Fix for HP driver problems on macOS (“will damage your computer”)

This is a bit of a random post about fixing an HP driver issue on macOS, but I thought this might be useful, so I decided to share it. We’ll be back to the more usual Linuxy posts soon.

This guide roughly follows the guide at https://malwarefixes.com/hp-printing-problem-on-mac-will-damage-your-computer/ but includes a number of corrections.

Introduction to the issue

So my family has an HP printer, and everyone except me uses a Mac. Recently, someone started to get the following error message (and similar) randomly:

macOS HP driver warning
macOS HP driver warning

This is quite a worrying pop up to get, given it manages to be both vague, in the usual Apple way, but very threatening at the same time. It somewhat reminds me of the “Catastrophic Failure” message that can happen on Windows 10. Scanning and printing often also don’t work once this starts happening.

Why is this happening?

Rest assured, this isn’t anything to be scared about in this instance. All that’s happened is that some of HP’s older software and printer drivers were signed with a key that was accidentally revoked.

macOS then sees the applications and drivers are signed with a revoked key and (reasonably) assumes they might be malware or some other kind of unwanted program, and issues the warning.

I must say, I am really not impressed with the error message here. I know Apple error messages are often vague, as the methodology seems to be about trying to hide complexity from the user, but in this case, I feel they’d be better off saying something like:

macOS HP driver warning (edited)
macOS HP driver warning (edited)

Which, most importantly, makes it clear that the software has been disabled and won’t run. That might seem like a bold claim, but you’ll see why I’m confident of this very shortly.

Fixing the HP driver on macOS

There are a few different ways. I ended up doing this a very manual way, as nothing else worked, but we’ll cover the simple way first.

First remove your printer

Go to Printers in System Preferences, and remove your printer like so:

Printer System Preferences
Printer System Preferences

Method 1: HP Easy Start

HP offers a utility which functions as both an installer and uninstaller for the HP software and drivers.

You can download the package using this direct link: https://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software12/HP_Quick_Start/osx/Applications/HP_Easy_Start.app.zip, or by navigating to HP’s Support Centre and looking up the name of your printer, which is the way I did it.

Please note: When I tried it, HP’s Support Centre did not work properly with Safari. I had to use Firefox instead as the page just refused to load.

Once you’re got HP Easy Start, run the application, and once the window appears, navigate to “HP Easy Start -> Uninstall HP Software” in the menu, and follow the instructions. Then, you can use HP Easy Start to set up the printer again.

Uninstall HP Software Menu Option
Uninstall HP Software Menu Option

If you’re unlucky like me, HP Easy Start simply won’t open at all. If this happens to you, read on.

Method 2: The manual way

So, if HP Easy Start won’t work, then it’s probably because it can’t use the frameworks that it needs to open, because they are blocked. But you need to open it to remove those frameworks… Do you see where I’m going here?

The workaround is to do this manually. You may want to print these instructions or have them open on another computer as you’ll need to restart your Mac. Here are the steps:

  • Create a new folder on your Desktop called “OldHPDrivers”.
  • Open Terminal by heading to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.
The Terminal App
The Terminal App
  • Now we’ll move the frameworks to this new folder:
    • Copy “sudo mv /Library/Printers/hp/* $HOME/Desktop/OldHPDrivers” without the quotes and hit enter.
    • Once you’re returned to the command prompt, close Terminal and reboot your Mac.
  • Now your Mac should start up with no warnings.
  • You can now safely delete the OldHPDrivers folder from your desktop.
  • Then turn on your printer and use HP Easy Start to set it up and install the HP driver again, and all should be fine.
  • It’s a good idea to print a test page and try scanning something now to make sure it works (I had to use Apple’s scanning tool as HP’s one refused to install).

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you resolve the HP driver issue, and gets your printer back in working order. If you were just reading for interest, I also hope this was interesting. If you have any issues, let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.

That’s it for now, but with the next post we’ll be back to the usual status updates and Linuxy posts. I intend to have more of the Raspberry Pi drone posts out soon as well. Stay tuned for more!

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm currently studying for a Computing and IT degree with the Open University, and am a software developer as well. I enjoy coding in Python, C++ (still learning), and Java. Having written 4 open-source programs (hosted on launchpad.net), set up my own website, and started volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system, I still find the time to enjoy cycling, acting, photography, and playing bass guitar. I go climbing every now and then as well. More recently, I wrote my first commercial program, Disk Verifier, and created a PSID Unlocker GUI for Parted Magic. I also create tutorial and other informative videos for Parted Magic LLC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *