HP LJ 3055 HPTLBXFX.EXE Issues: One More Time With Feeling

Crazy ass HPTLBXFX.EXE problems are coming back to haunt me once again. You may or may not remember it from my last encounter with this crap back in January. It almost, kinda-sorta got resolved back then. Almost…

Today it hit us back like a ton of bricks with 100% CPU usage. I grabbed my trusty Process Explorer and started snooping around. It turns out that the CPU load was spread evenly between the following processes:

HPTLBXFX.EXE – sitting low at 5-10% of CPU time
WMIPRVSE.EXE – oscillating between 60% and 80%
SPOOLSV.EXE – keeping even on 20-25%

Killing HPTLBXFX.EXE would cause the spooler and WMI provider to stop going ape-shit and bring down to CPU usage to normal levels. Starting it back up again would bring the craziness back. So I decided to do something else:

net stop spooler

FLAP! That’s the sound of the CPU usage graph falling down and hitting rock bottom almost as fast as my jaw did. This is different from the last time. Back then spooler didn’t even factor into the equation now it seems like it is definitely one of the main culprits. When I started it again, it was back to crazy CPU town all over again.

I checked the local printer but it had no jobs on it. One of the network printers (which was fortunately not a HP Laser Jet 3055 – it was actually a Dell printer) had around 20 documents queued up with the first one bearing status of “Deleting”. Shit got stuck on the queue! It happens. I walked to the main print server, logged in and cleared out the queue. Didn’t work – jobs began pooling on it once again.

In a sudden flash of epiphany I decided to check out the printer itself. It turns out that the cleaning people either kicked out the tiny wireless print server from the power socket, or just pulled it out to plug in the vacuum cleaner. I plugged the damn thing back in, and the machine started spewing paper.

Glad that I solved one problem I went back to the original machine with the HPTLBXFX.EXE only to find it working perfectly with no signs of elevated CPU usage. Using my awesome deduction skills I came to the following conclusion:

HPTLBXFX.EXE is one crazy motherfucker. It will cause all kinds of issues bothering both the spooler and your WMI providers if even a single printer on your system seems to have stuck jobs on the queue. And it won’t care if it’s not the 3055 printer. It wants them all – HP or not, real or virtual. It will check all of them, and start going wild if one of them has issues. But you won’t see it doing it – the process that will get in trouble is WMIPRVSE.EXE. Resolving the queue problem will cause a sharp drop in the CPU usage and both WMIPRVSE.EXE and HPTLBXFX.EXE will go back to their dormant idle state. Temporary fix that might help you regain control over the machine to some degree is of course is killing the Toolbox executable, or stopping the spooler.

So, did I mention yet that HP Laser Jet 3055 software is an annoying piece of shit, that causes more problems than it is worth? I don’t think I will ever buy a multi-function printer-fax-scanner device from HP ever again. Not because of the hardware (which is actually pretty good) but because of the atrociously awful software that is required to fully utilize the scanning and fax capabilities.

[tags]hp, laser jet, hp laser jet 3055, lj 3055, HPTLBXFX.EXE, WMIPRVSE.EXE, SPOOLSV.EXE, cpu, cpu usage[/tags]

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7 Responses to HP LJ 3055 HPTLBXFX.EXE Issues: One More Time With Feeling

  1. jambarama UNITED STATES Epiphany Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    The antispam word I got was appropriately: kludge. I’ve found many hp printer drivers suck, for one hp printer I had to download a 250+mb suite of crap to get the stupid driver.

    On the other hand, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the *nix HPUX drivers. I doubt if they support a multi-function printer (printing is probably it, *maybe* scanning with sane or something), but not bad. On the other hand, Brother has decent windows drivers for their MFC devices, but the *nix ones they distribute are awful.

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  2. ths UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Same for me: my wife has an officejet G95 with ethernet printerbox in her office, and the windows software is terribly bad. I cannot shutdown any windows machine without the dialog box “the process hpbla07.exe cannot be stopped. choose end now or cancel”.
    Best thing was when calling the telephone support the guy insisted this problem stems *only* from there being a linux server in the network. He didn’t care that the printer is not in any way connected to the linux server. He asked me to remove the linux box from the network. Obviously I hung up then.
    For me, the hardware is equally bad designed. There’s a container to catch spilled ink, but you cannot empty it, and you cannot reach it from the outside without loosening 42 screws.

