I have mentioned in this blog about the need for printer manufacturers to move away from supplying CDs or USB memory keys full of printer drivers with their printers. What I was wanting to see was the driver software being held in separate memory on the printer that is accessible as a USB Mass-Storage Device for direct-attached printers or through common network protocols for network printers.
At last, Hewlett-Packard has answered this need as far as Windows users are concerned with the LaserJet Pro 1560 and 1600 Series monochrome laser printers, one of which will be reviewed in this blog. The review printer which is the LaserJet Pro 1560 – a low-end direct-attached printer, was set up without me needing to find a CD in the box.
The setup experience went like this:
1. Once the printer was connected to my computer’s USB socket and to the power, Windows 7 discovered the printer and mounted an extra drive letter for that printer.
2. I then visited the extra drive and ran the setup file, whereupon the printer’s driver set was installed and I was offered the ability to print the Windows Test Page.
The networked versions allowed you to log in to the printer’s IP address from your browser, once you have printed the network information page, in order to download the driver software.
No mess, no fuss!
No need to worry about the printer setup CD anymore!
Points of improvement
Some improvements that I would like to see include a driver set for the Apple MacOS X Macintosh computers available on the “CD-free install” memory and that the printer’s “CD-free install” memory mounts as another disk on the Macintosh Desktop.
Another improvement would be to let Windows discover the driver set without any user intervention once the printer is connected to the USB port. This could then lead to true plug-and-play printing for this class of printer.
Furthermore, I would like to see this function made available in more of the consumer multifunction printers because the people who use these printers are more likely to end up with grief because they of driver-install issues.
The function can be augmented by allowing for driver update procedures to include in-field refreshing of the driver set available on the printer. This can lead to support for newer operating platforms or improvements that are provided in the current operating platforms.