30
May
09

Get your old Scanner going on Vista

Time for a tech piece.

Have you recently upgraded to Vista or Windows 7 only to find that the software supplied with your scanner (or printer combo) doesn’t work? I have [1].

Drivers probably won’t be a problem, Vista detected my Hewlett Packard PSC 1410 and installed it automatically, I suspect the same will happen with yours, although you may have to let windows search on-line if you have a less common scanner. Despite the drivers being installed and windows recognising it as a scanner [2] How do you scan it? Microsoft saw fit to remove the Scan and Fax program in home versions of Vista so as far as I knew I had no software with which to initiate a scan.

When I installed the same scanner on Windows XP it came with a disk containing software that allowed you to control the scanner, I didn’t particularly like this program anyway [3] so when I found out it wouldn’t work on Vista I decided not to rush to the Hewlett Packard website for an update but to search for an alternative instead. In my search I discovered that Windows Home Premium does indeed have software capable of scanning a picture, it is just not immediately obvious that it exists.

The first thing you need to do before scanning is to check that the scanner drivers have installed. To do this open your control panel and select scanners and cameras.

Sanner1

Hopefully your scanner will be listed, if it is not then you are yet to install the drivers. Depending on the age and model this could be tricky, but with luck windows update will find them for you and you won’t have to worry. I am going to assume you have the scanner correctly installed, in which case it should already show.

Sanner2

While you are here you can set up some scan profiles so you don’t have to worry about selecting the right settings each time you scan. The two you see in the image were already there and I didn’t see the need to add my own.

Sanner3

When you are happy with that it is time to go on to the scanning. Unlike the software supplied with most scanners there is no dedicated program for scanning in Vista Home Premium, this is why it took me so long to find. Instead you have to open Windows Photo Gallery.

Sanner4

As you can see, under the file menu there is an option to import from scanner or camera. This is what we are going to use.

Sanner5

After selecting it we are asked where we want to get our images from, selecting the scanner from the list and clicking import brings up the scanner dialogue.

Sanner6

After selecting suitable scan settings, or one of the presets made earlier, you can hit preview. For this example I am scanning in the printer test page I printed out earlier.

Sanner7

Once that has been done you can crop the image to size (or leave as it is) by dragging the handles in the preview window.

Sanner8

When you are happy with your selection hit scan.

Sanner9

It gives you the option to tag the image before saving it to a folder (named the current date) in your pictures folder.

Sanner10

And you are done! Obviously there are drawbacks to using Windows Photo Gallery or scanning, there is no optical character recognition for a start, but if you just want to scan in a few documents or photos then it is perfectly adequate. If you want more then you will have to find a third party program to do it.

I also found that The GIMP has similar scanning functionality, so if you have that installed and don’t want to use Windows Photo Gallery then that is an option. It is under File>Create>Scanner or Camera if you want to give that one a go.

Sanner11

The GIMP gives you more control over file formats and where to save the image when you are done but other than that it is pretty similar to the Windows Photo Gallery scanner.

Well I hope this helps someone, It would have certainly helped me to know this the other day…

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[1] For me the upgrading wasn’t recent, the discovering the scanner wouldn’t work was.
[2] The printer part worked perfectly immediately by the way.
[3] The auto cropping keeps missing parts of the image and there seems no way to turn it off. I have had to draw a sharp line where I want it to crop to in order to scan my image before now.

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