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How to install an HP printer on Ubuntu

An in-depth tutorial on how to install an HP printer or multifunction on an Ubuntu system, using the HPLIP library.



This guide aims at being of help to those of you who have found problems with the installation of a HP printer or multifunction to dispose of its most advanced features. Most of the time problems arise from the lack of the most suitable drivers, and this is the reason why we will analyze the installation procedure, so that step by step you will come to have a HP printing driver on your Ubuntu system.

The HPLIP software

HPLIP is an interface developed by HP to give Linux printing, scanning and fax functionalities.
The last version available at the moment (2.8.9) supports 1.445 models of HP printers and most probably the printer you're going to install is listed there.
To be sure of this, you just need to check the page that contains the entire list of the supported printers.
After having identified your model of printer in the list, pay attention to the first parameter, Min. HPLIP Version, which represents the minimum version of HPLIP that you need.
Every Ubuntu system contains a version of HPLIP (i.e. mine is the 2.8.2) by default. To verify this, type the following command on terminal:

dpkg -l hplip

You shall get a message similar to this:

Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold

| Status=Not/Installed/Config-f/Unpacked/Failed-cfg/Half-inst/t-aWait/T-pend

|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)

||/ Name Version Description

+++-============-===================-======================================================

ii hplip 2.8.2-0ubuntu8 HP Linux Printing and Imaging System (HPLIP)

If in the first column you read the "ii" characters, it means that the version showed in the third column is currently installed on your computer.
If the installed version of HPLIP is lower that the minimum version that you require, keep reading, or skip to the next paragraph about the installation of a printer.

Updating HPLIP

The updating can be done in two different ways, even if the automatic updating is not always enough, as it depends on the last HPLIP version available in the Ubuntu repository.

Automatic Update

To update HPLIP to the last version in the Ubuntu repository, type the following on terminal

sudo apt-get update

followed by the command

sudo apt-get upgrade

Like this all the installed packs will be updated to the last version, including HPLIP.
After the update, run the check described above to get the number HPLIP version installed on your system and, in case it doesn't satisfy the requirements yet, keep reading and follow the manual procedure.
If the installed version is sufficient, skip to the next paragraph.

Manual Update

As reported on the official guide, the manual installation requires the following steps:
  1. Download the installation file on your computer (i.e. in the Home directory or on your Desktop)

  2. Open the terminal and move to the path where the file has been downloaded, typing for instance:

    cd ~/Desktop

  3. Type the following command and click <enter>

    sh hplip-2.8.9.run

  4. When requested, type in order:
    • "a" for automatic installation

    • "y" if the displayed version of Ubuntu corresponds to yours

    • "n" in case your printer can connect through USB (otherwise "y" if it uses a parallel port)

    • your root password

    • <enter> to start the installation

    • during the passage RESTART OR RE-PLUG IS REQUIRED, type "p" and, when requested, unplug and re-plug the USB cable of your printer, followed by a <enter> on terminal (if your printer uses a parallel port type "r" and follow the indicated steps)

    • at this point the software hp-setup will be automatically activated and you'll be able to finally start the installation procedure.



Should you encounter problems during the installation, leave a comment on this article and we shall try to find a solution together.

Installation of the printer

Through the automatic installation of the most recent version of hplip, or by typing the command "sudo hp-setup", you've arrived to the core of the installation.
Here a short summary of the operations to perform to get a HP printer on the darling Ubuntu system.
  1. select the "Connection Type" (usually USB) and click on Next

  2. select your printer between the automatically found ones and click on Next (if no printer is displayed, choose Find manually)

  3. click on Next on the 2 following pages

  4. click on Finish to complete the installation procedure and wait for the print of the test page.


Mark the HP printer as your default

To make the HP printer system default, select "Print" from the menu "Administration".
After inserting the root password and having displayed the list of installed printers, click on the name of your favourite printer.
At the option "Default Printer", click on "Make Default".
Well, we've come to the end of the installation procedure, now you only have to configure the printing options. From this step on, your loyal printer will be perfectly compatible with Ubuntu.

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