How to use the other black ink cartridge when one is empty on your Canon Pixma MX850 Printer!

My Canon Pixma MX850 printer is one of the Canon series that uses the 4 small CLI-8 color cartridges (black, yellow, blue and magenta) and then has the large PGI-5 black cartridge, which is what the printer uses when printing regular black and white text. The smaller CLI-8 black cartridge is only used for printing photos and colored documents that require black coloration… now, in the world that us simple folk live in, you would think that if one black runs out, it would use the other black as a backup, right? Not so my friends, the Canon doesn’t use that kind of logic and there’s no way to bypass it within the printer’s menu. BUT FEAR NOT! With a couple of clicks, you can trick the printer in to using the other cartridge.

First off, this applies to when your large black cartridge is empty… the one used for printing standard black and white documents. So if you’re printing out your thesis at 4AM when everything is closed and run out of ink mid-way through, this will save your ink-starved derriere! Here’s how to force the printer to use the smaller ink cartridge:

  1. Click on print to get the print options window in whatever program you’re using… This is the window where you normally select the printer you want to use, how many copies etc.
  2. Within that window, you should see a link, button or icon that allows you to adjust the printer settings, such as paper, paper source, ink use etc.
  3. Switch the paper type from regular paper to “high resolution paper”.
  4. Click OK and close the settings window.
  5. Print your document.
  6. Post a comment on this post telling me if it worked.
  7. Mail me your underwear a check.


Hope that helps someone out there!  It saved my ass last weekend when I had to print tickets with barcodes 20 minutes before leaving for the St. Sauveur Aquapark!


How to get your HP Scanjet 5300c Scanner Working in Windows Vista!


If you’re reading this tutorial and are indeed the owner of a Scanjet 5300c or other 5300 model, and you recently upgraded to Windows Vista, then you are probably one pissed off individual.? Like me, you went to the HP website to download the Vista drivers and you were greeted by this PATHETIC message:

We are sorry to inform you that there will be no Windows Vista support available for your HP product. Therefore your product will not work with Windows Vista.

The majority of HP products not supported in Windows Vista are beyond seven years old. If you are using the Windows Vista operating system on your computer, please consider upgrading to a newer HP product that is supported on Windows Vista.

HP has numerous products on the market that support Windows Vista:

I actually had to re-read this, especially since I bought this scanner 4 years ago, not 7. So at this point, I swore an oath that I will NEVER purchase another HP product based on this blatant laziness on the part of HP and trying to shove their clients to buying new products for no reason. I was fuming for days after this, I seriously couldn’t believe they would essentially crap on their clients like this. I can understand phasing out very old products, but my 5300c was purchased at a retail store in 2003 or 2004.

So, I started fooling around with the settings and guess what? I found out how a simply adjustment that takes 5 seconds will get your 5300c scanner to work fine with your HP Precision Scan Software! Ready to take back control of your perfectly good HP scanner? Here’s how you do it:

Installing the Drivers and Software

Step 1 – Visit the HP website driver page for the 5300c or whichever 5300 series Scanjet you have. Here’s the driver page for HP Scanjet 5300c.

Step 2 – Ignore the “Check for automatic updates” section at the top of the page and scroll down to the bottom and click on the “Download Only” button to save the sj664en.exe file to your hard-drive.

Step 3 – Run the application to install the Precision Scan software and drivers and then connect your Scanjet to your PC. You should now see the Precision Scan software in your program list like this:

You’ve successfully install the software and drivers! Time to tweak the settings to get your scanner working again.

Software Settings

Step 1 – You’re not going to believe just how simple and easy this tweak is to get your scanner working again, and quite frankly HO should be ashamed of themselves.? With your programs open in the Start Menu in the previous step, right click on the HP Precision Scan folder and click on Properties.

Step 2 – Once the Properties window opens, click on the Security tab and you’ll notice that All Users doesn’t have “Full Control” access to the application. Click on the Edit button to fix the permissions.

Step 3 – In the Edit window, click on each user and click on the Allow check-box for Full Control.? It’s important to ensure that every user type has full control.

After you’ve assigned full control access permissions to all users, click Apply and OK to return to the Properties window:

Then click OK in the main Properties window:

Step 4 – Now your new permissions SHOULD apply to all the applications in that HP Precision Scan folder, but you should repeat all the steps above to ensure that all the listed applications are all set to Full Control for all users.
After that, you’re in business!

It’s Scan Time!

Now click on the HP Precision Scan utility and the scanning utility will come up.? Click to scan and you will no longer get the “No scanner connected” error that you were getting before if you were trying to use the XP drivers without tweaking the security settings as described in this tutorial.


I think Canon just won themselves a new customer next time I go scanner shopping.


How to Share a Local Printer on your Network with Other Computers with Vista

Welcome to another Vista based tutorial!  Today I am going to teach you just how easy it is to share a locally attached printer with other computers on your network.  By locally attached, I mean a printer that is connected locally to a PC via a USB or parallel adapter, and is not connected to a HUB or Router.  We’re going to create the share with Vista, but you will be able to link to the share from any Windows machine.
This tutorial is split into 2 sections… first we will look at how to create the share, then we will look at how to add the shared printer to your other computers.
Shall we dance?

Creating the Shared Printer

Step 1 – Click on Start > Printers to load the Printers configuration menu:

WARNING: You may have to customize your Windows Start Menu to enable the Printers button so it shows up in the Start Menu like in the Screenshot.  If you don’t want to do that, click on Start > Control Panel to open your control panel and double-click the Printers Icon to access the Printers Configuration Menu.

This is what the Printers Configuration Menu looks like once it’s opened.  It will list any Online or Offline printers you currently have installed:

Pro Tip: You can assign a share name if you don’t want to use the default.  You can use any name you want!  You can also attach driver packs, which allows you to install the share from other Windows versions without having to have the drivers on hand from those PCs.  If you don’t add driver packs here, you may have to have the drivers on-hand from any non-Vista PCs you attach to the shared printer.  Not a big deal, just giving you a heads up!

Step 4 – Once you click OK, it will process the Share request for a second or two and then go back to the main Printer menu.  You will notice that your printer now has the Shared icon attached to it:

You’re done!  Your printer is now shared and ready for use by other computers on your network.  Let’s look at page two to learn how to add this shared network printer on your other computers!

Adding the Share to Other Computers

Adding the shared Printer is extremely easy, but may vary slightly depending on the version of Windows you are using to add the printer.  The steps will be very similar to the process we’ll use here in Vista, but you may have to install drivers for your OS.

WARNING: If you are going to be adding this shared printer from a version of Windows that is different than the version used to create the share, be sure to download and have the appropriate drivers ready in case your OS requires them.

Step 1 – Once again, open up the Printers Configuration Menu and click on Add a Printer:

Step 2 – You will then be prompted to select either a local or network printer installation.  Be sure to select network printer!

Step 3 – Now this is where things may be different depending on your version of Windows.  In Vista, you will be presented with a listing of available shared printers on your entire network automatically, but others may have your browse a list of PCs with shares attached to them.  If you are using the browse method, just find the network name of the PC that is sharing the printer and double click it and it should show you the printer itself.  Click on that and you’re in business.
Here in Vista it’s pretty straight forward… all you have to do is click the shared printer you want and click Next:

Step 3 – Name your printer to whatever you want or stick with the default and click next:

Step 4 – Click Finish and you’re done!  You can also fire off a test page just to make sure your share is set up properly:

WARNING: Take note that the share only works when the PC that is hosting the share is turned on!  If the machine to which the printer is connected is not powered up, your documents will not print from other PCs.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!