My grandparents' HP Officejet 8710 signals that only the Cyan and Yellow cartridges are empty, but the blue and black still have some ink. It currently refuses to print, even on Grayscale.

My grandparents know that monochrome printing can require color cartridges too (duplicate question), but loathe to buy a monochrome printer or color ink cartridges. So how can they compel the printer to print, regardless of the print quality?

  • Possible duplicate of Printer doesn't print pictures! – harrymc Nov 13 '18 at 20:04
  • @harrymc How is this a possible duplicate? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Nov 13 '18 at 20:14
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    @Greek-Area51Proposal Did you even bother to read the answers in that possible duplicate? – DavidPostill Nov 13 '18 at 22:09
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    @DavidPostill I read that post before mine was flagged. It propounds buying new ink cartridges or a new monochrome printer. Did I overlook anything? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Nov 14 '18 at 0:09
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    @Greek-Area51Proposal - If you have a printer that uses color ink even when using grayscale, then the solution is indeed, replacing your empty ink cartridges. This is the cost of inkjet printers, you gain print speed, at the cost of being able to print. (Being a little sarcastic in that statement, I hate inkjet printers, but they are cheaper then the alternative). I have had great success in using generic (used) ink cartridges provided your willing to ignore the printer complaints about the non-genuine ink. – Ramhound Nov 14 '18 at 0:23

The Officejet 8710 is among the HP printers that cannot print if any ink cartridge is empty (there is no override provision as some printers have). If any color cartridges are low, you can set it on black-only to minimize the use of color, but the color cartridges cannot register as empty.

Per the HP Customer Support Knowledge base (excerpts):

The printers listed in this document cannot print when one ink cartridge is empty.

Your printer is designed to print only when all ink cartridges have ink. Some ink from all the ink cartridges is used in periodic servicing tasks. This helps to prevent issues such as printhead clogs and poor print quality. There is no way to bypass this feature.


When an ink cartridge is depleted, you must replace it before you can print.


If one or more color ink cartridges are low but not empty and you want to minimize the use of color ink, change the settings in the HP software to print with black ink only (grayscale). If you print with black ink only, the other ink cartridges must have ink for the printer to print.

There is more explanation at that link.

Additional Discussion

HP's position on the printer not operating with an empty cartridge is based on a premise that the printer could be damaged otherwise. So there is no way around that without hacking the printer (which would void any warranty, would be very difficult to do since the firmware is proprietary, and stands a good chance of totally ruining the printer). The printers are inexpensive, and nobody stands to profit from investing in figuring out how to do it. So I wouldn't expect to see any kind of workaround for this.

However, there is potentially a way to get it printing again at less cost than buying HP ink cartridges. The OJ 8710 is among the HP printers that employ a security chip. This locks out the printer if it detects a "counterfeit" ink cartridge (which is for your benefit to ensure that you get the very best printing experience from your HP printer). :-)

For some printer models that didn't originally come with this "feature", HP implemented it surreptitiously through a software upgrade. There was heavy pushback, threats of legal action, etc., and HP decided to rethink its policy. They now have an optional software upgrade that can be manually downloaded from HP if you know about it, which will turn off this verification and allow the use of non-HP or refilled HP cartridges.

Just a warning, some other printers have an option to turn off the check for OEM ink cartridges. When you do it, it disables a lot of advanced features in the printer driver software, and they claim that if the printer malfunctions, you're on your own. So they let you do it but strongly discourage it. I don't know if that applies to your model, but you might want to inquire.

This info page from HP describes the use of the "security feature" and states:

HP believes in fair competition and does not employ technology preventing the use of refilled and remanufactured cartridges. Our printers with the dynamic security feature may not operate with a cartridge that does not include an Original HP chip.

This seems to be saying that the feature only addresses third party cartridges manufactured from scratch, with a non-HP chip. That would still leave the issue of original or refilled cartridges that claim to be empty based on character count, and prevent printing even though there's still ink left in the cartridge. But at least you could buy a new, unneeded fake cartridge for less than the cost of a new, unneeded HP cartridge. Ah, the joys of inkjet printers.

But here's a link to the HP Customer Support Knowledge Base that describes turning this off for your printer. However, your model is included in a group where manufacturing date appears to determine whether you can disable it:

this update disables dynamic security for printers manufactured before December 1, 2016. For printers manufactured on December 1, 2016 or later, dynamic security remains functional with this update.

My reading of the information is that for printers manufactured earlier, the provision wasn't clearly stated, so HP is letting people disable it. However, ones manufactured later clearly stated the policy on the box or in the user manual, so buyers were forewarned and out of luck.

I found online discussions saying that HP re-reconsidered, and other articles saying no, not really. So it looks like if the printer was manufactured before December 1 2016, you can probably disable the security chip feature and use less expensive third party cartridges. If it was manufactured later, maybe it can and maybe it can't. The situation is clear as mud. But that link will at least get you to the right place to find out; maybe just try it.

