If you have an HP printer and enjoy the free Image Zone software that comes with it, beware of upgrading to Windows 7.
HP Image Zone does not work on Windows 7. There is no fix, no workaround and no Windows 7 driver. HP doesn’t support the software any more, and has no intention of writing updated drivers for it. There is no later programme they offer that offers anything near the functionality.
I Googled this subject to death recently and this is the cast iron result. MS knows all about these type of issues and has something called an “XP Compatibility Pack” that is supposed to solve these problems. Unfortunately, with most versions of Windows 7 this is a paid-for add on. I dunno about you, but I think Bill Gates has enough money and doesn’t need any more of mine!
I love my new Windows 7. I also love my HP Image Zone. But the two never shall be together.
I got around it by rebuilding an old machine running XP that I only use for anything I want to do in Image Zone. That’s all I could do. I tried various alternative programs and none were as clean or as simple as Image Zone. Jeeze….. it was like losing a close member of the family I had used it for so long!
However, there was light at the end of the tunnel — of sorts. The basic “Paint” program in Windows 7 is well ahead of, and totally different to, any previous version. Its pretty cool actually. The only thing it doesn’t do is allow you to flick to black and white. But it also has some great features easily allowing you to insert arrows, text, speech bubbles and all kinds of stuff that Image Zone was lacking.
I dunno about you, but I find Photoshop far too complicated. It takes a couple of dozen clicks to convert an image to black and white for example. If you just want to resize images, add arrows and do simple stuff as you will want to do with many images for websites, etc., the “Paint” in Windows 7 is the one for you.
The loss of Image Zone will not feel so bad once you have gotten used to the all new “Paint” program.
What else doesn’t work on Windows 7? Well my old Dymo 320 Label Writer didn’t — no drivers for that either. So I had to spring for a newer 450 Label Writer from Amazon (which again, is streets ahead of the old 300 series ones).
So in synopsis, changing to the rather superb Windows 7 is not without its drawbacks if you are set in your ways with some old programmes and hardware. But having had my new Windows 7 for a few months now, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Windows XP feels somewhat archaic now and I wouldn’t go back. Yes, it was inconvenient losing a superb old programme or two and having to replace an otherwise OK label writer because of driver issues, but it is a small price to pay in the face of progress.