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John, Computer Science Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 5075
Experience:  CompTIA A+ & Microsoft Certified Professional with 15 years of experience repairing computers and printers.
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I have a HP M1212nf which was working just fine Today I am

Customer Question

Hey there I have a HP M1212nf which was working just fine Today I am getting this message when I connect it by usb The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.
JA: Just to clarify, what's the exact make and model of your machine?
Customer: HP LaserJet M1212nf MFP My computer is a macbookpro 2013
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: Os El Capitan 10.11.6
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: It use to work just fine I had no problem I don't know if it has anything to do with this, but recently I used a Slephy printer from Canon Selphy*
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: No that's pretty much it
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Hi, thanks for contacting JustAnswer!

I'm Seth, a technology expert with 10 years of experience.

A few questions:

1) Had you used this particular USB connection before?

2) Have you connected -- or disconnected -- anything else to/from the printer within the past month or so?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi there1) This is the usb cable I have been using for years
2) No I just connect my printer to my macbook and it's always the same computer.
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.


OK- and have you connected any other devices (e.g. flash drives, external hard drives, cameras, other cables -- anything at all) to... or disconnected them from... your Macbook within the past several weeks?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

P.S. also, this includes things like SD memory cards (either added to or removed from the printer, or to/from your computer)

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have my external hard drive which I always connect and disconnect since I have everything on it
I have an SD card reader which I use to transfer photos from my camera to my computer
I also use USBs somethimes
And finally I have used a Canon Selphy printer recently which I connect by usb too
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Awesome, thanks so much for that info! Very specific; exactly what's useful.

Give me a few minutes to research further.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Oh, one other question:

1) When was the last time you rebooted the computer;


2) When was the last time you completely powered it off (not sleep, nor hibernate, but totally off)?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I restarted it 2 days ago.
I never turn it off - during the night it goes to sleep
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

OK, let's do the basics:

1) (where applicable) Power off all devices currently connected to your computer.

2) Then, unplug all devices currently connected to your computer -- both the cables connecting them to your computer, AND their own power cables (e.g. unplug both the printer's USB cable from your computer, AND the printer's power cable).

3) Do a complete shutdown of your Macbook.

If it has a quick-release battery, remove that, and unplug its power cord too. (If not, don't worry about it).

4) Wait 3 minutes.

5) Reconnect ONLY the power to your Macbook (pop in the battery if you removed it)... and then turn your macbook back on -- *without* connecting anything else.

6) While it's booting up, reconnect ONLY the power cable to your printer -- nothing else. Then, turn the printer on (still leave the USB cable DISCONNECTED).

7) Once both the printer & your computer are fully booted up... AND you've logged in... THEN reconnect the USB cable from your one (1) printer to your computer. (Don't connect any other devices, please.)

Does that all make sense?

Hopefully this shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes total.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Alright I will try that. Hmm how do I get back in communication with you after that?
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.


If you check your email right now, do you see emails from JustAnswer?

They should give you a link to reconnect.

If not, please do *NOT* open a new request on the site (otherwise it will charge you again a second time).

If you have trouble finding our original chat again, you can email me directly at:


... Does that all make sense?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Perfect- I'll be waiting here for your response, either on the site or by email.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Still the same :(
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for doing all that work! I really appreciate it.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Clarifying question:

Can you walk me through, in micro-steps, *exactly* what happens when? You logged into your Macbook... and then you inserted the USB cable... and then...?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Oh, and one other thought:

Are you using *any* intermediary devices, between the printer and the computer? e.g., a USB hub or splitter, or usb extension cable?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No intermediary
I logged
Powered back my printer
I connected the usb
Got this pop-up (see attached)
Try to print anyway and got this window here (see attached)
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Thanks! Just a moment.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.


Let's try this:

Can you use a different USB cable -- replace the one you're currently using, borrow from another device?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

(hit Eject, btw)

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Same message with a brand new cable :(
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

.. Are you *sure* there are no disks (e.g. SD cards), or flash drives, or ANYTHING else plugged into that printer? no cameras or phones charging off it?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Plugged into the printer? I dont think that's even possible since there is no usb entry in the printer itself
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

hm, OK. Some printers do have extra USB ports -- sometimes -- in order to get pictures off a flash drive or camera. Other printers have slots to insert an SD card, or MicroSD card.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

(e.g. to print photos or files directly from a device)

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Ooh, a couple other thoughts:

1) Why do you remove & reconnect the printer's USB cable, normally, anyway (as opposed to leaving the printer connected all the time)?

