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Troubleshooting a failed USB connection

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Troubleshooting a failed USB connection

We are sorry that our printer installation encountered an error. Despite our best efforts, this happens sometimes because every computer is slightly different.
Your software has been installed successfully, but it is not finding your printer over the USB connection. Below, you'll find troubleshooting solutions that our support agents have found to be the most helpful in resolving install errors. Solutions are listed in order, with the most likely solution first. If the first solution does not solve the problem, continue trying the remaining solutions until the issue is resolved.
If these instructions don't help, or if you run into additional problems, there are links to other help resources (such as customer support forums, chat, and phone support agents) at the end of this document.
After trying these instructions, please let us know if this document solved your problem. We use your feedback to determine if we need to make changes to this help document. Whether the instructions worked or didn't work, your feedback is really helpful. Please click here to take a short online survey.
Solution 1: Retry connecting the printer
  1. If you haven't already done so, click the Retry button in the installer window. This may resolve the problem.
    Figure 1: Graphic - Retry button on the install screen
  2. If you successfully installed your HP printer, you're done! If the install was not yet successful continue to the next solution.
Solution 2: Restart the computer and try connecting the printer again
  1. Unplug the USB cable from the printer and the computer.
  2. Bookmark this page in your Web browser so you can return to it after the restart.
    NOTE:To bookmark a page, click Favorites or Bookmarks in your Web browser, and then click Add to Favorites or Bookmark This Page.To return to this page after the restart, open your Web browser, click the Favorites or Bookmarks menu, and then click the name of this Web page. When the page opens, scroll down to view the rest of these instructions.
  3. Click Cancel on the installer window, close all other applications, and then restart your computer.
  4. After the restart, make sure that the printer is powered on.
  5. On the Windows taskbar, click Start or , and then click All Programs > HP > [printer name] > Connect a new printer.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions and connect the USB cable only when prompted by the software. If you connect the USB cable too soon, an install error may occur again. Also, review the following tips.
    USB tips
    • Ensure that your USB cable is no more than 5 meters in length.
    • Try connecting the USB cable to a different USB connector on the computer. (For example, if you plugged the cable into a front USB port, try plugging it into a port in the back.)
    • If the USB cable is connected to a USB hub or a docking station for a laptop, it could cause the installation to fail. Even if you believe that your USB hub works fine, try connecting the USB cable directly to the computer during the device installation (when prompted). You can always move it back to the USB hub later.
  7. If you successfully installed your HP printer, you're done!
    If the install was not yet successful, there may be a problem with the software installation even though it appears to have installed correctly. Continue to the next solution to uninstall and reinstall the HP software.
Solution 3: Uninstall and reinstall the HP software
  1. Uninstall the HP software:
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start or , and then click All Programs > HP > [printer name] > Uninstall.
      Follow the onscreen instructions to remove the current installation.
  2. We recommend that you download the latest version of the software for your product from the HP Web site:
    1. Type the name of the printer in the search box (for example, type HP Deskjet 2050).
      Select the appropriate version of Windows to view the download and CD ordering options.
  3. Reinstall the HP software by running the new install program that you downloaded or re-inserting the CD that came with your printer.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions and connect the USB cable only when prompted by the software. If you connect the USB cable too soon, an install error may occur again. Also, review the following tips.
    USB tips
    • Ensure that your USB cable is no more than 5 meters in length.
    • Try connecting the USB cable to a different USB connector on the computer. (For example, if you plugged the cable into a front USB port, try plugging it into a port in the back.)
    • If the USB cable is connected to a USB hub or a docking station for a laptop, it could cause the installation to fail. Even if you believe that your USB hub works fine, try connecting the USB cable directly to the computer during the device installation (when prompted). You can always move it back to the USB hub later.
  5. If you successfully installed your HP printer, you're done!
    If the install was not yet successful, you may need to disable startup software temporarily. Windows allows many programs and processes to run immediately upon startup. These programs may be preventing you from installing the HP Software. Continue to the next solution for instructions.
Solution 4 - Step A: Disable startup services
  1. If you haven't already, bookmark this page in your Web browser so you can return to it later.
    Some of the steps included in this solution will require you to restart your computer.
  2. (Optional) Run Windows Update. If you haven't run this recently, your computer may be missing critical updates.
    Windows 7
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click , and then type Windows update in the Search programs and files box.
      On the Windows Update screen, click Check for updates.
      Accept all updates, or at least all critical updates.
    Windows Vista
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click , and then click Control Panel.
      In the Security area, click Check for updates.
