HP Solution Center broken due to missing flash (Jan. 2021)

Flash Warnung im HP Solution Center[German]Users of the HP Solution Center are facing an unpleasant experience since January 2021: The software is broken. A window  with an f character as well as an I appears – and it is no longer possible to scan on all-in-one printers. The cause is the end of support for Adobe Flash, which let the HP Solution Center to fail.


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The HP Solution Center

HP Solution Center is a printer management program for HP printers developed and released by HP before 2010. The program is still installed on many systems in 2021, as it provides e.g. scanning functions for all-in-one multifunction printers (see the following screenshot).

HP Solution Center

The problem is that the HP Solution Center relies on Adobe Flash to function. But support for Adobe Flash is scheduled to end at the end of 2020 (the announcement was made back in 2017). And since January 12, 2021, an installed Flash player has stopped working.

The HP Solution Center is broken

I first came across this a few days ago on Twitter in a private conversation. Someone mentioned issues with the HP Solution Center starting in January 2021. Then German blog reader Waldblick left this comment.

HP Scan Jet 3800 has worked smoothly with Solution Center even on WIN 10. Since a Win 10 update in Dec 2020 an image file is prepended “f u. i” when starting Solution Center. Since then, the Solution Center can no longer be started. What can I do to get the old state back?

The strange f and i looks like in the picture here. I had pointed out to the user in my reply to the comment above, that the root cause is the end of Adobe Flash support at the end of 2020.


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Flash warning in HP Solution Center

In Windows 10 the Adobe Flash Player was automatically updated to the version with the time bomb. With this, Flash Player shut down as planned on January 12, 2021 and this will be removed from Windows 10. This will remove scanning capabilities provided by the HP Solution Center from all-in-one devices/printers.

HP does not provide updated software

The problem is that Hewlett Packard has not released a version of HP Solution Center that no longer relies on Adobe Flash. However, this is not a new behavior from HP.

I then searched a little on the Internet. From HP there is the support article HP Printer – HP Solution Center does not open, which only confirms what I have already written above. User still can continue to print with the integrated Windows printer drivers and, in the case of all-in-one printers use a scan app to scan. The HP Solution Center should be uninstalled – but beware, you probably need the printer and WIA driver to support your printer – so uninstalling may be impossible.


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21 Responses to HP Solution Center broken due to missing flash (Jan. 2021)

  1. Baumann says:

    Hello,

    I circumvent this with the freeware iCopy to scan to PDF. Than use the HP bundelt OCR Readiris Pro 11 Version afterwards. Use “C:\Program Files (x86)\HP\Digital Imaging\DocProc\dpe_ocr.exe”
    It tells you, the software is for debuging only, but it works for me. Just open the PDF file created by iCopy and the OCR modul starts working. You can save the new PDF with embeded OCR Text.
    But the dpe_ocr forgets settings! So you must always configure that you want PDF file with text and image.

    Greetings

    • Dave Burton says:

      Baumann, THANK YOU!!!

      I can’t believe that I’ve had this on my computer for all these years, and never knew about it. This will be very, very useful to me!

  2. wyxchari says:

    To scan:
    + HP Scanner and Capture: jpg and pdf with multiple pages. https://www.microsoft.com/es-es/p/hp-scan-and-capture/9wzdncrfhwl0
    + Scanner: jpg, pdf with multiple pages. https://www.microsoft.com/es-es/p/windows-scan/9wzdncrfj3pv
    + HP Scan Extended: jpg and pdf with multiple pages. https://ftp.hp.com/pub/scanners/HPScanExt/HPScanExt.msi

    “The HP Solution Center should be uninstalled.”
    Absolutely not. Even if the program does not work, HP drivers are necessary. Some users have already said that with Windows drivers there are problems such as not recognizing the scanner or when printing.

  3. Joe says:

    I downloaded iCopy and it worked good with my current scanner since Adobe Flash is at its end of life. Thanks for the advice. The new version of .Net was installed so no problems at all with my current drivers.

    Using a HP Deskjet F4200 Series (scanner and printed with Adobe Reader).

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  5. Perry Myers says:

    Why isn’t it illegal for them NOT to provide software updates, for !@#$% sake!? My 800.00 laser all-in-one professional office printer is under a year old and now obsolete and less than 60% functional. No warning when it was sold, either, and you can bet HP product development was aware.

    I will NEVER buy another HP product, ever. Not even printer cartridges. I’m DONE with those highway robbers.

  6. jeconstruction says:

    i am also done with HP products i bought two printers and can’t use either one the salesman did not mention any problems when i purchased them. A good F you to HP

  7. Dave Burton says:

    This is a solvable problem. It saddens me that HP has so little regard for their customers that they didn’t bother to solve it.

    I know of several solutions:

    1. The HP supported answer:
    (This is only a partial solution, unfortunately.)
    a. You should still be able to print, normally.
    b. If your printer is network-connected, then you can check ink levels via the printer’s web interface. (If you use a USB cable, you’ll have to use the printer’s console, instead.)
    c. If you only want to scan photos, and you don’t need OCR’d document scanning, then you can download and install a free utility from HP called “HP Scan and Capture.” It’s pretty pathetic, and if you need OCR’d document scanning, you’re out of luck. But it is sufficient for some people.
    The main problem is very poor support for document scanning.

