Thursday, October 13th 2016

HP Firmware Update Reverses Non-Original Ink Lock

With the cost of original printer ink sometimes being more expensive than equivalent amounts of rare metals - just consider that the average $35 ink cartridge holds between 10 to 20 milliliters of liquid - it isn't uncommon for users to resort to non-original alternatives, which sometimes cost less than half of their counterparts.

After last September's rollout of a firmware update that effectively impeded the use of non-original ink cartridges on their Officejet line of printers - to considerable user outcry - HP has now issued another firmware update which effectively reverses the previously imposed lock. Ironically, while the firmware update that imposed the lock was automatically installed on user's systems, the same isn't the case with this reversal, with users having to download and install the appropriate firmware by themselves.

In a blog post entitled "Dedicated to the best printing experience", the company goes on to say that it reserves itself the right to use security features which "protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working."
Original cartridge authentication is done through an original HP security chip, which is checked against security systems embedded on the printer so as to confirm the cartridge's authenticity. The company itself admitted that "A cloned product with an original HP security chip will work," and that "HP's dynamic security recognizes refilled and remanufactured supplies that contain the original HP security chip."

In the same blog post, HP apologized for what it calls bad communication on its part, vowing to make improvements on that area. Even so, the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) doesn't seem to consider this apology enough, having requested for a public commitment from the company to never again use its software update process "to distribute anti-features that work against [HP] customers' interests."

In the meantime, users of the Officejet line of printers not only have to go through the hoops of reversing the firmware update, but also remain wary of any eventual future update that might break non-original cartridge compatibility - again.
Sources: HP Newsroom, EFF
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13 Comments on HP Firmware Update Reverses Non-Original Ink Lock

#1
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
So HP continue to be underhanded even when forced to retract this anti-consumer feature.

I think I'll stick to another brand that doesn't do this thanks.
Posted on Reply
#2
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
I don't even buy ink printers, and I advise everyone else not to buy them. Buy a laser printer and be done with it.
Posted on Reply
#3
Jhelms
I have to agree - I am DONE with ink printers. Done with the issues, expired ink, line clogs, head cleanings or replacements, ink mysteriously being used when the printer is not in use... What a mess. Once I went to a nice color laser, I would NEVER look back.
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#4
slozomby
amazing what a ton of bad press will do...

"Ironically, while the firmware update that imposed the lock was automatically installed on user's systems, the same isn't the case with this reversal, with users having to download and install the appropriate firmware by themselves."

what a d@#$ move
Posted on Reply
#5
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
newtekie1
I don't even buy ink printers, and I advise everyone else not to buy them. Buy a laser printer and be done with it.
Yes, quite. I've only ever bought mono lasers myself.
Posted on Reply
#6
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
qubit
Yes, quite. I've only ever bought mono lasers myself.
Personally, I have a color laser that I rarely use, and a mono laser with auto-duplex that I use all the time.
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#7
Divide Overflow
I've seen laser printers go thru similar issues with third party supplies.
F*ck HP.
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#8
laszlo
this printing industry shall be forced to design printers which can use inter-brands compatible cartridges without limitations
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#9
lorraine walsh
when is a company going to come along and offer an honest printer with easy to re-fil universal cartridges?
Posted on Reply
#10
Chloe Price
This is so stupid BS. Well, if I ever need a printer, I won't take even a piss to HP's side..
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#11
Prima.Vera
How much on average is a color Laser printer for home use?
Posted on Reply
#12
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
It depends. My Samsung C410W was $90. But that was an Amazon Black Friday deal. You can usually pick up a color laser for home use in the $150-200 range.
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#13
sutyi
We have an Officejet 7500A E910 in the office for the occasional A3 printing. Printer arrived, we assembled it, the original printerhead gave out on the 4th calibration page, not kidding.

Also had one instance where I've been printing a multiple page text document an it looked like black ink had ran out. So I checked the ink levels on the machine and it was half full. How the earth does the printerhead dry-in or get clogged mid printing? Bloody amazing. After cleaning it with some alcohol wipes it worked again.

The inside of our printer after a year of usage looks to be coated in like a thin layer of pink ink mist as best described.
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