossible for me, for example, to delete files from the desktop or download files through a web browser. However, I was able to navigate to folders within ‘C:’ such as ‘C:\Windows’ or ‘C:\Program Files’ by typing them into a Explorer address bar.

    The HP installer decides it is necessary to change the ‘Users’ security permissions for ‘C:’ (or presumably the drive that the HP software is installed to). This can be fixed easily without formatting, reinstalling, or performing any restores by completing the following steps:

    1) Click ‘Start’ -> ‘Computer’.
    2) Right-click ‘Local Disk (C:)’ and press ‘Properties’.
    3) Now select the ‘Security’ tab, click ‘Advanced’, and then press ‘Change Permissions’.
    4) Remove all ‘Users’ permission entries, ensuring that you DO NOT DELETE any of the ‘Administrators’, ‘Authenticated Users’ or ‘SYSTEM’ entries. For example, remove all entries of ‘Users (Dan-PC\Users)’.
    5) Now click ‘Add’, type ‘Users’ (without quotes), select ‘Check Names’, and press ‘OK’.
    6) Apply to: ‘This folder, subfolders and files’
    7) Check ‘Allow’ for ‘Traverse folder / execute file’, ‘List folder / read data’, ‘Read attributes’, ‘Read extended attributes’ and ‘Read permissions’. ** DO NOT CLICK APPLY THESE PERMISSIONS TO OBJECTS AND/OR CONTAINERS WITHIN THIS CONTAINER ONLY **
    8) Click ‘OK’ and ignore any errors about not being able to apply permissions to other folders – these should still be intact anyway (as it is still possible to navigate to folders within ‘C:’).
    9) Problem solved.

  7. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Daniel,
    The mere fact that a third party driver installer can dick around with user access privileges to the C drive is a testament to the overall insecurity of Microsoft Windows.Note also that the remedy you offered is well beyond the comfort zone of most Windows users and a large percentage of “Computer Techs” working for the big box stores.

    Microsoft supports an entire economic sector based on fixing the short comings of its products, and rakes in the dough through a sort of private taxation system by the various certifications training programs for programmers, users, and third party training professionals.

    I’ve been working with computers for over 26 years. I’ve seen malware on the install disks from well known companies and in this case I don’t mean the infamous Sony root kit .

    Linux can be just as frustrating, but in different ways. Linux doesn’t have the security problems found in Windows as employs a different security model that uncouples device access privileges from the device driver. In Linux and Windows, most printers use a common subset of drivers and the drivers use lookup tables to translate standard system print commands to the data streams understood by the printers, and installing most printers involves configuring a standard driver to use the right table for the printer. Windows keeps the configuration in the easily corruptible registry. Linux uses cascading orinter definition files. In Linux it can sometimes be difficult to track down which file the print systen is using for the printer.

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