Windows 7 Inside Track: Printer, Scanner, and Fax Installation

By William Stanek
October 27, 2010

ws.png(pdf download) Let's embark on what I'd like to call "Adventures in Printer, Scanner, and Fax Installation." Last Thanksgiving, I did something I rarely do: I went shopping on Black Friday. Picked up some great buys on USB flash drives, SDHC cards and a fantastic deal on a HP Officejet All-in-one. By now installing new devices, hardware and even entire systems is old hat around my house. One of my kids usually does the dirty work. Ah the benefits of the life of IT gurus in the making... Not really but I'm sure you know how it goes. ;-)

The point is that the little experiment in All-in-One installation took a few interesting turns and the process to complete the installation may help you as well. Set up of the All-in-One itself was pretty easy. Pull the machine out of the packing box. Put the pieces together. Start pulling off the blue tape holding things down. Pulling off one bit of blue tape opened the ink bay so the ink cartridges could be inserted, but the machine needed to be powered on for it to go into cartridge insertion mode.

When the machine was turned on, the display prompted for input language and then location. Easy enough for just about anyone. Most of the time. Right?

After inserting the ink cartridges and closing the door, the display prompted to insert paper into the paper tray so the machine could print out a cartridge alignment sheet. Once this was printed, the device prompted to open the scanner door and insert the sheet that had just been printed. The device then aligned itself.

Quite a few steps to get through the setup but lots of good prompting. No more prompts after that though, so what was next to do? Well, the device is a wireless printer, scanner, and fax. Printer and scanner set up were done, so next up connect the phone line so the fax could be used. The fax didn't share lines with a phone or other device in the room so connecting the phone line was easy. Connect the included phone line to the Ext 1 jack on the device and then plug the other end into the wall. Snap. Snap.

And that concluded the basic device setup. There was a lot more to it than it seemed. These devices seem to be getting more sophisticated all the time.

So after basic setup, the All-in-One was good to go, except for the printer software, the wireless features, and the fax. The device comes with an installation CD, so insert the CD, run setup and go right? Well, almost, but not exactly. Follow the prompts and then uh-oh. "Dad, it says it doesn't run on this version of Windows." Huge problem? Real reason the device was so cheap? No, not really.

Start the browser. Visit the manufacturer's web site. HP in this case. Click the "Support & Drivers" option. Follow the steps. Step 1, specify that you want to download software and drivers. Step 2, enter the product name and number. Click Go. Select the operating system, which in this case is Windows 7 64-bit, click the appropriate download link, and then follow the prompts to install the software.

Since the device is wireless, and not yet connected to the wireless network, you need to connect the device directly to your computer using the supplied USB cable to work through the setup. Simply plug in the cable when prompted and Windows 7 will do the rest.

When the wireless network setup prompt appears, select your wireless network name from the list provided or enter the wireless network name if you have a hidden network that doesn't broadcast the name. Next, enter (or copy and paste in) your wireless key. Follow the prompts and all should be good--most of the time.

After the software installs, you'll next proceed through the fax machine setup. Your answers in this phase configure the hardware settings on the fax, including the fax configuration, the fax phone number and the name used in fax headers.

When you complete this process, the fax itself is configured, but there's still one important step remaining. That step is to set up the digital fax, or Fax-to-PC feature, using the option provided in the software. Setting up the digital fax allows you to receive faxes directly to your computer.

So there we are with a configured wireless Printer, Scanner, Fax machine complete with digital faxing capabilities. After basic setup and installation of the printer software, the wireless features, and the fax, the All-in-One was good to go and running on Windows 7. Setting up the Fax to PC (digital fax) also provided Scan to PC (digital scan). So there we were with wireless everything... All was good, right?

How did the device documentation do in this case? Pretty good: 4 pages on the basic setup, 12 pages on the wireless setup, and 7 pages on the fax setup. A lot of help, but not always easy to follow.

Missing was a master numbered list (that could have been only 1 glossy page with pictures but would have tied the entire process together).There were lots of procedures and they weren't necessarily all connected together in clear fashion. Plus, the actual processes were much simpler than the setup documentation made it seem, as you've seen if you've followed the process in the previous discussions.

In this case, an additional gotcha was encountered during setup. The software said device installation had failed and the computer needed to be restarted so the software could be uninstalled. On the support site, the driver page had instructions for what to do if this happened. Normally, that's a blessing, but this time it was a mixed blessing. The instructions said to use Devices And Printers to complete the installation. In Devices And Printers, you were supposed to click Add A Printer and follow the steps.

The problem is this: Set up installed the printer itself properly along with the wireless and most of the related software. Restarting the computer didn't actually initiate any uninstall process. It was only the fax/scanner part of the process that had failed. My solution to this was simply to re-run the setup software and this allowed full installation of the management software and completion of the fax/scanner setup part of the installation process. When this finished, the appropriate printer, fax/scanner devices were available and everything was set up.

However, the All-in-One wasn't necessarily configured exactly as I'd've liked and it certainly wasn't optimized at this point either. So where and how to do this... Hmm...
This particular All-in-One is from HP. After installation, there computer has an HP folder with all the software goodies (if you've installed the complete software and not the drivers only). This includes:

  • HP Document Manager, which is similar to Windows Fax And Scan
  • HP Solutions Center, which provides access to the device for management
  • Reconfigure Network Settings, which allows you to reconfigure networking by connecting the device via USB.


You use HP Document Manager to:

  • Start and manage scans.
  • View faxed or scanned documents
  • Convert faxed or scanned documents to editable text
  • Send selected documents as email attachments
  • Fax or print selected documents

As I said, it's very much like Windows Fax And Scan. HP Solutions Center was what I wanted to work with next, however. HP Solutions Center is the dashboard for the All-in-Ones.

The Home page, shown in the figure below, provides the current status of the device and the graphical display of ink levels. It also provides quick access to scan, fax and conversion features.


The Settings page, shown in the figure below, gives you good control over the device settings:

  • Scan Settings allow you to control what the front panel Scan button does as well as what the Solution Center scan button does.
  • Printer Settings allow you to configure printer settings. The available Printer Shortcuts provide collections of saved print settings that you can select whenever you print.
  • Printer Toolbox allows you to access test, diagnostic and alignment tools.
  • Fax Settings allow you to configure personal information, fax forwarding, digital fax and ring settings.
  • More Fax Settings allow you to configure speed dialing, re-run fax setup, access the fax log and more.
  • Network Settings opens the web management interface for the device, which includes a Networking tab. On the Networking tab, you can configure automatic or manual IP and DNS settings and also modify the wireless networking details.
  • Other provides access to auto prompt settings, HP update and usage data settings.

Lots to optimize as you might imagine. For starters, I went through the fax configuration. Some fax and other settings, however, can only be configured using the front panel display on the device itself, including the fax dial speed, which I knew I wanted to modify from Medium to Fast.

Thanks for reading! Hope these posts help you work better and smarter with All-in-Ones.
William R. Stanek

Note that this is excerpted from a blog. Send comments or corrections to williamstanek at aol dot com

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