Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HP Printer Installation Problems. Safe Mode To The Rescue!

My dad recently dropped his computer off at my house. Seems he was trying to install his new HP printer, and things went badly.
The HP drivers got about half way installed, and then things started going wrong. Now, when he booted up his computer, the HP drivers would try to continue the install, but fail at the same point, usually causing his computer to lag very badly, and then freeze. It's not the first time I've seen this problem with HP printer drivers. HP is bad for having a large and complex amount of software that comes with their printers.

My first recommendation when installing a new HP printer would be to go to the website and download just the basic printer drivers. For most people, this will be all you  need.

Second, and this is true for many more things than just bad HP printer installs, is SAFE MODE.
When you have a problem to fix in Windows, but it lags or freezes before you get a chance to try to fix or uninstall the problem, then you can boot your computer up in safe mode. Booting in safe mode will load only the drivers absolutely necessary for windows to run, allowing you to repair the problem without crashes. You do this by pressing F8 while your computer is going through the beginning stages of boot up, before the Windows loading screen comes on. I usually just start tapping F8 as soon as the monitor comes up and keep tapping it until you see the boot up screen. You'll be greeted with a screen asking how you'd like to boot your computer:
I usually choose safe mode with networking. This will load up windows with only the bare minimum needed to operate, but you'll still have internet access. You'll first see a bunch of text shooting by on a black screen. Don't panic, this is normal. After it's done, Windows will load. You will notice right away that things look different. This is because Windows has loaded with just the basic video drivers, causing your screen resolution to be decreased. Everything will look normal again when you reboot, other than possibly the placement of some of your desktop icons.
Now that you have booted up your computer in safe mode, you can do stuff without it crashing. This is the ideal time to uninstall your HP drivers.
I've also used safe mode to run virus and malware scans, defragment my hard drive or update and repair broken drivers. Once you've completed the tasks you needed, reboot your computer like normal, and volia! Problem solved! Install your basic HP printer drivers, and you're done.
So remember, before you give up and bring your computer into the repair shop to fix a bad driver install, try repairing it yourself in safe mode!

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