Fixing the HP Scanjet 5590 Front Panel Buttons with Active Chat debacle

[if you are looking for the solution to the problem jump to the bottom of the article]

We recently purchased what looked like a pretty decent scanner for our company. It had all the features we wanted without having to splash out on the expense of a full blown photocopier multi-function device. The HP Scanjet 5590 ticks all the right boxes, colour, ADF, TMA, Duplex, Copier etc. You can take a look at it on HP’s website.

A lesson in finding the right type of support

imageIt arrived, looked sturdy enough, and so I began install the software on the PC that was going to control it, a decent enough XP desktop PC that easily meet all the system requirements. However the software wouldn’t install properly. I uninstalled and reinstalled it at least 3 times, each with varying degrees of success. Sometimes just the TWAIN driver would install, other times the software loaded but crashed. I decided to give it a go on a spare laptop we had lying around and thankfully it installed without a hitch, or so I thought. I put it in the correct location in the main office and gave the “Copy” button a press on the front of the scanner. Now, this should just scan the document and print it out on the user’s default printer. Unfortunately it didn’t. In fact none of the buttons worked. After the problems I had on the first PC I was beginning to despair. Turning to my faithful servant, Google, I began searching to see if this was a common fault. As usual Google threw up numerous results to the badly monitored HP forums, as well as other sites. The problem seemed common enough but the answer was nowhere to be seen. So the next stage was the official HP support pages for the scanner. It turned out I had all the latest drivers, there where no relevant patches and the support articles where all irrelevant. It was time to bite the bullet and launch an online help request from HP. I say bite the bullet because, in previous experience, you get someone with a script in an offshore call center treating you like you’re a 500 year old invalid who has never touched a computer before, when all you really want is to talk to a like-minded techie who can point you in the right direction of the solution. The “chat” takes place online in a chatroom/IM style way. I’m posting the transcript below with my comments as it was possibly the most frustrating time spent

HP Instant Support Professional Edition

Step 1 – You are asked to provide details of your OS and the device in question, including serial numbers and part codes

Step 2 – Provide a description of the problem

The buttons on the front of the scanner are not responding when set to use the HP Scanning Software.

If I go to the Windows XP Control Panel > Scanners & Cameras > then go to the properties of the 5590, I can change the button events to use different software. This then makes it work. Also, if I tell the button to ask me which software to use every time I press a button then that also works, even if I choose the HP Scanning Software.

This is a problem because we want to use it as a simple photocopier but without the “Send to Printer” button working instantly, things are made more complicated

Step 3 – An chat window opens up and you are connected to an agent. Below is the dialogue in all its glory. My reflective comments are in italics

Active chat
[09 June 2010 11:46] — Automatically generated message:
Your request has been submitted to HP. We are working on your problem and will contact you online mostly in two minutes or less (Monday-Friday, between 9am and 3am Greenwich Standard Time). If you need immediate help, please call the telephone number on your HP Service contract, or go to to find the phone number of the HP customer care center to call.
[09 June 2010 11:47] — Automatically generated message:
For reference, your Case ID is 4615598075
[09 June 2010 11:47] — Automatically generated message:
A Support specialist, Vijayakumar K has been assigned to your case.

[09 June 2010 11:47] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 11:47] — Vijayakumar K says:
Hello Thom, thank you for contacting HP Active Chat Support. My name is Vijay and I see you have a question regarding your HP unit. Please give me 2 minutes to review your information. Thank you.
[09 June 2010 11:48] — Vijayakumar K says:
Thom, before we proceed, could you confirm the following details for our records?

1.Serial Number:
2.Model Number:
3.Operating system:

Hold on, I’ve already given them that??

[09 June 2010 11:49] — Vijayakumar K says:
Please ignore the previous message.
[09 June 2010 11:49] — Thom McKiernan says:
1.Serial Number: MY97S5R1WH
2.Model Number: L1911B
3.Operating system: wIN XP SP3

Too late, I hade already typed it

[09 June 2010 11:50] — Vijayakumar K says:
Thank you for the information.
[09 June 2010 11:52] — Thom McKiernan says:
FYI, I have already tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software and using a different USB port but that didn’t help

Thought I’d pre-empt his script to avoid waiting!

