Microsoft prescribes command-line surgery for HP Smart app malady

Printer names messed up? Debug It Yourself

Microsoft has issued a fix for the mysterious HP Smart app issue and Windows subsequently renaming printers, and it's anything but simple.

For this one weird bug, the IT goliath has decided that one weird fix is needed.

Rather than roll out an update to deal with whatever it broke to cause the issue – a Register reader pointed to Redmond's metadata service as a potential culprit – the Windows giant instead expects affected users to download the Microsoft Printer Metadata Troubleshooter Tool and fire off an executable from the command line.

As an administrator, of course, so you better make sure you don't screw up. Enterprise administrators must run the tool as the Local System account.

Versions of the program are available for Arm32, Arm64, x64, and x86 editions of Windows, an indicator of how widespread the problem is. The issue impacts everything from Windows Server 2012 and Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB to Windows 11 23H2.

The tool then scans the local printer information and will restore any previously downloaded printer information and icons. It will also remove the HP LaserJet M101-M106 – unless, of course, you have one attached. If it finds the HP Smart application installed but no HP printers or drivers – or messed up metadata – it will also uninstall the app.

However, even if the user receives the cheery "troubleshooter completed successfully" message once the tool has done its thing, it might still take a few hours before icons and metadata change.

Devices covered by Recommended Troubleshooting should get a user-initiated troubleshooter in the next few weeks.

Microsoft has remained silent on what caused the arrival of the HP Smart app and the mysterious renaming of printers, although engineers working within the bowels of the corporation know enough to send a tool to fix the problem out into the world.

However, forcing users to download and run an application to fix something Microsoft broke is not a good look for the company. It proudly proclaims: "Windows 11 is a service, which means it gets better through periodic software updates."

Except for when it doesn't. ®

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