  • How can I hoodwink the printer to register the color cartridges as empty? I'd surmise that some computing or coding expert can outsmart the printer? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Dec 7 '18 at 6:45
  • @Greek-Area51Proposal, too much to cover in a comment, so I expanded the answer. – fixer1234 Dec 7 '18 at 7:49

From the manual of your printer:

Anonymous usage information storage

The HP cartridges used with this printer contain a memory chip that assists in the operation of the printer. In addition, this memory chip stores a limited set of anonymous information about the usage of the printer, which might include the following: the number of pages printed using the cartridge, the page coverage, frequency of printing, and the printing modes used.

Search on internet page similar to this one where it is stated:

The printer uses the NPP (number of pages printed) to calculate how much ink left in the cartridge. Therefore, if you turn this anonymous usage off, the printer won't know how much ink you have and should let you print forever.

And it is proposed...

Steps to Disable Chip Info for Officejet Pro

  1. From the LCD display, go to SETUP
  2. Select Preferences
  3. Select Store Anonymous Usage Information*
  4. Turn it off.
  5. If you cannot find the "Store Anonymous Usage Information" selection, it is turned off already. You can reset the printer to factory setting and it should reappear.

You will have gray indicator for the levels...
It should work... Good luck.

BTW if the printer is yours or you have the authorization from the owner(s)... you should try to see if some procedure to refill the cartridges works. One time you should refill the cartridges and reset their chip. Or only reset their chip. Some trademark puts other recognition routines in the software (firmware, driver, software on the OS)... and the procedure evolved...

Sometimes the producers were forced by the law not to implement those system, but they introduced hidden in a voluntary firmware upgrade. In that case you should install an untainted original firmware if you already have done the upgrade, thing that -- if not correctly done -- can brick your device (until a further reset of the printer chip from someone with more experience and tools)...
...and the story goes on...

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    Something from HP isn't adding up. The 8710 uses cartridge series 952-959. The Internet page you linked to doesn't include those cartridges. It doesn't make sense that HP would justify disabling printing when a cartridge is empty based on potential damage, and then provide a mechanism that allows you to print on empty cartridges. Are you sure that disabling procedure applies to the 8710? It can't hurt to check this out, though, if the user is careful to not let any cartridge run dry. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Dec 8 '18 at 12:41
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    But then how would you know that a cartridge was empty before potentially causing damage? The whole cartridge control nonsense is a ploy to sell HP ink cartridges, or new printers if doing this ruins the old one, so a win-win for HP. :-) – fixer1234 Dec 8 '18 at 12:41
  • Interesting tidbit on that linked page. "If you prefer to not allow access to this information, you can render the chip inoperable. However, after you render the chip inoperable, the cartridge cannot be used in an HP printer." Then a few paragraphs later: "NOTE: You can continue to use the cartridge in the HP printer if you turn off the memory chip's ability to collect the printer's usage information." So if you disable the chip you either can or cannot continue to use the cartridge, and this either does or does not apply to the 8710. Glad I could clear that up. – fixer1234 Dec 8 '18 at 13:01
  • @fixer1234 Hi, long time we didn't cross here. No I did not said that that link is for that cartridge, I did say to search for similar one. This is not excluding neither the possibility that it will work in this case too. I have not that printer, I cannot check. We often answer for a wider audience that the original OP. What I said in the second part is that there exist programmers for the chip of the cartridges. Some time ago it was enough. Then they store the info of the last cartridges id inside the printer. So you have to switch with another. Or change with programmer... – Hastur Dec 8 '18 at 15:12
  • Yeah, it's certainly good to know in general, that on at least some HP printers, there is a workaround. It would be great if it works on this one (hopefully Greek - Area 51 Proposal will provide feedback on whether it works for the 8710). It seems like everything I came across from HP had apparent self-contradictions, so you often couldn't tell what it was saying. Good find, though, and thanks for adding the context in your comment. +1 – fixer1234 Dec 8 '18 at 21:42

This is a list of workarounds that worked for some HP printers for making the printer work in Greyscale, although please note that some color ink is still used in that mode for creating grey nuances.

I list all I have found, although I don't know if they apply to your model:

  • Press the "Menu" button on the printer's control panel. and search for a setting of "Restore Defaults" and then press "Enter".

  • On the printer's control panel, find something that sounds like 'Print Quality'. Push OK. Find something that says 'Replace Supplies' and select that. Scroll through until you find something that looks like 'Override Out' and press OK.

  • Rotate the print cartridges and print a test page. Then, replace the print cartridges into the proper slots.

  • In Windows Devices and Printers, find your printer under the "Printer and Faxes" section and right-click on it to select "Properties." If it exists, click on the "Port" tab and deselect "Enable Bi-Directional Support." Click "Apply" and then "OK".

  • Buying cheaper replacement cartridges is the safest solution, since printing with empty cartridges may be harmful to the print-heads.

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