2) Can you try plugging it into a different USB port on your laptop?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

... I'm guessing that 1) is because you have too many devices, and not enough USB ports on your macbook?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ah ok, no this model does not offer that option.I plug it only when I need to use it, otherwise I don't ant to have cable attached to my laptop
I tried plugging it already in my second usb port, but it does the same thing.
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

OK, thanks -- any other USB ports on your macbook, besides those two, that you can try? (Let's make sure we try each & every one -- sometimes they are on different internal buses.)

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I only have 2 (1 on the right and 1 on the left)
Both of them work fine when I plug another device, but both of them don't work when I plug the printer
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

.... Do you have any other computers you can try this printer with?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

(btw, am loving your clear communication)

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Haha thanks
No unfortunately that is the only computer I have
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

ah, for sure.


1) do you have an extra Ethernet (network) cable?

2) is it near (or can you move either one closer to the other) your network router?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

... I'm thinking that, since USB isn't working, we can try using its network connection.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
You mean print wirelessly? This printer is not a wireless printer, I wish I could do that
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

No no -- it should have a *wired* network connection on it. Looks similar to a phone/fax port, but fatter/wider.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

... actually, according to the online spec sheet / manual for this model, it has both 1) a fax/telephone port, AND 2) an Ethernet (cat5 network) port.... The latter is wider/fatter than the former.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ah I see, but I don't have this type of cables
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

OK- they are very common, and very cheap (you can probably find one on or craigslist... or ask your neighbors... they're extremely common, get shipped with everything).

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I am not sure I understand how is that going to fix the issue?
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Well- you're right, it wouldn't *fix* the issue, directly.

But -- it should be a solid work-around.

Since you'd be using a network connection (instead of usb), there shouldn't be the error coming up (which is a USB-related error).

Another thing I'd suggest testing:

Have a friend come over with their laptop, and see if they can connect & print to it.


If you want to keep troubleshooting the USB issue further, I'd suggest:

1) resetting the PRAM on your Macbook (power off, then hold down Option-Shift-P-R keys, then power on *while* holding those... continue holding...);

2) running Disk Repair (Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility)

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

... Part of the problem is that we don't know right now whether the issue is being caused by your printer, or by your computer.... So that makes it hard to determine where to focus our troubleshooting efforts.

Using a network connection should bypass the issue entirely -- it wouldn't be fixed, but it also wouldn't (knock on wood) be relevant any longer.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hmmm ok...
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

.... Actually, resetting PRAM is probably a good idea, now that I think about it more. NOTE, it's probably best to (again) disconnect all external devices from your macbook, first.

then, follow these steps:


To reset PRAM, shut down your Mac and find the Command, Option, P, and R keys on your keyboard. You’re going to need to power your Mac up, and then press and hold all four keys simultaneously as soon as you hear the startup chime. It’s a little tricky at first, and you may miss it on the first attempt, but just keep rebooting your Mac until you’re comfortable contorting your fingers to reach all four keys at the same time.

Keep holding the keys until your Mac reboots itself and you hear the startup chime a second time. At this point you can release the keys and your Mac should boot as normal. Note that settings such as resolution and system speaker volume will be set to defaults, so don’t be startled if your Mac’s startup chime is a bit louder on the second boot.


Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

quick question: what city & state d'you live in?

i'm going to do a craigslist & freecycle search, to see if anyoe's giving away ethernet cables.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

p.s. ah, city & province, rather -- forgive me -- i just noticed you're in canada (how usa-centric of me!).

p.p.s. i was mistaken in my first instructions about the keys to hold down -- if you do that part for resetting PRAM, follow the copied & pasted instructions (in italics) above -- it's the Command, Option, P, and R keys.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'm in Montreal, but I found one so no need to do that.I will try resetting the PRAM
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.


thanks; let me know the outcome.

and... after the PRAM is reset, and while it's booting back up...

... perhaps try hooking the Ethernet cable from your printer to the wireless router (there should be at least one or two spare, un-used ethernet ports on the router)?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
This PRAM thing is not going to affect my computer in any thing right?
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.