    2. Bypass Solution Center.
    It turns out that Solution Center doesn’t actually run the scanner. Instead, it just front-ends the “HP Scanning” program which runs the scanner, and HP Scanning doesn’t need Flash Player. It’s only Solution Center which needs Flash Player.
    The HP Scanning “splash screen” is probably familiar to you:
    https://sealevel.info/HP_Scanning_splash_screen.png
    It is possible to run “HP Scanning” without Solution Center. A guy calling himself “Wstack” figured out how, and I wrote a little program to make it easy; instructions are here:
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Printer-Setup-Software-Drivers/HP-Solution-Center-Not-Working-probably-flash-issue/m-p/7989395/highlight/true#M218193
    or here:
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Scanning-Faxing-Copying/HP-Solution-Center-does-not-work/m-p/7988833/highlight/true#M243160
    But if you have a ScanJet scanner, rather than an all-in-one OfficeJet printer, my program won’t work, as is. If you want to me to fix it to work with your ScanJet, I’ll need you to gather some information for me:
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Scanning-Faxing-Copying/HP-Solution-Center-does-not-work/m-p/7989502/highlight/true#M243194
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Scanning-Faxing-Copying/HP-Solution-Center-does-not-work/m-p/7990212/highlight/true#M243241

    3. Lie to Flash Player about the date.
    If you still have Flash Player installed, but it won’t work because of Adobe’s time bomb, then you can probably get HP Solution Center to work by faking the date. You can either use a tool like RunAsDate, or you can just run Solution Center from a little .bat script which does the following:
    a. Save the current date, and temporarily set to system date to before the Flash Player expiry.
    b. Start HP Solution Center.
    c. Wait about two seconds.
    d. Restore the system date to the correct date.
    Here are detailed instructions, from “JRBC”:
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Scanning-Faxing-Copying/HP-Solution-Center-does-not-work/m-p/7988833/highlight/true#M243160

    4. Install a version of Flash Player which works.
    Some people have apparently managed to get an old version of Flash Player to work. The trick is to find one which is old enough to not include Adobe’s time bomb, but new enough to still work on your copy of Windows (presumably Win10).
    A better approach is to use a patched version of FlashPlayer. Someone calling himself “darktohka” has created a program to easily make the needed patch. Here’re the links you’ll need…
    a. FlashPatch (patcher program):
    https://github.com/darktohka/FlashPatch/releases/latest
    b. A version of FlashPlayer to patch:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20210112063313/http://fpdownload.adobe.com/get/flashplayer/pdc/32.0.0.465/install_flash_player.exe
    c. Instructions:
    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Printer-Setup-Software-Drivers/HP-Solution-Center-Not-Working-probably-flash-issue/m-p/7966043/highlight/true#M215731
    (Warning: if you still sometimes use Internet Explorer (or some other web browser which supports FlashPlayer), then you should disable that support in the web browser, because running Flash web content in a buggy FlashPlayer makes you vulnerable to virus/trojan attacks.)

  8. Leana says:

    The link that Dave Burton provided in step 4c. was helpful:

    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Printer-Setup-Software-Drivers/HP-Solution-Center-Not-Working-probably-flash-issue/m-p/7966043/highlight/true#M215731

    On the HP forum I found a link to an app “Run as date”:

    https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/run_as_date.html

    I downloaded it and found the program “HP Solution Center” on my computer location:

    “C:\Program Files (x86)\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\Hpqdirec.exe”

    File name:

    Hpqdirec.exe

    In the “Run as date” window, I set the date to 12/1/2020, then I hit RUN, the program opened “HP Solution Center” and I was able to scan a doc to pdf to my computer.

  9. Martin says:

    HP Solution Center not working and cannot be fixed. Already wasted an hour on it when HP could have notified me their product is permanently broken. Last HP for me.

  10. Dave Burton says:

    I’ve packaged my little program to bypass Solution Center for scanning (approach #2 above), along with instructions, into a .zip file, here:

    https://geeksalive.com/no_solution_center.zip

    For convenience, I’ve also included in that .zip file an “Alternative_approach” folder, corresponding to approach #4 above. It has instructions and files for installing v32.0.0.371 ActiveX Flash Player, which is apparently the last version without the timebomb.

  11. Maurice Reed says:

    I have an HP C3100 printer +scanner and had the same problem once Flash was removed. What I did was to dig out the original HP installation software and let it run an install again. It had the effect of installing Flash into the HP folders so Solutions Centre worked properly again. This Flash is invisible to any browsers, which do not support Flash anyway and Flash does not appear in Control Panel.

    Problem resolved.

  12. John says:

    I installed and use Run as date but only with Solution centre. This works perfectly and it doesn’t change my system date.

  13. Kathy says:

    I’m too afraid to do anything on my own.

    I can print and scan from printer, but I don’t have the other options I used
    to have via the solution center. I’ll save this page and maybe one day have
    time to figure it out. I need something easy.

    I don’t have money to buy a new printer.

  14. Henry Chinery says:

    Dave Burton, thanks so much. You’ve done what HP couldn’t be bothered to do. The only way I could bring this up before was to run a test scan from HPPSDR. Never really worried about ink levels as they are displayed on the machine.

  15. Aindrias says:

    I have just installed run as date app..its simple, works perfectly, and completely restores HP solution centre

  16. Keith Fanning says:

    I googled,and found an exe of flash version 32…went straight in,and now the program works justhttps://archive.org/details/flashplayer_old like it should.

  17. David Ferguson says:

    What if I’ve already installed the Windows Update that removes FlashPlayer, with claims that update cannot be uninstalled? Can I still reinstall the older version without the installation being blocked?

  18. Mostafa says:

    I have a HP Scanjet G2710 and encountered the same problem that HP solution centre does not work. I used my “Windows Fax and Scan” and scanned my documents very easily.

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