[09 June 2010 11:55] — Vijayakumar K says:
Please let know the model number of the scanner.

I’ve already given them that too??

[09 June 2010 11:55] — Thom McKiernan says:
Scanjet 5590

[09 June 2010 11:57] — Vijayakumar K says:
Please be online while I transfer it to a concern team.
[09 June 2010 12:00] — Automatically generated message:
A Support specialist, Jisha C has been assigned to your case.

Well that was a waste of 10 mins, never mind, I suppose they have to go through the process

[09 June 2010 12:01] — Jisha C says:
Hi Thom, my name is Jisha and I will be assisting you with the further troubleshooting. Please give me few minutes to review the history of this chat conversation and I will respond momentarily. Please be online. Thanks
[09 June 2010 12:01] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 12:06] — Jisha C says:
I understand that you are experiencing issues while scanning from the front panel buttons of HP Scanjet 5590 scanner, is that correct ?

[09 June 2010 12:06] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 12:12] — Jisha C says:
Is it scanning fine with HP Scanning software?
[09 June 2010 12:12] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 12:14] — Jisha C says:
Thom, this issue could occur if the button event to open the program is not set correctly.
[09 June 2010 12:14] — Jisha C says:
Please follow the below steps:

Click Start , then Control Panel . The Control Panel opens.
Double-click the Scanners and Cameras icon. The Scanners and Cameras window opens.
Right-click the scanner in use and then click Properties . The scanner properties window opens
Click the Events tab. If the Events tab is not available, refer to Solution 2.
In the Select an Event drop-down box, click a button event to highlight it.
In the Action section, click Start this program and then click the appropriate program for the button to start from the drop-down list.

[09 June 2010 12:15] — Thom McKiernan says:
As I stated in the original query the event only works if set to use different software or set to prompt

Does that sound sarcastic?

[09 June 2010 12:16] — Thom McKiernan says:
If it is set to use “HP Scanning Software” then nothing happens
[09 June 2010 12:19] — Jisha C says:
[09 June 2010 12:20] — Jisha C says:
Are you trying to copy from the scanner front panel buttons?
[09 June 2010 12:20] — Thom McKiernan says:
Yes but none of the other buttons work either

Another bit of pre-empting there 😉

[09 June 2010 12:23] — Jisha C says:
Please follow the above steps to perform self test:

1 Disconnect the USB cable and power cable from the scanner.
2 Ensure that the scanner power cable is still connected to the power source.
3 Press the Scan Picture ( ) and the Scan Slides or Negatives ( ) buttons on the front of the scanner at the same time while reconnecting the power cable to the scanner.
The carriage in the scanner should move forward. The scanner lamp should blink six times. Then the scanner carriage should move backwards.
4 To end the test, disconnect the power cable.

[09 June 2010 12:24] — Thom McKiernan says:
There is no Scan Slides or Negatives ( ) button

Dear god! Over half an hour on this chat and she probably isn’t even looking at the right scanner model!

[09 June 2010 12:30] — Thom McKiernan says:
If I hold down the Scan Document and the Scan Picture button while powering on the scanner then the carriage moves forward as described. The the LCD display flashes 99 continuously

I gave up waiting after 5 mins of silence

[09 June 2010 12:31] — Jisha C says:
[09 June 2010 12:36] — Jisha C says:
How was the scanning software installed?
[09 June 2010 12:37] — Thom McKiernan says:
From the CD that came with the scanner. This seems to be the same version available from the HP website
[09 June 2010 12:40] — Jisha C says:
Please insert the software CD, close the auto run window and browse and open the CD contents.
[09 June 2010 12:40] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 12:41] — Thom McKiernan says:
What next?

A tumbleweed rolls by

[09 June 2010 12:45] — Jisha C says:
Please let me know the driver letter that it takes,

My mouth drops open but I instantly reply

[09 June 2010 12:45] — Thom McKiernan says:
[09 June 2010 12:50] — Thom McKiernan says:
I’m still waiting for you to instruct me what to do next
[09 June 2010 12:51] — Thom McKiernan says:
Is this session still active???
[09 June 2010 12:52] — Jisha C says:
yes, I apologize for the delay in response. We were experiencing a temporary issue with the chat tool which caused the delay in response.

hmmm, the old “problem with my computer system” line

[09 June 2010 12:53] — Thom McKiernan says:
I’ve refreshed my browser
[09 June 2010 12:54] — Thom McKiernan says:
OK it seems back on track now
[09 June 2010 12:54] — Jisha C says:
Please follow the below steps:
1. Click on Start> Run
2. Type: msiexec /i E:setupScannerCopyScannerCopy.msi /qb+
3. And press Enter

After all that (10 whole minutes) and she gets the drive letter wrong!

