Why can’t I scan from a HP printer?

woman preparing paper for printing photos
Doesn't scan: solve your HP problems (Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com)

Recently, owners of HP all-in-one printers have reported struggles whilst trying to scan to their PCs. For many newer models, HP has ditched their trusted scanning software for an app, and it’s often the reason that many can’t scan from a HP printer. Here’s how fix that.

HP Smart?

Setting up a device used to be simple affair of inserting a CD and watching the magic happen. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a good chance that the software in the box would make a HP print, scan and fax. Rightly, HP ditched the optical media in favour of HP Smart, a multi-platform app for operating HP hardware. Sometimes.

HP Smart app not detecting printer

Let’s be frank, sometimes the HP Smart app can’t find its own bum with two hands. In the screenshot above, it missed my Officejet Pro 8620 entirely. Once I fed it the IP address, it sprung into life, offering me a warranty extension.

HP Smart app detecting printer

As you can see, once it is working, HP Smart lives up to its billing. There is now a plethora of choices to help users get the most from their HP hardware, even scanning. So why can’t users scan from a HP printer?

Do I need an account to scan from a HP printer?

HP Smart Sign-in to scan

For some reason, yes. If you’re using HP Smart, you’re required to create and sign-in with a HP account to enable the scanning function of the software. Many users complain that this is an annoyance rather than a showstopper, but many HP owners don’t set up an account. Once signed in, the scanning option is activated.

I’m signed into HP Smart and still cannot scan from a HP printer!

I thought you might say that. The HP Smart app frequently loses the connection to the device and often denies that it’s ever seen a printer. The best solution is to download another HP app to your PC. Open the Microsoft Store on your PC and search for HP Scan and Capture. You can probably work out what it does.

HP Scan and Capture app

Is HP Scan and Capture better than HP Smart?

For my money, yes. As long as the drivers for your device are installed, then HP Scan and Capture will handle scans with ease. On the first run, it’ll prompt you to select your scanner, then offer two options, one for documents, one for photos.

HP Scan and Capture successful scan

HP Scan and Capture has resolved scanning issues for many of my customers. If you’re struggling to scan to a PC from a HP printer, then ditch HP Smart and give HP Scan and Capture a whirl.

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About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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