HP G85 All in one Printer under Vista, and Word 2007 Slowness

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I picked up an HP G85 ages ago, and it’s been a bulletproof printer ever since. Print quality is still excellent, scanning is top notch, and it has very good fax support. There’s newer stuff out there, but damn, I spent close to 800$ on this thing when it was new, so I’m a bit attached to it.

I hooked it up to a JetDirect 170x to turn it into a networked printer, which works great because it’s a bit large to put in the server closet with all my other equipment, and faxing would be a pain.

So I was more than a little bummed to discover that although Vista ships with HP G85 drivers, it DOESN’T have any support for the JetDirect box. I tried all sorts of things to get it to work, even creating my own Port definition. No joy.

I eventually installed the drivers to my server and then shared the printer there. At that point, I could create a new printer on my workstation and just point it to the shared server printer. That worked and I thought I was home free.

However, I started noticing some very peculiar behavior in Word 2007. I’d start it, and after a few seconds, it would display “Connecting to Printer” in the lower left corner of the status bar.

Often, though, Word would just hang for a minute or more as it loaded the document.

What’s worse, invoking Word through it’s COM Objects and loading a document would also take forever.

Bad news.

I suspect it’s not necessarily a problem with Word 2007, though it could be. I recently stumbled across this post by Mark Russinovish (one of the SysInternals guys) that details some spelunking he did to determine why File Open dialogs could end up being so slow under Vista. Turns out, Vista tries, maybe a little too hard, to be all user cuddly/cozy. We have ultra-mega-giga hertz machines and can’t display a freakin’ file open dialog any faster that DOS 6.2 programs running under Netware back in the late 80’s.

Anyway, I deleted the printer definition pointing to my shared server printer and all was back to normal.

But I couldn’t print.

Then, I stumbled onto the HP Install Network Printer Wizard on the HP site. I can’t tell how fresh it is, but it’s gotta be pretty recent because I went looking for just this sort of thing not a month or two ago.

Anyway, it works a treat, except that I can only PRINT to the G85 this way (the scanning and faxing support isn’t there, and they even warn that it’s not).

So, we’re back and printing, and it doesn’t hang Word up anymore.

I’ll just call the IT guy in to take care of the scanning…. Oh, right. I telecommute<sigh>.

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