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The ink of my Canon PIXMA MP280 all-in-one inkjet printer just ran out and I realized that not only I cannot print but I cannot scan (which doesn't need any ink, of course).

Upon making some further research it seems to me that it's a general practice on the behalf of all-in-one inkjet printer manufacturers to block the scanning function in order to "motivate" users to buy a new cartridge as soon as possible.

1) Is this true?

As a conscious buyer in the future I'd rather like to reward manufacturers that place the interests of their customers before their profit and allow scanning even when the cartridge is empty.

2) Does anyone know about any such manufacturers?

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I've come across plenty of laser MFDs from Samsung, HP etc. that continue to scan, fax and perform other functions even if the toner cartridge is not present. Don't know about inkjet MFDs though. – Karan Oct 26 '12 at 15:13
I'd expect that the higher-end models do not have such a limitation. – László Monda Nov 27 '12 at 0:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The scanner in my HP F4280 AIO (admittedly somewhat dated, but not all that old) will work as long as actual cartridges are inserted into the printer and recognized as such, no matter what their ink level is.

However, don't take this as general advice that HP AIOs all behave like this. They might decide to change it at any time.

Furthermore, asking for specific manufacturers or products that support certain features is a shopping recommendation question and is probably off-topic.

I do not doubt your assertion that your Canon refuses to scan with no ink cartridges or when they are empty. This could be a simple programming oversight (a mistake), or it could be intentional. Unless you asked the original designers, it's hard to tell why exactly this happens. The intention isn't really important; what matters are the results. The fact is that you can't scan with this AIO while you don't have ink, which is a rather severe limitation.

Of course, if you're really in doubt, just buy a dedicated scanner and a separate printer. You'll never have to replace your scanner, unless you wear out the moving parts, or need a higher DPI; but in general they should last a very long time.

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+1 for the last paragraph. – user3463 Oct 25 '12 at 21:10
I was also thinking about the possibility of buying a dedicated scanner but I wouldn't like another device to take space. Also, as absurd as it may sound a dedicated scanner is more expensive than a low-end all-in-one printer. Currently there's not many things that I can do but I plan to use cheaper (and maybe lower quality) cartridges in the future as a symbolic gesture for expressing my dislike towards manufacturers like Canon. As for whether this behavior is intentional or not I wouldn't like to assume anything bad but I don't have much doubt. – László Monda Nov 27 '12 at 0:54

EASY ! On your printer HOLD "stop" button until it clears the error. Done . You can use your scanner . Just try not to use your printer to print or you can damage it with low or missing ink.

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Works for me on Canon MP280 for the same problem. – Joeri Sebrechts May 17 '15 at 18:47

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