Printer firmware: Things you should know before clicking ‘update’

In a world where technology evolves and updates faster than the speed of light, we’re all desperate to have the latest version. Whether it’s the newest software for your PC or mobile device or the most recent update for your favourite app, no one wants to get left behind. Security upgrades, in particular, have people clicking yes without even thinking about it. But, is an update always the right choice? If it’s the latest Windows patch then sure, go ahead. But, you might want to think twice before upgrading your printer firmware.

Printer drivers vs printer firmware

Firstly, it’s important not to confuse printer drivers and printer firmware. While these are both classified as upgrades, they are not the same thing. Drivers are pieces of software installed on your PC that enables the hardware to work. In the case of your printer, these drivers control the communication between your device and the PC. Usually, these updates are flexible, allowing you the option of returning to a previous version. And, they have no impact on the consumables you choose to use in your printer.

A firmware upgrade is more permanent and installed directly to the printer’s memory chip. Firmware will impact how your printer functions, potentially enhancing speed and performance. However, while manufacturers recommend these updates, they are difficult to reverse. If you’ve upgraded your printer firmware, you’ll be stuck with it until the release of a newer version.

Should you update your printer firmware?

Unfortunately, printer firmware upgrades are not always what they’re cracked up to be. Nevermind the fact that they are difficult to undo, but a firmware upgrade could end up downgrading your printer.

Picture this. You clicked ‘yes’ to the latest update that popped up on your PC. Now, assuming nothing went wrong during the process, you’re ready to print with the promise of improved functionality. You open your document and hit the print button. Nothing. Instead of your printer jumping into action, you receive an error message – ‘cartridge not recognised’. Your Inky Shop alternative ink cartridge is no longer working.

Unfortunately, some updates are designed to restrict the use of third party consumables. Once this update is in place, you’re limited to using the expensive original brand printer cartridges. If you prefer using compatible or remanufactured cartridges, updating your firmware isn’t always the best idea. It’s advisable to read through the information before agreeing to the firmware update. Once you’ve ticked the box, you’re accepting responsibility for anything that goes wrong.  

Can you use third party consumables?

The short answer is yes. Consumers have the right to purchase any aftermarket product of their choice. As per consumer law, manufacturers cannot void their warranties due to the consumer exercising this right. Often, remanufactured or compatible cartridges work out cheaper than their original counterparts. Hence their appeal. (Discover the difference of OEM, compatible and remanufactured cartridges). If your machine is in perfect working condition, and you’re happy with your cartridge choice, it might be wise to skip the next printer firmware update.

Are you looking for an excellent alternative to OEM cartridges? The Inky Shop alternative cartridges for inkjet, copier and toner printers are both affordable and high quality. Contact us today and let our friendly staff help you save money.

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