Is a HP Firmware Update blocking again Third Party Ink Cartridges?

[German]The aim of this blog post is to find out whether there are any potential victims. The topic: There is a suspicion that HP is again (possibly erroneously) blocking ink cartridges from third-party manufacturers in its inkjet printers by updating the printer firmware.


Some background information

In September 2016 it became public, that HP has begun to block third-party ink cartridges with a firmware update. HP had distributed a firmware update for various ink jet office printers on March 12, 2016. From 13 September 2016, the time bomb within the firmware became active. From that point on, third-party ink cartridges were no longer accepted on certain HP ink jet printer models. Those using third-party ink cartridges or refillable ink cartridges received an error message. The printer driver reports that the ink cartridge is faulty or damaged. Anyone using new third-party ink cartridges also received this error message.

I’ve blogged about that within my blog post HP printer firmware disables refill ink cartridges and other articles (see the links at the article’s end). The case created a slash back on HP. They was forced to release an update that overrides the ‘protection mechanism’. Had reported about that within my post HP: New printer firmware re-enables refill ink cartridges.

Same procedure as every year?

In normal cases, you can say ‘it has happened, but it fixed, so forget it’. It may be paranoia, but every year around September 13th, I receive reports from users who suddenly find that third-party cartridges are being rejected. Last year I’ve published the blog post Firmware Update blocks again non HP Printer Cartridges, due to users, who contacted me with the same issue. And I found other reports (see here and here).

At that time I wrote: The reason for this problem is HP’s Dynamic Security Feature, which was probably brought to various devices by a firmware update. What the part does is described in this article: It checks the security chips HP installs in its own printer cartridges. Apparently there are sometimes cases where the HP Dynamic Security Feature is rolled out and activated via a firmware update. Then it block external cartridges.

Epson did a similar thing a few weeks ago in June 2018 (see here (broken)).  But now it’s September 2018, and I have new cases, reported from users. A few hours ago I received this reader comment in my blog post:


Guess what – Sept. 16 2018, and they just did it AGAIN. My printer worked fine last week. Made the mistake of installing a software update today. And now guess what: “There is a problem with the printer or ink system”. Nothing would get it to print. Until I borrowed a friends HP cartridge and guess what – works fine.

Nothing wrong with the printer. Just HP’s corporate ethics.

Best of all, looks like they changes the error message from the last time just so fewer consumers would clue in. What a scam. What a morally corrupt company.

I will personally boycott HP from now on. And encourage all those reading this to do the same – noting that they’ve now made printer ink cost more than human blood, and their profit margins rely on that (literally – google it). Time to hit them where it hurts.

The user claims that his ink cartridge was no longer accepted after updating the printer software. At first, he believed he had made a mistake of his own, but after a diagnosis, the root cause came out: It’s the printer firmware. As soon as he inserted an original ink cartridge, the printer worked again. It could of course still be that something is broken with the defective ink cartridge. But it smells a bit like the HP Dynamic Security feature was unintentionally rolled out and armed via a firmware update.

First I though: Maybe it’s an isolated case, maybe a broken ink cartridge or a wrong update. But I’ve published the German edition of this blog post a day ago, and received feedback from two users, claiming the same behavior. In HP’s forum I found isolated cases from Spring 2018, an I recognize, that this article dealing with the HP ink jet cartrige issues has been updated three days ago. Hence the question: Is there anyone else who has had this happen?

Similar article:
HP printer firmware disables refill ink cartridges
HP apologizes, new firmware update for printers soon
HP: New printer firmware re-enables refill ink cartridges
Firmware Update blocks again non HP Printer Cartridges

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9 Responses to Is a HP Firmware Update blocking again Third Party Ink Cartridges?

  1. Wallace says:

    I so happen to have two HP 8600 Pro Printers and I am willing to use one for you to test on. If you give me directions and tell me what pictures you want me to take I will send them to you so you can determine if HP is making 3rd party inks unusable.

    Also, I’ve seen the hack where a strand of wire is jumpered between two electronic pads on the print head to enable refilled cartridges.

