Windows 10 fixes – scanner

I switched to Windows 10 fairly soon after it became available and found that everything pretty much worked straight ‘out of the box’ some older software was obviously not going to be compatible, but an awful lot just worked without any problems.

One thing I will say is that the Windows 10 ‘apps’ are virtually useless for a desktop although probably if you were using a Windows phone, they would be fine. For instance, I tried the ‘7-Zip’ app (my preferred software for compressing files) and it was useless. I the downloaded the ‘proper’ software (NOT via Windows 10 app store), and it worked fine.

My latest problem is that my HP scanning software suddenly stopped working – I don’t know what prompted it, but I have an ‘all-in-one’ printer scanner and the printer was working fine, but when I opened the ‘HP Solution Centre’ via which I normally scan my documents, it immediately closed itself and refused to work.

Now I remember that it took me a few attempts to load up the software when I first upgraded to the Windows 10 operating system, but I did eventually get it all working and it has been working fine for months. This time however, whatever I tried drew a blank. I downloaded all sorts of stuff from the HP website which was supposed to sort the issue, but although I still had use of the ‘all-in-one’ as a printer throughout, I could not open the solution centre to scan documents.

Windows 10 - compatible scanner softwareAfter more than a day of trying different fixes, I had the thought that maybe I could use Windows scanner software, and yes, I can BUT it doesn’t export as PDF… only TIFF for documents. Eventually I started searching for non-HP software that might be able to access my scanner (again the Windows app store was useless), and I found a SourceForge program called NAPS2 (Not Another PDF Scanner – which is a slightly confusing name for a scanner that does PDFs). It was a simple as anything to use and I was able to download OCR software within the program to make the PDFs searchable. Searchable PDF is how I was previously scanning all my documents, so now I am pretty much back where I wanted to be. It’s not like I am only scanning a few documents, I virtually run a paper-free office, so scanning is pretty important to me.

I was not very far from thinking about buying another scanner, but this seems drastic when your existing scanner is just a little old, but certainly not broken. The only thing that NAPS doesn’t do is to sort my scans into monthly folders which the HP software used to do, but it’s not rocket science to click ‘save’ and then choose a folder, and in fact the whole process is so much simpler that it takes about half the time of the bloated HP software.

All in all, I am really pleased that the wonderful people at SourceForge have once again put together a great little package that does exactly what it says on the tin, and all for free. So the lesson is really to think outside the box a little – this time the box was HP, there was no need to think that HP would have the solution to my problem – because in fact they would hardly be worried that I was going to buy a new scanner as the chances are that I would buy another HP….

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