Can Microsoft release a bug-fixing update for Windows 10 without it causing new problems? Apparently not, it seems that yet again the company has released a cumulative update that breaks something else… this time, it’s printers that have been affected.’ (Rob Thubron, 1 Oct 2019)
As you’ll know from previous blogs, I hate printers! They are the bane of my life. I have wasted more hours, days and years failing to fix them than I care to think about. I agree with Rob that Microsoft don’t help, as every time they release an update it seems to remove all your printers and then try and re-discover them, failing in the process. It’s then up to you to re-install your printer manually.
So, what is a printer? In computing terms, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper (thanks Wikipedia!). In English, they put what you see on the screen onto paper.
Today there are only really two types: inkjet and laser.
Inkjets squirt dots of coloured ink onto the paper as the print head passes over it; they are relatively slow and, cost per sheet, expensive on ink but good for low-volume home use. They are also excellent for home printing of photographs. They don’t require any warm-up time but are prone to drying out if not used regularly. They are also cheap to buy.
Laser printers fuse coloured powder onto the paper with heat; they are fast and much cheaper on consumables per copy in a high-volume environment. However, they can’t use special papers for photographs and can take several minutes to warm-up for the first copy. They will, however, print perfectly after months in a cupboard. Historically they have been relatively expensive to buy compared with an inkjet but they continue to become cheaper.
Should you buy cheap replacement ink and toner?
I do! The cost of a set of genuine cartridges for an inkjet can be almost as much as the cost of the printer itself. There is a risk, however, that if your printer is still under warranty this is invalidated if you have not used genuine ink or toner. I could never ‘recommend’ you do it but I consider the risk to be worthwhile as the savings can be huge (T&Cs apply!).
So, what are you to do? I always say, ‘Spend as little as possible and replace as often as necessary’. If you’ve only spent £34.99 on a printer then it’s not worth worrying about if it breaks down after your year’s warranty. There is nothing to mend in a printer; you just throw it away and get another one. Always spend a little time uninstalling the old one from your computer first, then carefully follow the instructions provided by the new one to get it set up properly right away.
The choice as always, is yours, but if you think you need advice, you know where to come.
Added: 17th November 2019