Dysfunctional HP Tech Support & Missing Vista Drivers

This morning, after having checked the HP driver page for the 10th time in two months looking for a Vista driver for my 2600n colour LaserJet printer and finding nothing, I decided to try contacting someone at HP to see if I could get any answers about where their Vista drivers were for this printer. Vista has been available at retail for almost a month now, two months for many beta testers, and many new computers being sold come with Vista. Vista is here, people are using it, and they want it to work with their hardware. At first I tried their online chat tool, but despite entering in the proper product name and full serial number, it wouldn’t allow me into a chat with a tech, stating that my product was “not supported”. And this wasn’t a Vista-specific chat either, it was a general-purpose “talk to our techs”. I filled out the form with this comment:

“I’ve been waiting over two months for Vista drivers for my 2600n printer – where the heck are they? I’m an MSDN subscriber and have been running Vista Ultimate RTM for over two months, patientingly waiting for HP to release drivers for the 2600n printer I purchased. What’s going on? Where are the drivers? I keep checking the Vista driver page, hoping for an update, but one never happens… The fact that your online form doesn’t even have Vista as an option tells me a lot about how behind the times HP is. Also, your online chat tool is broken – it rejects “LaserJet 2600b” and “CBYC60G0LM” as the serial number – it says that the product isn’t supported and won’t let me start an online chat.”

I clicked SUBMIT, and saw this in my browser:

http://atwnt947.external.hp.com/snip
Error Occurred While Processing Request
Element EMAIL_ADDRESS is undefined in SESSION.

That’s not very helpful is it? I clicked back and submit again. This time I saw some additional information:

Please try the following:
Enable Robust Exception Information to provide greater detail about the source of errors. In the Administrator, click Debugging & Logging > Debugging Settings, and select the Robust Exception Information option.
Check the ColdFusion documentation to verify that you are using the correct syntax.
Search the Knowledge Base to find a solution to your problem.

Browser Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.0.04506)
Remote Address *.*.*.*
Referrer http://atwnt947.external.hp.com/snip
Date/Time 21-Feb-07 11:34 AM

At this point my blood was starting to boil a bit. I looked over the form and changed a couple of things – I had selected “Other” for OS since they didn’t have Vista listed, so I changed it to XP and tried again – this time, the form submitted successfully. Don’t they test their online forms to ensure that they work with all user-selected choices?

Here was the response I recieved less than an hour later. Props to HP for getting back their customers quickly, but check out the quality of the reply:

“On reviewing your mail, we understand that, you want to install the Vista driver for Color Laser Jet 2600 printer. Jason, I understand your concern. However, I would like to inform you that, this printer is compatible only with the operating systems listed below:

Mac OSX
Microsoft Windows 98 SE
Microsoft Windows 2000
Microsoft Windows XP

Vista is still not included in the supported and compatible operating system’s list. Our research team is working on it. Driver for this operating system would be released by July. However, you can try XP driver for it and check for the issue. Jason, please do check our website for updates. If you have any other query, then do contact us. We would be glad to assist you.”

That’s either a reply from out-sourced overseas technical support, or from someone in North America that didn’t get past grade eight in school. Either way, it’s not a satisfactory response. If a customer emails you asking about Vista drivers, telling him Vista isn’t supported and listing off the operating systems that are supported is just plain insulting. And if it really does take until July (!!!) to see drivers for this printer, my respect for HP will take a huge nose-dive. I was expecting to have to wait a few weeks for Vista drivers for most of my hardware, not a few months.

  • I have that same printer, the XP drivers do work after they crash the print spooler on install. They’ve had a very long time to get their act together, it is a very frustrating situation.

  • Here is what I wrote to HP recently:

    ———-

    I have an HP 2600n networked laser printer that has served me well. However, I am moving to Vista, and it seems that the drivers for this printer are non-existent. Vista has been released for months now, and other vendors have released drivers for their printers, so why hasn’t HP?

    If the drivers aren’t ready yet, then why is HP marketing the 2600n (the very printer that I have) as Vista compatible, when it clearly is not. Don’t believe me? Check your own page here:

    http://h20219.www2.hp.com/services/cache/307891-0-0-39-121.html

    This seems to be misleading advertising, at least, if not worse. All I want is for my printer to work under Vista, like so many other printers do at this point. I suppose I could just throw away the printer and go with another brand, but I like HP products and would like to stick with it.

    Oh, and please don’t suggest that I use XP drivers. One, that’s sloppy. Two, they don’t work.

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to your reply.

    ———-

    Their reply?

    ———-

    On behalf of Hewlett-Packard we apologize for the delay and difficulties you are experiencing. Your message has been forwarded to our Customer Escalation team who will review your case.

    Thank you,
    CEO Customer Relations

    ———-

    Hm…

  • Yeah – honestly, it’s AMAZING to me that HP still doesn’t have drivers for this printer…it pisses me off to no end to have this great new printer sitting here, completely USELESS at the moment. šŸ™

  • TomB

    Well how frustrating is this!!!! I just purchased an HP 2600N today and have spent all afternoon and evening attempting to communicate with HP (via India) regarding the fact that the printer installed great via my HP laptop running XP but doesn’t install correctly via my HP laptop running Vista.
    From the Vista machine I can ping the printer (using the cmd window) but I can’t send a test page via the printer preferences window. Can’t send print to it from any application that I’ve tried… IE 7, Thunderbird, Openoffice, TextPad, etc….
    The really frustrating issue is that Office Depot (where I bought it) had a “Vista ready” tag on the display printer. I asked two different reps in the store if it is truly Vista ready. They both assured me that it was…. Well, it’s NOT and this is now June.
    Sometimes I really wish IBM management would have had their act together and been able to make a go of OS/2.

  • Hey TomB – there are Vista drivers out now. Check this post out:

    http://www.jasondunn.com/hp-2600n-vista-driver-375

  • TomB

    Jason,
    Thanks for the note… I was finally able to get that driver package and get it to work. It turned out to be quite an ordeal. I wound up deleting all my pinter drivers and then installing them again. Not too bad since there were only six different printers and three vendors represented.

  • Waterfronsharon

    I had the same problem with HP and my printer software missing or having corrupted software for their wireless scanning. HP Photosmart Premium C309gm does not and will not scan wireless. That is why I purchased the “friggin” copier. Now I have to manually use USB and scan through Photo Gallery. It took me 7 hours to find something on the internet in reference to this.
    MANY HP equipment either has software of is not compatible to operating systems. They never state that on their products. I think the US Consumer Counsil should require this.

  • sharon

    Please give me step by step directions to apply FLASH onto my Vista Home PRemium. I am not getting any youtube or other downloads through IE8 or IE9 because of this issue.
    IĀ uninstalled IE9 because I was not having this issue before. But maybe it is the new update for FLASH that is giving me problems?
    IT is beyond frustrating…..I work in graphics and download everyday. 10% never make it through Gmail or through Microsoft Outlook or AOL.
    Ā