While most people seem to be okay with buying a piece of hardware and hearing: “Ditch your old junk, get the new XYZ! So much better!!!” some years after that, I am not. And a very positive example for this is my old printer. A Brother HL-1030 B/W laser printer. (It's a little dirty and yellowish- can't get it really clean anymore)
The printer was bought near the end of 1999 and was about the cheapest laser printer I could find back then. It came with drivers for many operating systems – both on CD and 3½" floppy disk(!) for computers that did not yet have an optical drive:
Windows XP drivers were – obviously – not included but were made available online. Since Vista came out, it seemed my printer did not get any love from Brother anymore. The driver for the HL-1030 is missing. Whens searching for drivers for Windows version ≥ Vista the Brother site states “Windows has an inbox driver (use the HL-1430 instead)”.
Guess what? It worked. Up to Windows 8.1. For Windows 10 “HL-1430” does not show up in the driver list after clicking on “Windows Update”. But the German Brother site (did not search English) insists of a present “built-in driver” for Windows 10.
Okay. It’s a really old printer. But they have published this article recently. So why not ask the support?
A minute later the computer sent an auto reply. The automatic system admitted it was not able to interpret my text and advised me to install the latest firmware and drivers. (Yeah, then send me some drivers to install!) “If your problem is not solved this way, reply on this mail.”
I also did this. A day later there was a real answer - from a human. Partially at least. I was told my printer was old (big news…) and got the same link I had sent with my initial question. “Use the inbox driver.” The second part of this mail was computer generated rubbish, a text module telling me that inbox drivers did not include a scan app and I should use MS-paint for scanning. It is just a simple printer!!
“Brother Laser Leg Type1 Class Driver”
Mhhm. “Leg” like in “Legacy”? YES!! That was it. My printer is usable on a 2018 computer with Windows! The information on the Brother site is wrong (or only correct up to Windows 8.1).
Why do I insist on keeping my old printer? Why not? It works.
- It prints cheap: Third party toner cartridge less than 30€ for 6000 pages.
- The printer is good enough. Resolution is only 600dpi and speed max. 10 pages per minute. No problem for me.
- No bloated overcomplicated colorful special software needed.
- No early “Toner is empty, I will not continue!”- message. I decide when the time has come to replace the toner.
- I can print from very old and very new computers. Tested with a “laptop” from about 1990 with Windows 3.1.
- 27000+ pages printed and no problem.
- Toner cartridge and drum are separate parts:
I have been laughed at for keeping it. Over the almost 20 years I saw other people spending a fortune on ink jet printers and ink – which usually dried out at some point. My father bought a color laser printer. That was so much better than mine! And it is already busted. The black cartridge costed about 50€ for 1000 pages and the printer stopped when it decided “toner empty”.
When the time of computers without parallel ports started I got one of these:
Okay, it’s not a perfect printer. Only 2MB of RAM is too small for big graphics and the missing USB is not perfect (but 1999 I thought: Why pay more for USB? Don’t need that new stuff!). From the viewpoint of today, I should have bought the HL-1250 with USB, 4MB RAM and a slot for an additional EDO-RAM up to 32MB.
Overall: The driver support is excellent. Better than with other hardware. Graphic cards, my scanner, DVB-T card and more. None of them got drivers for so many OS. And upgrading to a newer OS might lead to a bad surprise with some hardware.
In my opinion this printer is an example for how it should be. Durable and easy to use. Hope for another 20 years with it.
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