HP printer software turns up uninvited on Windows systems
No escape from bloat, even without relevant hardware attached
Windows users are reporting that Hewlett Packard's HP Smart application is appearing on their systems, despite them not having any of the manufacturer's hardware attached.
While Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on what is happening, folks on various social media platforms noted the app's appearance, which seems to afflict both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
The Windows Update mechanism is used to deploy third-party applications and drivers as well as Microsoft's updates, and we'd bet someone somewhere has accidentally checked the wrong box.
Up to now, the response from affected users has been one of confusion.
One noted on Reddit: "I thought that was just me. I didn't install it, it just appeared on new apps in start menu out of nowhere."
Another said: "I just checked and I had it installed too. Checking the event log for the Microsoft Store shows that it installed earlier today, but I definitely did [not] request or initiate it because I do not have any devices from HP."
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And, of course, there was the inevitable: "Would it be that hard for Microsoft to just provide an operating system without needless bloat?"
To be clear, not all users are affected. Our test Windows 10 PC was far too busy suggesting that we should take a look at Copilot to bother with the HP Smart app nonsense.
WindowsLatest reported the issue occurring on both physical Windows 10 hardware and a Windows 11 virtual machine.
HP Smart is innocuous enough. It's an application used in conjunction with HP's printer hardware and can simply be uninstalled.
However, the question is how the application got installed in the first place on a machine with no HP hardware attached or on a network, according to affected users.
In a statement to WindowsLatest, Microsoft said it was aware of the reports and it would share more details soon. The Register asked Microsoft to comment and will report back with any response. ®