- What are firmware updates?
- Why would I want to turn them off?
- Instructions - Epson printers
- Instructions - HP printers
- Managing firmware updates manually
Printer firmware is the software program that runs the printer. It's not the same as a driver (which is the program that runs on a device such as a PC that allows it to talk to the printer) as it is entirely resident in the printer's internal memory.
At regular intervals, printer manufacturers issue firmware updates, which download over an internet connection directly to the printer, usually in the background without alerting the user. This update will make changes to the printer's internal software.
If you have ever been using third party cartridges and one day found that the printer is suddenly refusing to recognise them, the chances are that you've had a firmware update. This is the only effect that you're likely to notice, and is particularly annoying if you've just put new cartridges in, or have a supply of back up stock.
Printer manufacturers use firmware updates as a back door method of disabling non-branded cartridges, essentially trying to force you to buy their own brand rather than a cheaper third party option. Occasionally, the update may provide useful bug fixes or security changes, but most people find that having their entire cartridge stock disabled is too high a price to pay for this.
1. Find the Epson printer icon on your PC taskbar - this is usually at the bottom right of the screen, you may need to click the ^ button to show hidden icons.
2. Right click on the Epson printer icon and select "Software Update Settings".
3. Select "Never" and click the "OK" button.
You will still be able to update the firmware manually by selecting "Software Update" from the same menu.
1. In the Windows search bar - usually at the bottom left of the screen where it says "Type here to search" - enter "Epson Software Updater" and run the resulting program, it will open in a new window.
2. Select your printer model from the drop-down menu at the top of the window. Click the "Auto update settings" link at the bottom of the window.
3. A new, smaller window will open. If there is more than one printer listed in this, find the one you want and change the "Interval to check" box to "Never".
4. Click "OK" to save your new settings.
You will still be able to update the firmware manually by opening the updater (step 1 above) and selecting the new update from the "Essential Product Updates" box at the top. Check the update, and click the install button at the bottom right.
Option 1 - printers with a LCD control panel
There are a number of different menu trees depending on which particular printer model you have, but they are similar enough that it should be possible to use this process to navigate through any of them.
1. Open the Settings or Setup menu.
2. Find the Printer Update menu - this may be on the settings screen, or within a sub-menu called Printer Maintenance.
3. Select the Auto Update or Printer Update Options menu.
4. Select Do Not Check or Off.
5. You will usually see a warning message recommending that you leave auto updates enabled. Read the message carefully, the correct response depends on how the message is worded - it differs from printer to printer.
You will still be able to update the firmware manually by selecting the appropriate option from the Printer Update menu at step 2.
New information October 2021 - it appears that HP have started to ship some printers with the Settings menu disabled. Find out how to restore the settings menu in our article.
Option 2 - printers without a LCD control panel
1. In the Windows search bar - usually at the bottom left of the screen where it says "Type here to search" - enter "HP Updater" and run the resulting program, it will open in a new window.
2. For earlier versions of Windows (7 or before) you will need to find it by clicking the start button, then all programs, then HP, then HP Update or HP Software Update.
3. Click the "Settings" button at the bottom of the new window.
4. Click the "Never" button, and then "OK" to confirm.
You will still be able to update the firmware manually by selecting "Next" instead of "Settings" at step 3 and following the prompts.
You may at some point wish to install an update after disabling the automatic process. We recommend that unless urgent (such as a security patch) you only update:
- When you don't have a stock of older cartridges - these are all likely to be disabled
- At least two months after the update was issued - this gives third party manufacturers time to develop new chips that will work with the latest update
Bear in mind that firmware updates cannot improve print quality, reduce ink usage, increase print speed or reduce power usage. The only time most people need to update is when they encounter a bug in the firmware that has been fixed by a later update, or when a necessary security update has been issued.