One of the joys of moving to the US from Australia is the abundance of cheaper electronic equipment. I had always wanted to get a colour laser printer for the family, so when the opportunity came up to buy one here for under $400 I jumped at it. Apart from the obvious benefits of the printed images being crisper, side benefits are that the ink doesn't dry out (as there is no ink), , it has scanning and fax and network support built in…really great printer. So I got us the CM1312nfi MFP. Personally I think the “nfi” is a bit rude to add on the end but anyway…:)

Hardware wise its really good. Ill revise that comment…Its awesome actually, especially for the price, and probably the reason it won the PCMag editors choice award. Software wise it installed fine on Vista so when I upgraded our home machines to Windows 7 everything was fine. Printer drivers stayed fine as it was an upgrade and everything continued to work.

Recently though, I’ve had to clean install the machine…of course with Windows 7. The problem came the moment I tried to install the print drivers. HP’s installer just went mad and it told me I didn't have admin privileges. Except I did…and the installer was running elevated.


So figuring this was probably a UAC issue, I disabled UAC altogether and rebooted. No difference. Arrgh…

What to do…? I could tell HP all about it (who do you tell? Do I really want to be on a support line for hours to tell them they have an issue with a beta product?) though I figure they will probably fix this in due course once they do testing on it.

Now this nugget of advise will probably work with other misbehaving printers and devices that have installers that try to be a bit too clever for themselves when it comes to “improving the installation experience”….such as the above.

To get around it Ill put it into a few easy steps.

1. Let the Installer Extract!image

Nearly all installers extract the actual driver files you really want into a temporary location. When I ran the HP installer above it extracted the files into C:/HP_CM1312_USB_Express_Install. This is a good thing as you now have the driver files you want. Before you exit the installer, copy this whole directory to your desktop or somewhere handy.

(BTW – you notice how I didn’t make fun of the craziness of creating a temporary directory in the root of C:/?? Crazy. I am getting better at not making fun of other companies…really!)

2. Turn on the Printer. Obviously….

If you already did this and it couldn't find the drivers you'll need to go to step 3. Windows already knows about it and doesn't have any drivers.

If you did actually patiently wait and are now turning on your printer, as each device in the printer pops up, you can point it to the directory you copied on your desktop and it should now be able to install the printer. If this doesn’t happen, do step 3.

3. Manually Install the Drivers.

imageNow that the printer appears in device manager, you’ll see something like this in Device Manager (Computer Management). In my case I had trouble starting from the top of this list, so start with the bottom. Go into HP SCAN and now tell it to update drivers from the copied directory on your desktop. Repeat for each of these, finishing with the HP CM1312nfi driver itself.

4. You should be done. Pat yourself on the back.

Like I mentioned, there may be other instances of drivers that you’ll need to do this with. In my case, all my other drivers came down through Windows Update so the vast majority were fine. Exceptions like this are just so annoying…but can be fixed.