Can someone help HP write driver software?

We’ve been doing technical support for almost 35 years, and have relied on HP Servers, PC’s and Printers with very little complaint.

Lately, however, we are experiencing a disconnect between printer hardware (excellent) and the software needed to make it perform (DRIVERS).

We work in environments that have Windows XP, Vista, 7, and Servers running 2003 and 2008.  We work with Terminal Server environments, too.  We realize that the computing environment is muddy – but I think HP needs to look at it’s driver software and do some re-thinking.

Some  examples –

A Color Laserjet, Duplex and Network features – less than one year old – the LOCAL Windows XP and Windows 7 drivers control the duplex feature just fine (gives us the “PRINT ON BOTH SIDES” option.)  HOWEVER – same printer, printing from our Windows 2008 R2 Server – NO SUCH OPTION, manual duplexing only (???)  We’ve confirmed that we do indeed have the absolute latest and greatest drivers direct from HP.

How about Driver CD’s that take over 45 minutes to install, because of all the added gadgets, toolboxes, monitors, and live update services they’ve grafted on?  I don’t know about YOU, but I don’t need to have my printer able to order it’s own toner, alert me to every page I print, or survey my recent choices of fonts (yes, I am exaggerating a little) – JUST PRINT MY FLYER!

My wish list:

– Drivers should be SIMPLE – leave the other tools as an available add on, but let me just load the driver, please?  I hate having to go back and uninstall components.

– Drivers should work THE SAME WAY on any platform – same options, buttons, etc.  We’re talking Operating Systems that have been in release for YEARS,  not days – you HAVE the programming API code to work with, folks.

– Drop the LIVE UPDATE / ORDER SUPPLIES components – should NOT be getting loaded automatically to install a printer – adds CPU drag, bandwidth drag, annoyance with CONSTANT pop-ups.

We’re to the point where we are SUBSTITUTING older hardware drivers for new equipment, to get drivers that do what we tell them without talking back, or limiting the functions we can use.  We shouldn’t need to be doing R&D to set up a network printer.

I realize some of these “improvements” are designed to help those who are less-than-PC-literate – and I’m OK with trying to make install software dummy-proof.  But at LEAST give us tech pros the option to get drivers that work without the extra baggage….and engineer your drivers so they work the same on all available platforms.