[09 June 2010 12:55] — Thom McKiernan says:
Do you mean msiexec /i D:setupScannerCopyScannerCopy.msi /qb+
[09 June 2010 12:56] — Thom McKiernan says:
It gives an error because there is no ScannerCopy folder on the CD
[09 June 2010 12:58] — Jisha C says:

No its not Okay, what manual are you looking at???

[09 June 2010 12:59] — Jisha C says:
Please run msiexec /i D:setupsolutioncentersolutioncenter.msi /qb+
[09 June 2010 13:00] — Thom McKiernan says:
Okay, that is working
[09 June 2010 13:00] — Thom McKiernan says:
SolutionCenter Setup completed successfully
[09 June 2010 13:01] — Jisha C says:
Please run this as well:
msiexec /i D:setupscanscan.msi /qb+
[09 June 2010 13:02] — Thom McKiernan says:
Scan Setup completed successfully
[09 June 2010 13:03] — Jisha C says:
msiexec /i D:setupdestinationsdestinations.msi /qb+
msiexec /i D:setupDocProcDocProc.msi /qb+
[09 June 2010 13:04] — Thom McKiernan says:
Both successful
[09 June 2010 13:05] — Jisha C says:
Please try scanning again.
[09 June 2010 13:05] — Thom McKiernan says:
It still doesn’t work. No different to before.
[09 June 2010 13:07] — Jisha C says:
Please follow the instructions in the below link:

You’re giving me a link to an article? Is that you giving up then? Well over an hour later?

[09 June 2010 13:13] — Thom McKiernan says:
Solution 1 was already done

As you referenced it at 12:14!

Solution 2 doesn’t apply but thankfully Solution 3 worked!

That’s one whole hour ago you had the answer in front of you!!!

[09 June 2010 13:13] — Thom McKiernan says:
I had to enable the “terminal Services” service which was disabled in the Services admin tool
[09 June 2010 13:13] — Jisha C says:
Thats great!

It would have been more great if that document was linked on the product support page, or the initial agent gave me that to begin with!

[09 June 2010 13:14] — Jisha C says:
Is there any other technical issue that I may assist you with now?

Don’t tempt me, lets keep this civilised

[09 June 2010 13:18] — Thom McKiernan says:
That’s all, thank you and goodbye.
[09 June 2010 13:18] — Jisha C says:
If there are any comments that you would like to share with HP to improve your overall service experience, you could send an email at

You bet I will

[09 June 2010 13:18] — Jisha C says:
Thom, since we have completed troubleshooting your issue I am going to close this support request at this time. If you should need assistance in the future please revisit our Instant Support Program.
Thank you again for contacting Hewlett-Packard and have a great day!
[09 June 2010 13:19] — Automatically generated message:
The support specialist would like to close your service request. If your question has been resolved, you can click here to close it. If this did not answer your question, please submit the reason and we will provide you with more assistance.



So it turned out that the 93 minute “chat” could have been avoided if

  • HP had linked the document on the Scanjet’s support page
  • If they moderated their forums
  • If the active chat agents gave me the link to start off with instead of waiting at least an hour to divulge it.
  • If I had left the “5590” out of my “Scanjet 5590 front buttons not working” query
  • Even if, heaven forbid, the HP software actually checked to see if a required service was started as part of the install. I don’t know who to blame for my wasted morning but I don’t think it will be me.

For those who were experiencing the same issue as me and couldn’t be bothered to read the transcript you can click here to see the official troubleshooting guide. Basically, all I needed to do was enable the Microsoft “Terminal Services” service. What that has to do with scanner buttons working I have no idea. I would never have worked that out on my own.

I’ve emailed the HP feedback address I was given so we shall have to wait and see if they will do anything to avoid people going through the soul-draining morning I had.

Frustration successfully vented 🙂

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