Reset PRAM

Your Mac’s parameter random-access memory (PRAM) stores important information such as the type and identity of your OS X system drive, the presence of any other internal drives, the number and type of connected devices, screen resolution, and speaker volume. If your Mac isn’t acting as expected, a PRAM reset is usually the first and easiest troubleshooting step to try. You’ll also want to make sure you preform a PRAM reset after you replace your Mac’s hard drive, unless you like waiting five minutes for the system to boot while it searches in vain for the old missing disk.



So basically, it stores configuration information about hardware, both internal & external.

By resetting the PRAM, we're changing all its hardware settings -- incl. what it might "remember" about external devices -- back to fresh. We're literally wiping its memory of its hardware experiences.

Note, this will *not* affect any other external devices -- just your computer itself.

If you have an external monitor connected, you might need to unplug that before the PRAM reset (again, unplug any & all devices from the macbook before doing this).

After the PRAM is reset, then settings like volume, brightness, screen resolution, and its "memory" of external hardware devices... will all be clean/fresh.

While I'm reasonably confident this shouldn't *harm* anything, I also cannot make any guarantees. You do so at your own risk.

JustAnswer is an information site, and I am operating as an independent contractor to provide you with information.

I wish I could give you a better response!

But here is the Apple support article about resetting PRAM (also known as NVRAM), and what Apple has to say about it:

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

P.S. One thing this ought *not* do is delete or wipe your hard drive -- it shouldn't erase your files nor Apps on the hard drive; it should only reset the hardware info.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Hi again-

I'm concerned , not having heard back from you, that you might be wanting to give up n this issue -- or on working on it with me.

I also get that we've been at it a long time!! And it's useful to take a break, for sure.

i realize that my advice has yet to yield fruit, and that's gotta be frustrating & difficult -- impatient -- to be receiving.

One thing that's challenging on my end is that I don't receive any pay for my time, until or unless we resolve your issue, and I get a confirmation from you.... which means that I can sometimes spend a long time troubleshooting, without a return. (Note, you are always eligible for a refund if you're not satisfied.)

I'm sorry that I wasn't more efficient in our steps, and the use of our time.

At this point, I'm quite confident that either:

A) We can use a network (ethernet) cable, and set the printer up that way -- if that's what you'd like to do;


B) We can reset the PRAM on your computer, and maybe do one additional troubleshooting step if need be.

Given all the data we've collected so far, I'm 90% confident that doing either of those steps would resolve the issue.

... Would you be willing to try either of those steps with me?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok I'll try the PRAM cause yea I got a little tired of trying things
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

I completely get & respect that.

Thank you so much.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

(if you lose this thread, you can also email me:



Customer: replied 6 months ago.
PRAM didn't work either :(
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

ahhh oh dear.


Would you like to set up the printer to use your network, instead?

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

.... We can also continue this later today, or another day, if you'd like instead.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

Whatever you want to do!

Just if it's something you'd still like to get working.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That's super complicated for me. The router is in one room and the bulky printer is in another room.
Is there another way to work this around?
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

just to be sure -- and I'm sorry for not having done this way earlier:

Let's test the printer, to make sure it is actually functioning on a basic level.

Can you use the physical buttons (menu, etc.) on the printer itself, to print out a test page? (like a settings page?)

We should probably do this before we try anything more.

Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

p.s. Makes sense what you're saying; I see why that would be very complicated & difficult to set up.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
the menu works and I just did a photocopy too
Expert:  silentashes replied 6 months ago.

OK - this is very good!

I really, really appreciate you sticking with this so far.

1) How far away (in meters or feet) is the router from your printer, roughly?

2) How would you feel about obtaining a sufficiently long network cable (e.g. 30meters or whatever is needed -- they are cheap), and using that as your new printing method?

At this point, I need to go run an errand -- so I'm happy to continue troubleshooting another day.

Do you need this working today? Is it urgent?

My concern is that we could continue to try other methods for a long time to fix it, without success.

So please- if you are reaching a point where you'd like to pick it up & try later today, or a different day, that is fine.

Or -- tell me what you would like to do.

Are you set on keeping this printer & getting it working again, if you can?