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HP Officejet, Photosmart, and PSC All-in-Ones - 'Cannot Install this Hardware...The system cannot find the file specified.' Message Displays on the Computer in Windows XP during Software Installation


While the HP software installs on a computer running Windows XP, usually during Windows device discovery (Plug and Play), the following error message displays on the computer: 'Cannot Install this Hardware. An error occurred during the installation of the device. The system cannot find the file specified.'
Other 'Cannot Install this Hardware' error messages can occur during installation. This document addresses only errors that indicate that the installer cannot find the specified file.


A corrupt Windows installer might cause this problem. Follow these steps to remove any installed software, perform a System Restore to return the computer to the way it was before the product software was installed, and then download and install the most recent version of the product software.
The solution to this issue includes multiple steps, including steps to restart the computer. This page closes when the computer restarts. HP recommends that you bookmark or add this page to your Favorites in your Web browser. After the computer restarts, open your Web browser and select this bookmark (favorite) to continue the steps. You can also print this page, or save a copy to your computer.
Do not restart the computer now. Wait until prompted to do so in the instructions.

Step one: Uninstall the All-in-One software

Even if the installation failed, some HP software components might have installed on the computer. Follow these steps to use the Windows Add or Remove Programs tool to uninstall the software.
  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the product.
  2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  3. Click Add or Remove Programs. The Add or Remove Programs window opens.
  4. In the Currently installed programs list, select the following items if they are listed:
    • HP Officejet/Photosmart/PSC All-in-One software 9.0
    • HP Imaging device functions 9.0
    • HP Customer Participation program 9.0
    • HP Solution Center 9.0
    • HP Photosmart Essentials 9.0
    If the list of installed HP programs contains any version numbers less than 9.0, select the following items if they are listed:
    • HP Officejet/Photosmart/PSC All-in-One software XX (where XX represents a version number less than 9.0)
    • HP Imaging device functions XX
    • HP Customer Participation program XX
  5. Click Change/Remove, and then follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the software.
    If a prompt displays asking you to remove shared files, click No. Other programs that use these files might not work correctly if the files are deleted.
  6. Restart the computer when prompted to do so.

Step two: Perform Windows System Restore

Windows System Restore is a Windows process that allows you to reset the computer to a specific previous state, also known as a restore point. This process does not affect files on the computer. However, if you installed any software on the computer recently, you might have to reinstall the software after System Restore is complete. For more information about restore points and System Restore, go to the Microsoft Web site.
  1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click System Restore. The Windows System Restore program opens in a new window.
  2. Click Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next. The Select a Restore Point dialog box opens.
  3. Select a date that displays in bold type on the calendar to see the available restore points for that date. If an installation restore point created by the HP software installation displays in the list of restore points, select that restore point. If there are no installation restore points available, select a manual or system restore point that was created before the HP product was installed.
    If no restore points are available, continue with "Step three: Download and reinstall the software".
    Figure : Example of a date in bold
    Remember that if you installed any other software after the selected restore point and before today, you might need to reinstall that software.
  4. Click Next. The Confirm System Restore Point screen opens.
  5. Review the information on the Confirm System Restore Point screen, and then click Next.
    When the System Restore completes, the message Your computer has been successfully restored displays on the computer. Click OK, and then continue to the next step to reinstall the HP software.

Step three: Download and reinstall the software

The HP software CD that shipped with the product frequently does not contain the most recent version of the software and drivers. To make sure that the software is the most recent version and that there are no corrupt installers, download the software from the HP Web site.
The following table might help you decide which driver to download. Many products have more than one driver option on the downloads page. Choices might include a Basic type, and Full Feature type. If both options are available, the following information might help you decide which driver to download.
Basic type
Full Feature type
(Strongly Recommended)
HP does not recommend installing the basic driver unless you have one of the following reasons:
  • You plan to use the All-in-One for printing only.
  • You plan to scan with Microsoft WIA drivers, Twain drivers, or third party scanning software.
The basic driver is smaller and downloads more quickly. However, it does not provide the software needed by most users to copy and fax from the computer, and to use all the scanning features of the product.
For full use of all your product features: This driver provides complete product functionality for printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
HP also includes valuable software to help you get the most out of your product. The software varies by product, but here are some examples:
  • Searchable help files tailored to your product
  • Image-editing software
During the Full Feature installation process, you can choose a custom installation, where you select the specific software items that you want to install.
  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Disconnect the USB cable from the printer, if necessary. The software installation prompts you to connect the cable if needed.
  3. If a Let's identify your product to get started page displays, click Printer, type your printer model number, and then click Submit.
  4. If you need to change the operating system, click Change, select your version, and then click Change.
  5. Under the Driver heading, click Download for the full software package, or click Basic Drivers for other driver options.






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