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HP c6180 Printer and Vista

Hp c6180 driver issues with Vista Home Premium

My wife has a Vista Home Premium laptop, and the HP C6180 Photosmart printer keeps disappearing from her available printers.  The only way I've found to fix the problem is to reinstall all the HP software. When I do this, I have to download the (large..507Msoftware from HP, or reinstall the printer (ONLY the printer, not the scanner) with the installation disk, as the drivers are not discovered with a "Windows Update" setting.  My guess is that is because HP doesn't like people to install only the printer driver, which would be easy, but they want folks to install all their crapware as well, so they are withholding the drivers from the on-line Microsoft printer database.  So keep your installation CD!  I've also found that unless I install everything on the CD or in the Full Version download (HP Customer Participation Program, HP Imaging Device functions, HP OCR SW, HP All-In-one SW, HP Photosmart Essential, HP Solution Center, HP Update, and HPSSupply via their recommended installation settings), I can't do something as simple as scan to a PDF!   Fricken GHETTO HP!  What is with all this crap I have to install?  All I want to do is print and scan to a PDF.  Is that so fricken hard that I have to install all your CRAP?

Yesterday, after Windows or HP did an update the HP c6180 device was gone again.  So I got out the installation CD to reinstall.  I was able to install the printer using the driver on the CD, but the the HP Solution Center (a program needed to scan from a computer) wouldn't find the HP device even though it printed fine.  I need the HP Solution Center for scanning, so this had to be fixed.

Since I had to reinstall everything, I wanted to start with a clean install.  So I went into the Control Panel and tried to remove all the crappy HP programs above.  This was my first mistake, as HP doesn't uninstall cleanly from the Control Pannel... you have to use their install program to uninstall as well.  Anyway, I forgot that, so I started with removing the Solution Center first and it said that it would remove the rest of the HP junkware.   I thought that was nice.  It automatically rebooted the laptop after "uninstalling" the programs (I hate that... No option to check what was uninstalled prior to the reboot).

After a reboot the Solution Center and HP Photosmart Essential, icons were still on the desktop, even thought I said to uninstall ALL HP programs previously.  As a matter of fact, when I went into the Control Panel, all the above programs were still installed!  So I started trying to uninstall them again--one by one.   I don't know if it was Vista or HP, but half of the programs wouldn't uninstall... Nothing happened after I clicked uninstall!  Reboot.  still there... Tried to remove through the HP installer and through the Control Panel... Still couldn't.  

I used Explorer to delete all the HP files I could on the hard drive, used Task Manager to kill the HP processes, and ran Msconfig to stop HP junk from starting at bootup.  Reboot.   Only 4 HP programs left.  The Control Program wouldn't let me remove them, so I deleted all the HP files from the hard drive manually, forcing their deletion.   Then when I went into the control panel and clicked on them, Windows recognized the files were gone and asked me if I wanted to remove the program icon from the Control Panel, which I did.  Reboot (much faster reboot without the HP crap).  Removed all the start menu programs and folders, and finally the laptop was HP-Free!

I inserted the HP installation CD, Still wouldn't install even running setup as admin!  Grrrrrr!  Then it hit me!  The drivers for Vista don't come on the CD, so I used the download Vista drivers from HP (the 163MB AIO_CDA_Full_Network_enu_nb file).  This ran, and I installed everything (like I knew I had to in order to scan to a PDF).  while it was installing, it incredibly had to download more files!  I guess 163MB is just the loader!  After about 10 minutes (at ~1MB/sec), it was done.  When I looked at my desktop I was surprised that the Solution Center, the only software I wanted, wasn't installed!  Grrrrr.  

So I ran AIO... Again.  The Solution Center wasn't in the software list.  WTF?  I downloaded and extracted the AIO... File again, making sure that I downloaded the full version (again, it was 160M.  Installed full version... Still no Solution Center!  Uninstalled all HP programs through the Control Panel again.  Reboot.  

So I went into the installer, and selected custom vs recommended, and I found out why it wasn't installing the software--because it said it is already installed!  Clearly it isn't.  Apparently when it wouldn't uninstall the HP programs and I deleted them from hand, it kept the registry settings that say it is installed.  Time for another system restore point!  

After the system restore,I tried various times of uninstalling and reinstalling the device through the HP AIO... Program above.  When I tried to install the Solution Center, it said it was already installed.  When I tried to uninstall it, nothing.  At one point it even quit finding the networked printer so it wouldn't even continue with the installation attempt!  Talk about frustrating!  

After a bunch of attempts to install, I found myself in the loop where HP wouldn't uninstall the Solution Center, because it said it wasn't installed, but wouldn't install it because it said it was already installed!  

The only recourse at this point was to revert to an old Acronis image of the computer, which involved backing up all the data I needed (emails, documents, ect), restoring the image, and putting all the email accounts and documents back.  The overall process took me about 9 hours of total work.   All for a stupid dropped printer.  

Lesson learned... Sucky HP + Sucky Vista = Really sucky experience... 9 hours wasted--this time alone.


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