Saturday, October 1, 2011

HP LaserJet PCL Errors and Driver Availability

My primary printer for the past 10 years has been a trusted Hewlett-Packard (HP) LaserJet 2200D, with an added network adapter making it the equivalent of a 2200DN. 12,600 pages later, it is still working like new (though recognizing in a shared office environment, this same print volume would probably be used within a fraction of a year.)

After recently completing a Windows 7 x64 reinstall, I installed the latest driver linked to from the product support page, which is the Universal Print Driver (UPD), version 5.3.1. Interestingly, the "Previous version" column on the download page is empty - and I was unable to find any archive of driver downloads on HP's site.

This wouldn't have been a problem - except for having the following printed in place of the expected output whenever I attempted to print:

PCL XL error

        Subsystem:  KERNEL

        Error:      UnsupportedProtocol

        Operator:   0x0

        Position:   0

Fortunately, I still had the last known-working version of the driver saved, 5.0.3.37 from December 2009. This worked, but now I was curious as to if this was an issue new to the 5.3.1 drivers and if there were still other updates I could be benefiting from.

Kudos to HP for still releasing drivers for a 10-year-old product, and for the concept of a universal driver. However, these versions shouldn't replace existing ones on the product support page - especially if there isn't at least minimal testing with the related product to ensure that it still works.

From HP's Readme for the HP Universal Print Driver v5.3.1.10527:

Each release is a full release of the product for all printer description languages for both 32bit and 64bit platform. Version history of UPD builds released on CD-ROM or posted to www.hp.com/go/upd.

Unfortunately, there is nothing visible at www.hp.com/go/upd for previous versions of the drivers. Even after searching HP's FTP site, I couldn't find any "official" archive of the UPD driver for versions prior to 5.3.1. However, I did find copies elsewhere on the Internet, and here are some details of each that should be useful to anyone else trying to find the same versions. Note that these are for Windows x64, PCL 6 only:

VersionFile NameSize (bytes)SHA-1 Checksum
5.0.3.37 / December 2009 upd-503-pcl664.exe 16,289,336 733cd725b962b99a25b9b7c94cdd5aa3a06a7116
5.1.1.8232 / August 2010 upd-5_1_1_8232-pcl6_winxp-vista-x64.exe 16,329,016 2ead57774607bec316e55ad707b841fe8dfe6cfa
5.2.6.9321 / February 2011 upd-PCL6-X64-5_2_6_9321.exe 16,633,400 bcb70eb684d1f5b684bcc2873a30df72293416b0
5.3.1.10527 / July 2011 upd-pcl6-x64-5.3.1.10527.exe 17,794,616 a789f2bab5bf9d48897c8dd99dbae9a46bd7031f

None of the drivers newer than 5.0.3.37 printed anything other than the "UnsupportedProtocol" error shown above on my 2200. This seems to correlate to HP's version history, which shows that Unidrv*.dll - which was at version 6.0.6001.22127 from 4.7.0.30 in November 2008 through 5.0.3.37, was updated to 6.1.7600.16385. It seems probable that the upgrade of Unidrv*.dll caused an incompatibility with the printer.

I've emailed this to HP support (incident # 14612070), and beyond receiving the automated "One of our Technical Support Specialists will be responding to your inquiry" message, I'm skeptical that I'll receive a response, or that this issue will be addressed in future versions of the UPD driver.

I did receive a few responses:

  • According to your product serial number, the warranty on your HP LaserJet 2300d printer has expired.
  • Thank you for contacting Hewlett-Packard's Commercial Solutions Center.

    Mark, unfortunately, Hewlett-Packard does not offer support via e-mail for your product.

    We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

    The issue seems to be with the printer driver you are using. Hence, to resolve the issue, please install the UPD driver which mmight resolve the issue.

    http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=28861&prodNameId=28862&swEnvOID=4063&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=lj-95991-2

    We hope that the above information provides a quick solution to your inquiry.

    Thank you again for contacting HP e-Solutions.

    • (Apparently, HP didn't comprehend the part about the problem being with latest version of the UPD driver - and that no previous versions were available for download from HP.)
    • My response:

      I understand that my previous email was not even read, beyond the fact that yes, I'm using an out-of-warranty LaserJet 2200D. However, I'm not looking for support - I just want you to update your web site to reflect correct information.

      The problem that I'm attempting to bring to your attention is that I'm not the only one having this issue, and that the product page for this product that HP is still hosting should either be updated to reflect this, or remove the page entirely. I already found the solution - using the 5.0 version of the UPD instead of using the 5.1.3 one. Simply, please update the page at http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=28862&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=28861&swLang=8&taskId=135&swEnvOID=4063 to reflect this, and to assist other users who may be having the same problem - or remove the page as to not promote dis-information.

  • Thank you for contacting HP eSolutions.

    We really apologize for the inconveniance caused to you in regards to this issue.

    Thank you for updating on this. We will escalate this to the concerned team.

    If you have any other queries, please feel free to get back to us and we would be glad to be of assistance.

    Once again, thank you for contacting HP eSolutions.

    • (Received 2011-09-19. No communications since.)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why bother? HP are not worth it. Same goes with Toshiba. Sorry but these guys will never believe you nor care to test your findings. If it were Konica Minolta however I would report any bugs

geep said...

Mark -
I'm having the same problem with a LaserJet 3330. Unlike you, I don't have a pre-existing copy of upd-503-pc1664.exe, and also noticed no availability from HP. The sites that do offer this seem to be mostly malware/adware prone. Any source you would recommend I try?
Thanks

Mark A. Ziesemer said...

geep - This is exactly why I included the SHA-1 checksums for the relevant downloads. As long as you find a download that has the same checksum, you should be confident that it is a genuine copy, without any malware/adware concerns.

For what it's worth, I'd also ask that you report the same to HP. Ignoring the anonymous comment from 2011-12-12, if enough users complain, someone will listen. At a minimum, they should be able to provide an archival copy of this download.

Anonymous said...

Can you send me the driver I can't find site to download this version
thx
HP2200@yopmail.com

Unknown said...

Older versions can be downloaded here: ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/UPD/

Mark A. Ziesemer said...

Unknown - thanks! (It looks like this was just added since September 2013 - so hopefully the complaints of myself and others had something to do with this. :-)

Meredith Anderson said...

I have some version of the UPD installed on a Win 7 computer and am trying to install 5.0.3 on another, but all I get is that it can't find a suitable driver for the LJ 2200. I have checked the .inf files and don't see any support for this printer. I can't remember how I got it working on the other computer (but it wasn't easy). Any tips for getting this to install?