Help File: A Fix For Unsupported Scanners; iLife '08 in Snow Leopard

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, September 13, 2009

QAfter upgrading my operating system, the old drivers for my scanner no longer work, and the manufacturer doesn't have any newer ones for me to download. Now what?

AThis happens more often than it should -- for example, as I noted in my column last week, an upgrade to Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard left an iMac with no way to scan images through an otherwise functional Hewlett-Packard printer-scanner unit.

Selling the device to somebody else -- then buying a new model from a vendor with a better record of supporting its older hardware -- is one option. But if your scanner is valuable enough to you, Hamrick Software's VueScan ( can probably keep it operational.

This $39.95 program supports hundreds of scanners from dozens of manufacturers and comes in versions for every version of Apple and Microsoft's operating systems since Mac OS 9 and Windows 95 (plus releases for Linux). It's free to try, although it will embed dollar-sign watermarks in scans until you pay to register it.

A reader suggested this to me some time ago, citing her own positive experience, and the HP scanner worked perfectly in VueScan's trial download.

A rep in one of Apple's stores said I could install the regular Snow Leopard DVD on a Mac running Tiger, but that my old copy of iLife wouldn't work. Is that true?

No: iLife '08 doesn't appear on Apple's list of software incompatible with the new operating system, and users on Apple's tech-support forums have confirmed that it works fine in Snow Leopard. This isn't exactly the first time a computer store's employee has offered advice at variance with reality, nor will it be the last.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20071 or Visit for his Faster Forward blog.

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