      On the Windows Update screen, click Check for updates.
      Accept all updates, or at least all critical updates.
    Windows XP
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start > All Programs > Windows Update.
      Click Express (Recommended).
      Click Install Updates.
      Follow the onscreen instructions.
  3. Open the System Configuration Utility dialog box:
    Windows 7
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click .
      Type msconfig in the Search programs and files dialog box, and then press Enter.
    Windows Vista
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click , and then click Run.
      Type msconfig in the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
    Windows XP
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then click Run.
      Type msconfig in the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
  4. Check to see if Normal Startup or Selective Startup is currently selected. If Normal Startup is selected, follow the indicated steps, below. If Selective Startup is selected, follow those steps instead.
    NOTE:Follow the appropriate instructions for your startup type. You only need to follow one set of instructions, not both.
    To disable a Normal Startup
    1. Select Selective Startup, and then clear the Load Startup Items check box.
      Click the Services tab, and then select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box at the bottom of the screen.
      Click Disable All.
    To disable a Selective Startup
    1. Click the Startup tab and make a list of the items that are selected.
      You will need this list to reset your computer startup items later.
      Click the General tab, and then clear the Load Startup Items check box.
      Click the Services tab, and then select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box at the bottom of the screen.
      Make a list of the items that are selected.
      You will need this list to reset your computer startup items later.
      Click Disable All.
  5. Click Apply, and then click OK.
    A new window displays. Click Restart to continue.
    NOTE:If you haven't already done so, bookmark this Web page before you restart.
  6. Upon restarting your computer, the System Configuration Utility window displays. Select the Don't show this message... check box, and then click OK.
Solution 4 - Step B: Uninstall and reinstall the HP software
  1. Uninstall the HP software:
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start or , and then click All Programs > HP > [printer name] > Uninstall.
      Follow the onscreen instructions to remove the current installation.
  2. Reinstall the HP software by running the new install program that you downloaded or re-inserting the CD that came with your printer.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions and connect the USB cable only when prompted by the software. If you connect the USB cable too soon, an install error may occur again. Also, review the following tips.
    USB tips
    • Ensure that your USB cable is no more than 5 meters in length.
    • Try connecting the USB cable to a different USB connector on the computer. (For example, if you plugged the cable into a front USB port, try plugging it into a port in the back.)
    • If the USB cable is connected to a USB hub or a docking station for a laptop, it could cause the installation to fail. Even if you believe that your USB hub works fine, try connecting the USB cable directly to the computer during the device installation (when prompted). You can always move it back to the USB hub later.
  4. Whether or not you installed the software successfully, make sure you follow the instructions in Step C to enable your startup software, or your computer may not function in the way you expect.
Solution 4 - Step C: Enable startup services
  1. Open the System Configuration Utility dialog box:
    Windows 7
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click .
      Type msconfig in the Search programs and files dialog box, and then press Enter.
    Windows Vista
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click , and then click Run.
      Type msconfig in the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
    Windows XP
    1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then click Run.
      Type msconfig in the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
  2. If you disabled a Normal Startup, follow the indicated steps, below. If you disabled a Selective Startup, follow those steps instead.
    NOTE:Follow the appropriate instructions for your startup type. You only need to follow one set of instructions, not both.
    To enable a Normal Startup
    1. Select Normal Startup.
    To enable a Selective Startup
    1. Click the Startup tab, and then select every item from the list you made in step A.
      Click the Services tab, and then select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box at the bottom of the screen.
      On the Services tab, select every item from the list you made in step A.
  3. Click Apply, and then click OK.
    A new window displays. Click Restart to continue.
    NOTE:If you haven't already done so, bookmark this Web page before you restart.
  4. If you successfully installed your HP printer, you're done!
    If the install was not yet successful, please refer to one of the resources below.
Give us feedback
If you haven't already done so, please let us know if this document solved your problem. Your feedback is very important to HP and other customers, because we use the feedback to determine if we need to make changes to this help document. Whether the instructions worked or didn't work, your feedback is really helpful.
For further assistance
  1. Visit HP Support Forums and connect with HP users to get insights, tips, and answers to questions about your printer. Follow the link below to view the forums. (HP Support Forums may not be available in all languages.)
  2. Contact HP support:
    Select your country/region to get to the contact page.
    NOTE:Support options and availability vary by product, country/region, and language.

HP Support forums

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