How to access hidden features in your printer through its web server

Access features in your printer you didn't know existed

How to access the web server inside some wireless printers, such as HP models.

Did you know that some printers have a built in web server? It can be used to access settings and features no normally accessible. let’s take a look at an HP printer and see what it can do.

HP wireless printers have a built in web server and some other wireless printer makes might have web servers too. Why do printers have a web server?

One reason is so that you can easily access settings and functions wirelessly and without the need for any software on a computer, phone or tablet. Just think, you could sit back with your feet up and configure your printer using your phone.

I will be using an HP DeskJet 3630 all-in-one printer and scanner for this and the menus and features may be different on your printer, but they won’t be very different.

I will also just focus on a few features rather than try to cover everything - there is too much! Use these examples to explore the features and functions in your own printer.

Printer properties

We need to find the IP address of the web server in the printer and the way to do this is by opening the Control Panel. Open Devices and Printers and find the printer icon. Right click it and select Properties on the menu.

Printers and Devices in the Windows Control Panel

 

Get the IP address

Select the Web Services tab in the Properties window that opens. About half way down is Web page and next to it is the IP address of the printer. You can type this into a web browser, but clicking the link saves you the effort.

Printer properties in Windows

 

The printer web server

The home page of the printer's web server is displayed. This is the HP DeskJet 3630's and your's may be different. For example, this has scanning capabilities, but if your printer doesn't scan then it won't have the section in the web server.

The web server in the HP DeskJet 3630 printer

 

Power management features

Let's take a look at some of the more interesting features. For example, click Settings in the menu bar and then expand Power Management. There is an Auto Off setting and this automatically cuts the power to the printer after a certain period of inactivity.

There is also an Energy Save Mode and this reduces the power consumption to a minimum after 5, 10 or 15 minutes. The printer is still on and will still print, but it is using less power. It takes a few seconds longer to start printing because it must get back up to full power.

Printer power management features on HP DeskJet printers

 

Reduce printing noises

Is your printer noisy? Does it disturb your concentration or your music? Put it into quiet mode! Not all printers have a quiet mode, but this one does and it reduces the noise when printing. Go to Settings, expand Preferences and select Quiet Mode. Turn it on or off.

Select quiet mode in HP printer preferences

 

Is your printer spying on you?

If it is a wireless printer, the answer is probably yes. Take a look at Settings > Preferences > Anonymous Usage Information Transmission. The checkbox Automatically send anonymous usage data to Hewlett-Packard is ticked by default. No doubt there was something in the terms and conditions when the printer was originally set up, but who reads those?

The information is anonymous and you are not identified. However, everything you do is sent back to HP! Just read what it says on this page! Does this bother you? It can be disabled if you prefer not to send it.

HP printer usage information

 

Update the printer firmware

The firmware is the software that controls the printer and sometimes it is updated to fix bugs or security problems or improve compatibility. Select Tools > Printer Updates > Firmware Updates.

There is a Check Now button to check for updates and a checkbox to Install updates automatically (recommended). If automatic updates are set, the printer prints out a message whenever an update is installed. This feature is available if the printer is wireless and the wireless network is connected to the internet.

Printer firmware updates

 

Fix printer problems

If you are experiencing problems with the printer, there are some tools to help you solve them. Go to Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox. You can print a diagnostic report with the first option. The second option is to align the print heads and this runs through the setup when new ink cartridges are installed.

There are two Clean buttons to remove ink buildup in the printer and to clean the print heads. Use these if the printing is smudged.

Fix problems with HP printers using the tools

 

Get a usage report

How many pages has the printer printed? How many ink cartridges has it used? How many photos have been printed? The answer to all these questions and more can be seen by going to Tools > Reports > Usage Report.

See a usage report for your wireless HP printer

There are many more settings and functions in the web server, but I will leave those for you to discover. Some you may find elsewhere, such as in the Windows 10 HP printer app, but some are only accessible here.

 


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