This evening I came home and decided to go through the chore of attaching my old scanners and printers to my family Windows Vista machine. I was ready to bid adieu to the family for the rest of the evening and resolve myself to the home office until dark.
A previous quick trip to the HP web site noted that drivers were available for my MFP at the office, an Officejet 6110, and I found in place the old somewhat long-winded instructions (download and install drivers, attaching the USB cable at a particular time, but not while the peripheral is on, and after the USB cable is connected to the PC...), a very simple instruction:
"The driver solution for this product is included in your Windows Vista operating system and is already on your computer. There is no need to download anything. Follow the steps below to quickly and easily get your product working with Windows Vista."
Installing the printer driver
Verify that the printer is turned on.
Connect the Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable to the printer and to the computer.
A Your devices are ready to use window might display on the screen. If the window displays and does not close automatically, close the window.
Print a test page to verify that the printer is working correctly.
And it was just that simple, complete in a matter of a few minutes. Installing the drivers for my laser printer at home was almost as easy (but Brother's drivers weren't as easily discovered by Vista as HP product drivers).
Surely, the installation procedure for the Scanjet 4670 document scanner would be more convoluted than that... and I'd booked the time off to handle investigating the hardware configuration, rolling back drivers and setting some arcane switches only accessible via the command line. You get the picture.
But throwing caution to the wind and walking the tightrope without a net (so to speak), I went ahead and connected the scanner directly to the USB port and what do you know...
It worked. All I did was plug in a cable and it worked. In Windows XP, it took the better part of 15 or 20 minutes when I first brought home the scanner... but now, with Windows Vista, I was scanning in less than five minutes. Once again, HP jumped through hoops for me as their customer.
There is a disclaimer on the HP site...
"This is the minimum driver required for basic WIA functionality. This driver enables scanning with the Windows Photo Gallery on Windows Vista or the Scanner and Camera Wizard on Windows XP. Scanning can also be done with a variety of 3rd party scanner enabled applications.
"You might find that some features are no longer available when using this basic driver. We are sorry to inform you that a full feature driver for Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will not be available for your HP product in the future. You can upgrade to an HP product that is fully compatible with Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition if additional features are necessary."
Well, I haven't run into any major issue or limitation. So far so good, the scanner works like a charm.
Kudos to HP and the Windows Vista team. Following the investment of a few minutes after dinner, all's well that ends well.