Sunday, January 03, 2010

My Travails With A Scanner

I've been busy the last days and a half, messing around with a scanner (two of them, actually) that I got.

The scanner is a Lexmark one, with a printer, a fax, etc., built in. It's supposed to be "easy install," which turned out not to be the case.

It probably would've been easy if this was an XP or Vista computer. Then the install disc would've been just great. But, according to the box, it was also good for Windows 7, only you need to get whatever you need at their website.

I went there and I couldn't find any directions on how to do it. As far as it seemed to me, I was just left high and dry.

You think, do I use the install disc? Who knows? I downloaded the driver for Windows 7, but the instructions were pretty clear that you needed to use the install disc, which loads who knows what. I know by hindsight what I should've done now, but I didn't know at the time.

Once you've done the install disc, I didn't see any instructions on what to do with the driver. I'm not the dumbest person in the world. But I would've appreciated some actual help.

I installed it, then I was using it. But I couldn't really use it because it kept telling me I needed something called Microsoft NET framework 2.0. So I'm wasting a terrible amount of time trying to get that. Instead, it turned out I didn't need that at all. That Windows 7 already has something that's more advanced than that. But as much messing around as I did with it, I'm lucky I didn't delete it or get something installed that was less. I definitely tried!

I'm doing scans with the scan button on the scanner. They're chopping off every time, some kind of insane auto cropping function. The "letter" size wouldn't work reliably. It was a mess. And I'm thinking, You mean every time I want to do a scan I have to go through all these options??

After an hour or so of complaining and tearing out hair, I thought, I could just try to install the driver that I downloaded (and forgot about). If it screws it up further, I can probably go back and delete the whole works, I thought. Anyway, what's the difference? It wasn't working anyway. It's not like it was going to mess it up.

I installed it and suddenly things started working. Hallelujah. Then it was a matter of figuring out the software that came with it. Nothing very advanced, nothing very good, but it worked. Not enough options in my opinion. I like precision when it comes to scanning, but it seems like we're going backwards in the scanning options we have.

Once it was working I felt a lot better. Today, then, I was thinking about VueScan, which I got for my old scanner. I wondered if it's work on this Lexmark printer, and it sure did. It has more options than the built-in software.

Today, then, I thought I might go get another one. Since the software's installed, if I have a printer/scanner at my office and one at my home -- both identical -- I can plug it in and everything will work.

That turned out to be true. But I was surprised that it was listed as two separate scanners, which I had to choose from, etc. I was hoping it wouldn't know the difference and it'd be just the same scanner.

I had lots of other travails, and still don't know the full story. The "mode: flatbed/doc reader" option disappeared from VueScan, and I bet I spent an hour and a half messing around with, looking for it. Finally I did something, I don't know what (at the office) and got it back. Disconnect this, unplug that, etc. So I did a bunch of scans.

Then I brought the computer back to the house and hooked it up to the other scanner. The "mode: flatbed/doc reader" option disappeared again. And so that meant more hair pulling, more grumbling, more headaches. Their help screen didn't give any useful information on the subject.

Finally, when nothing else would work -- unplugging, etc. -- I decided to restart the whole computer. I did and it said it was "reconfiguring" Windows, a very scary idea to me. But when it all came back up it worked again! Weird, though, it took away my desktop background, like yesterday as well, and it was just black as a background.

Now we're at a good place. I guess. I still don't know why it screwed up. And I don't want to be rebooting all the time. But at least it worked. I should say, it worked when I last used it. Who knows what might have gone wrong in the meantime?

No comments: