Why has my HP printer become a DVD? A fix for HP USB Printers not being detected on Windows 10/11

Today I made the fateful mistake of offering to try to fix a family members home printer. Family IT, and especially printers, the bane of all IT Professionals.

The Problem

The system in question was a 10 year old setup made up of a Dell Optiplex desktop currently running Windows 10 and an HP M1132 LaserJet multifunction printer. This had all been working until a couple of weeks ago when the PC failed to detect the printer. The printer was uninstalled, assuming that would fix the problem, but the Add Printer tools could not even find the printer.

I tried all the normal things, power cycle everything, swap the USB cable, reinstalling drivers, tested the printer on my Windows 11 laptop, all to no effect.

I was close to giving up, assuming the USB circuitry on the printer must have failed. However, just before I gave up, I noticed that when you plugged the USB printer cable in a DVD was detected by the PC. HP used this means, or at least did 10 years ago, to ship the drivers and other HP bloatware they deemed necessary. Until recently after this DVD was detected, Windows when onto detecting the printer. It was this second step that had failed, and I suspect the cause was a recent Windows (10 & 11) Security Update.

The Solution

Turns out the solution was in the HP Support Forum, but it took some finding as the forums are full of wrong answer, half solutions and confusion.

Basically you need to run a utility that disable the HP Smart Install DVD feature, so the printer does not appear as a DVD. Once this was done the expected Windows Add Printer Wizard worked as expected.

So that was two hours of my life I won't get back, and I do wonder how many older HP printers will end up landfill due to what I assume is a Windows Security update to block some autorun run vulnerability?