The Case of the RESEND UPGRADE message
I don’t like them. If you’ve read more than five posts on this blog you may have noticed that already.
This is the tale of how I started down the long, dark, road of hatred towards HP, and why I think they are largely incompetent at what they do.
It started soon after I began my current job, and I first learned that you could perform BIOS upgrades on network printers by sending the upgrade over the network. Struck with the novelty of this, I naively decided it would be a good idea to make sure all of our network printers were up to date. The upgrades actually all went well. Apart from one.
The one failure – a LaserJet 4250n – was not that serious; in fact, it didn’t impact the printer’s operation at all. The only sign that something was wrong was that instead of displaying ‘Ready’ on the LCD panel on the front, it displayed ‘RESEND UPGRADE’. The manual suggested that resending the BIOS update would clear it. It did not. In fact, nothing I tried would clear the message.
Knowing full well that this would lead to frequent reports from users that the printer was “doing something weird,” or “showing a funny message,” I called HP, as the printer was under warranty. Once they finished asking me to do all the things I had already tried, they sent out an engineer.
He failed to fix it. The next engineer came with a new part. That didn’t work either. The third engineer was sent with no description of the problem other than “displays error message,” and was unsurprisingly unable to clear it. The fourth engineer replaced almost every circuit board in the printer in an ultimately vain attempt to remove the message. After 3 weeks of undoubtedly expensive engineer call-outs, HP sent a new printer instead. These things cost about £800 to buy, so sending out replacements is not undertaken lightly. Once the new one was installed, HP told me someone would be in touch about collecting the old one.
No-one ever called.
The printer sat gathering dust in my office for months, a bleak reminder of my folly and HP’s inadequacies. Then, one summer, I decided once again to see if I could fix it myself. Making the first of many visits to the HP Business Support forums, I found a recent report from someone who had encountered the same problem, and an HP call centre worker had told them, off the record, that the problem was due to a mistake in the BIOS upgrade code. What’s more, there was actually a (relatively) straightforward method to fix it: I had to disable the network card, perform a newer BIOS upgrade that had since been released via the parallel port, then re-enable the network card and reset it to factory defaults.
I did so, and was greeted with ‘Ready’. End result: one free £800 printer, and all down to me mucking up a BIOS upgrade.
This all happened nearly three years ago. Against all odds, the printer has been running fine in one of our IT labs ever since.