This has been popping up a lot as of late thanks to questionable updates that HP has been rolling out to its LaserJet printer line. Users are met with a firmware update notice that they happily agree to. However, upon installing the update, their printer no longer works because they have generic 3rd-party cartridges inside and the printer claims there is a supply problem.
Why does this happen? Well, it’s quite clear. HP doesn’t want you to use generic cartridges in HP printers. Some of this is because of liability reasons that can just as easily be resolved with warnings/disclaimers. However, it is mostly because HP wants to you spend the extra money on genuine cartridges. It is one of the most lucrative money makers the company has after all (along with overpriced cables and accessories). So they are defiantly updating printers to block the user from being able to use these third-party alternatives.
Although we understand HP wanting to make a profit, we believe their approach is pretty evil. It can lead to a lot of lost cash and toner waste (not to mention angry customers who want full control of their products). So we are going to walk you through fixing this!
1. Downloading the previous/older firmware
The hardest part is finding the previous firmware that worked for you. HP won’t make it available via their support website because they don’t want you rolling back. So you have to search things like Reddit and other websites that may offer the previous files. This can be dangerous since you aren’t downloading the firmware from HP’s proper sources. So use caution and scan everything for viruses using installed virus scanners and/or something like the online VirusTotal scanner.
In our case, we looked around for a model that couldn’t use generic options here. We found an HP LaserJet M254dw that has the latest firmware that rolled out late last year. We threw in some generic cartridges that worked in the past, and sure enough, we got the error.
We got our hands on a legit firmware for the HP LaserJet M254dw, scanned it to death, and installed it. Everything was right back to normal and it saw the generic cartridges. We made it available here as a mirror for the file–just keep in mind to ONLY use that firmware if you have the exact same printer model (M254dw). If your model is different, you’ll have to find your own firmware sadly.
The printer needs to be prepped to be rolled back. The process is easy. Use the touchscreen or buttons to head over to the settings menu (generally an icon of a grey gear).
Then follow this path:
Settings>Service>LaserJet Update>Manage Updates
Here, you will find four settings that can be adjusted.
- Set “Allow Downgrade” to yes
- Set “Check Automatically” to no
- Set “Prompt Before Install” to always
- Set “Allow Updates” to yes (*you’ll turn this off when done)
Now disconnect the printer from Wi-Fi if it’s connected wirelessly and connect it to your computer or laptop via USB (this prevents any fatal problem and some models will only work over USB anyway). If it’s already connected via USB, you can ignore this.
3. Install the firmware
Open the executable firmware file by right-clicking on it and choosing “open as administrator” (this is important, it won’t work if you don’t open it as admin). Choose the printer from the drop-down and click on “Send firmware”. The firmware patch utility will attempt to send the firmware to the printer over USB.
Sadly, it isn’t 100% successful every time. If the progress bar fills and a happy face appears to the right, but the printer’s screen doesn’t show anything happening, then it didn’t work and you have to try again. In this case, exit the firmware patcher and re-open it again as admin. Then, run it again.
If it still doesn’t work, then press the power button on the printer to turn it off. Once completely off, turn it back on. Once completely on, re-try the firmware patcher on your computer.
Don’t worry if you experience these troubles because most people have and will. HP’s manual firmware patchers aren’t really the best. So it may take 2-3 times for it to take effect.
You’ll know it is working when the printer’s screen shows the firmware update process in action. It will look like the following…
During the programming sequence on the screen, the printer will restart a few times and eventually land you back into the normal screen of options. When this happens, you are done. You can unplug the computer and switch back to Wi-Fi if you use it wirelessly on your network (or keep it on USB if that’s what you always have it).
Go back to “Settings>Service>LaserJet Update>Manage Updates” and set “Allow Updates” to off.
If for some reason one or more of your cartridges still shows an error, cycle the power to the printer and everything should come right back.
4. Finished! No more updates…
Your HP LaserJet can once again print using generic third-party cartridges. However, you’ll have to remember to never install any updates again. Thankfully, you turned off the automatic update options, so the only way it will update in the future is if you forget and turn those options back on. In case you do, we’d recommend holding onto the firmware patch file somewhere in case you need it again.
Did this help? Let us know in the comments below! It’s nice to be able to fight back once in a while to represent the better good of the people.