Microsoft confirms Smart App issue renaming everyone's printers to HP
Not only turning up uninvited, but telling folks they suddenly have a LaserJet
No, it isn't your imagination. Windows really is installing the HP Smart App and renaming printers without user interaction.
Microsoft has updated its Windows release health dashboard to admit a problem exists. The title of the issue says it all: "Printer names and icons might be changed and HP Smart app automatically installs."
The problem appears widespread – as well as Windows 11, versions of Windows 10 going right back to the Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB have been hit by the issue, which appears to affect Windows devices with access to the Microsoft Store. Windows Server, including Windows Server 2012, is also affected.
As a reminder, symptoms of an affected Windows 10 or 11 devices include the unexpected and unasked-for installation of the HP Smart App, even if no HP hardware is connected.
However, things can get progressively weirder, and Microsoft has reported that existing printers can end up being renamed HP printers, regardless of manufacturer. We've reported on how much HP would like to take control of its ecosystem, but this seems extreme even for the inveterate ink pusher.
According to Microsoft, when renaming occurs, most printers are dubbed the "HP LaserJet M101-M106," and the printer icons might also be changed. Double-clicking the printer displays the error "No tasks are available for this page."
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So, what is happening? Microsoft said it was still investigating the issue and coordinating with its partners on a solution. It all seems to stem from the mystery automatic installation of the HP Smart App. Windows devices that don't have access to the Microsoft Store should not be affected, according to the Windows giant.
The Register is awaiting a response from Microsoft on the issue and will update should the company respond. ®