    Let me know if you are interested in using my printer as a guinea pig.

  2. Robert says:

    2019-02-02 I am unable to install 3rd party ink in my HP 8720 inkjet printer. I downloaded the current firmware but I cannot install it. The checkbox to update the is disabled and for status it says ‘not applicable’. I telephoned HP technical support and according the agent it is not possible to use 3rd party cartridges in this machine.

    As HP has already been challenged on this, it seems highly unethical to prevent the use of 3rd party cartridges. I was not informed about this when I purchased the printer. Is there a new lawsuit in regards to this? Where do I sign up?

  3. Pat Quillan says:

    Costco will no longer refill certain cartridges from the effected printer. 8715 and 8720 for sure I know of and anything using the new cartridges are effected. 952 cartridges are now extremely expensive and not worth the investment.

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  5. Regina says:

    I do believe HP is at it again. I just installed non HP ink and am getting an error message that reads: ” Remove and Reinstall the indicated cartridges, making sure it is installed correctly”. It is indicated on all four cartridges. I received an email from the supplier shortly after purchasing my ink and found out the following: “HP released a wireless firmware update on April 9th that may interrupt your use of compatible HP 902XL ink cartridges. Updating to this latest firmware version may prompt a cartridge problem message on your printer’s display, preventing you from using compatible cartridges.” I called HP to see if I could uninstall this update and was told the firmware update was not the problem and my print heads were faulty. I was offered a new printer at a discount price. REALLY? Shame on HP!! Hope this issue gets resolved!

  6. EP says:


    when HP web services is enabled on some recent HP printer models (and these printers are connected to the internet either by Wifi or ethernet/LAN), automatic updates are locked on and will quietly download & install firmware updates without any user input.

    users who want to use non-HP or 3rd party inks should follow the instructions on this inkjet411 page on disabling HP automatic updates, that includes disabling HP web services for some HP printers as well, to prevent firmware updates from installing silently:

    • guenni says:

      Thx for the hints – guess my blog reader will appreciate this (I’m boycotting HP since I discovered the WIA driver desaster with HP scanners after Windows Vista has been released – and Microsoft’s developers told me, that HP was aware of an internal service change since Windows Server 2003, but offering high end scanners years later with old Windows XP WIA drivers and ended then suddenly the support).

      BTW, just for your information, in case you are not aware of: If a comment is containing a link, it will be moved to my ‘moderation folder’. After inspecting the comment, I set it to ‘public’ – need that, to block/prevent SEO spam.

  7. Lauren says:

    My 8710 all-in-one always used 3rd party ink until this last replacement (May/5/19). Tried ink from two non-hp suppliers and had to return both. The larger supplier, LD, sent me an email stating that HP firmware upgrades had caused the rejection and that LD is in the process of re-engineering around the change. They politely refunded me and I had to by HP ink at twice the cost. Not happy here

  8. Erin says:

    Tried replacing non-HP cartridges which worked fine in our HP 8600 with a new set of generic Calidad cartridges on 18 May 2019. Kept getting “There is a problem with the ink or printer…” message. Calidad even sent us a new set of cartridges which they thought would work without issue but still the error still appeared. Semi and Full Resets did nothing to remove the block. Long story short, I’ve managed to get them to work after putting the printer in MFG mode (whatever that is) from the secret menu. To get there I did the following (I take no responsibility if this messes up your printer):

    Unplug printer’s power cord from the back of the printer
    Press and HOLD the power button
    Plug power cord back in (keep holding power button)
    The HP logo will appear then the screen will go blank
    Hold power button for 10 seconds and then release it
    Press HOME BUTTON ONCE (top left)
    Press RETURN/BACK ARROW ONCE (bottom left)
    That should bring up the control screen
    NOTE: On my printer I couldn’t see the home or back buttons lit up but if you press to the left of the display area the buttons still work.
    Press MFG (Top Left)
    Press NEXT (Top Right)
    The screen idled with some weird looking grid design and status bar so I pressed the Power button and it went to the main printer screen on the display

    Hope this helps someone.

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