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  3. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    @jambarama – heh, it’s funny how the randomized captchas sometimes seem almost context aware. Our brains seem to be wired for pattern finding, and reading behavioral signals from other living beings. Thus any sufficiently random function will exhibit seemingly emergent behavior when observed long enough. :mrgreen:

    Never tried Brother printers. We have around 5 HP printers and one bigass Dell color printer here at work. I think we bought that one because it was the best deal. An HP with equivalent speed and dpi was like 3x as much. It’s an ok printer but a little funky. The way it’s designed, it has very few moving parts so when it jams, it’s fun times. Fortunately it doesn’t really jam as often as it’s HP brothers and sisters.

    Oh, and naturally dell provides no Linux drivers. I kindoff gave up on that one – I hardly ever need to print in color, and if I do, I just do it from the Win2k box at my desk.

    If you buy an HP printer (and just a printer) the drivers are usually decent. Most of the time you don’t need their crappy software to actually use the device. For example, I’m really happy with HP LaserJet 2040. You don’t need extra software to run it, and it works well with Linux.

    @ths – I think this is called “passing the ball”. If they can convince you that it’s some 3rd party component that is causing the problem they get to close the call and mark it as resolved. This is kinda like when you call Dell and they decide it’s a “software problem” and tell you to reinstall windows.

    Actually, any intermittent problem that can’t be easily reproduced is a “software problem” as far as Dell is concerned. It’s just easier that way. Sigh…

    Re: hardware design – I guess it really depends on the printer. For example the 2040 I mentioned above can pretty much be taken apart with bare hands. Same goes for HP LJ 4100. You can pretty much replace any part yourself if you need to. Actually the 4100 was at the office longer than most of the staff (and we really do not have a high volume turnaround – people tend to work here for a long time) and it’s still going strong. The fuser did go bad at one point, but few days and about $100 later it was back in business.

    You’re right though – the multifunction things do tend to be shitty.

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  4. Amandell UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I have a multi-function HP 3050 – normally I don’t load printer software but this one had a scanner so… – exact same problem was driving me nuts – could not shut down wmiprvse and could not figure out why cpu usage was running at 95-100% – finally hit on shutting down hptlbxfx and usage dropped immediately – but still need to scan so need a permanent solution – what a joke – thanks for validating my conclusion

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  5. I did a search and stumbled across the symptoms described hogging CPU usage. I have a Laserjet 2605dn that uses the same softaware i.e. HP tool box and wondered why my CPU was so slow (100% usage). I had a problem with a simulated print driver Adobe PDF that was stuck. After your comment about the Dell printer I checked and found I had 11 documents on the Adobe PDF printer. I deleted all the print jobs which unstuck the Adobe PDF printer and voila the HP tool box usage dropped from a steady 100% to reasonable levels. Looks like a bug in the HP software which goes crazy if another unrelated printer is stuck and the queue becomes large.

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  6. Escondido UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    This solution worked for me:

    – Load printer firmware update
    – Load update to the HP Toolbox software

    I don’t think the firmware update had anything to do with it, but I did it anyway.

    After loading HP’s software, my computer utilization looked like a hospital heart monitor – down to a few %, then up to 30%, down to a few %, up to 30%. After doing this fix, it only peaked out at 8%.

    The HP Toolbox update can be found at HP’s LaserJet 3055 software download page.

    Go to the “Update” section, download the ToolboxFX Update. The firmware update can be found on the same page, but again, I’m not convinced that actually did anything.


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  7. J. Ruiterman CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I resolved the problem by downloading a driver from the same page that Escondido had . However, I opted to download the driver that claimed to be for Scan and Print only ( 33.6 mb ) The total suite is a whopping 364.8 mb. I had originally networked the unit and changed it to the USB cable. Some may need to have the printer networked – I can do without it.

    I am still able to send and receive faxes, scan , copy and print. It seems that ToolBxFX must really be “bloated” software to monitor ?? and add little polish to a good machine.

    When I first had the problem, HP support suggested a patch which never did work. So I would regularly turn off ToolBxFX off and restart the WMIPRVSE.EXE service.

    When it comes time for me to upgrade, I will definitely look for alternatives

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