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Many HP, Dell Printers Incompatible with Windows RT

Over the summer, Microsoft said that many older printers will not work with Windows 8 and Windows RT. That's because the company decided to change the printing architecture to reduce system overhead and simplify the overall printing process. This was a necessary move given that ARM-based Windows RT tablets will feature 32-bit SoCs and a memory ceiling of 4 GB.

"We really wanted to ensure that we didn’t negatively impact ARM systems by running unnecessary services, and we wanted to reduce system resource usage, while still providing support for as many devices as possible," wrote Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division.

On that note, TechWorld reports that both HP and Dell have published their compatibility lists of printers and multifunction devices for Windows 8 and Windows RT. On the HP side, out of 200 devices, a total of 83 are not compatible with Windows RT, and an additional 83 only offer "limited support". However the majority of devices are compatible with Windows 8 – so far HP hasn't released a compatibility list for inkjet printers.

As for Dell, this compatibility list of 110 inkjet and laser printers shows that only 32 support Windows RT. Even more, only two inkjet printers support the ARM-based Windows whereas the OS seems to be more compatible with monochrome and color laser printers. Naturally all printers compatible with Windows RT also play nice with Windows 8.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, told TechWorld that driver incompatibility with RT will likely extend beyond printers and into the realm of cameras, scanners and more. Unfortunately, manufacturers will likely not build new compatible drivers for old devices, as resources are typically dumped into current products. Companies would rather see consumers purchase new Windows 8-compatible equipment rather than hang onto an old, outdated printer.

Brookwood also pointed out that unlike other tablet OS developers, Microsoft is making an effort to provide a higher level of printer compatibility in Windows RT which in turn could make a huge difference in the ARM-based tablet market. "Most people who have been buying tablets to date, including Android and iOS tablets, they hardly ever print because of limits [on drivers]," Brookwood said.

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  • diddo
    "Unfortunately, manufacturers will likely not build new compatible drivers for old devices, as resources are typically dumped into current products."
    Unfortunately for producers, the same is true for buyers: they prefer allocate their budget buying something really useful for their business rather than replacing perfectly working equipment.
    Reply
  • amdfangirl
    Probably will enrage consumers when they realise that "Windows compatible" isn't the same as "Windows RT compatible" and Microsoft will cop the blame.

    That and people like not having to buy printers which seem to find new ways of justifying selling less ink/$ to you.
    Reply
  • zubai
    Meh.. I use canon.
    Reply
  • cscott_it
    diddo"Unfortunately, manufacturers will likely not build new compatible drivers for old devices, as resources are typically dumped into current products."Unfortunately for producers, the same is true for buyers: they prefer allocate their budget buying something really useful for their business rather than replacing perfectly working equipment.
    Ah yes - I've heard those words so many times. Why is your work fleet mostly comprised of Pentium III and a few Pentium IV workstations, minus execs - which have high end equipment? Because it works. Sure it's slow for that new CRM package your company just bought, but if it kind of runs on an underpowered XP workstation, that's good enough. Just keep cycling out those failing hard drives and memory. No sense in replacing perfectly working equipment =-p

    Though, to your point, I don't see a business buying RT compatible equipment for the sake of it. Though, if you could integrate Dynamics AX or if there is a Dynamics AX shop floor module, then RT would have a place in many businesses.
    Reply
  • southernshark
    Well at least they have a print function built into these tablets, which many tablets do not.

    I don't really see much of a market for the RT ARM based tablets anyway though. I predict quick and rapid domination by x86 tablets such as the Atom based tablets and the i5 tablets. Realistically the price point on Atom based tablets should quickly lower to the $400- $500 price range.
    Reply
  • diddo
    cscott_itAh yes - I've heard those words so many times. Why is your work fleet mostly comprised of Pentium III and a few Pentium IV workstations, minus execs - which have high end equipment?Gave thumbs up to your comment as it is a good point, but it is just the other side of the same coin (pun intended).
    Keeping what works means keeping what is good for your business.
    That is an entirely different beast that keeping an S/38 because it just did not blew up in the early '90s.
    And, it is an entirely different beast than buying any brand new thing - either an OS or a printer that does not mix well with the rest of your infrastructure - just because it is was shown in the latest advertisement.
    What keeps your business running properly should not be touched without a very very good reason, even in years when companies have moneys to throw out of the windows - that's not today.
    Reply
  • computernerdforlife
    What about Canon, Lexmark,... I work for Lexmark - this could cause me issues at my workplace.
    Reply
  • "However the majority of devices are compatible with Windows 8 – so far HP hasn't released a compatibility list for inkjet printers."

    So only 34 out of 200 HP devices and 32 out of 110 Dell devices are compatible but that = a majority? I'm confused.
    Reply
  • ramcoza
    I see no problem here. It's all about someone come up with a new driver for the unsupported devices. It won't be that hard to create one, as both windows 8 and windows RT share same kernel.
    Reply
  • extremepcs
    Yay! LaserJet 4100/4250's are good. Not that I'll be able to buy anything that doesn't have the "i" prefix...
    Reply