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Cannot See Estimated Ink Levels on Printer Toolbox

I get a "The computer is unable to establish two-way communication with the device" message when on the "Estimated Ink Levels" tab in the "HP Photosmart C3100 series Toolbox" dialog.  I just wanted to see the levels, I think they may be low on magenta and yellow.  Anyway, uninstalled "all" of the software and reinstalled.  Still the same problem.  Any help would be appreciated...

i have a hp photosmart c3100. the drivers have been installed but i
cannot find maintainance to replace inks plus no dialog box appears to show ink levels ,i have tryed start then setting to printer and faxes ,then right clicked the printer to printing preferences ,and there was no box to indicate maintanance also tryed propertys and nothing to indicate about ink maintanance or cleaning there . i have tryed the printer on another computer and still the same problem . can u help resolve theses issues im having

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  • 5 more comments 
  • Anonymous Mar 06, 2008

    the ink cartridge levels used to come up automatically periodically but now I never see them, how do I set it up so that they pop up periodically

  • Anonymous Mar 15, 2008

    Cannot see estimated ink levels and no link to find out about how to cahnge ink etc

  • Anonymous May 16, 2008

    I have the exact same problem . I get The computer is unable to establish 2 way communications with the device. Every time I open toolbox nothing works.

  • Anonymous May 19, 2008

    Same thing everything works except I get the computer is unable to establish 2 way communication with the device.

  • Anonymous Nov 01, 2008

    same issue

  • Anonymous Jan 07, 2009

    I used to see the ink leavel now i also get the message,unable to establish 2 way comminication, what caused this?

  • drewp9 Feb 25, 2009

    I have a photosmart2710 and it did not work for me.

    Although someone who has an HP 8750 claimed that it worked for them.

    Try it and see...


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I came across this similar problem and spent days trying to figure it out. I knew I was close when I tried to start the HPZ12 service and it kept failing with "unable to find the specified file". I traced it with a process monitor and found that it was looking for a registry key that was not present. Specifically:

HKLM\System\CurrentCosntrolSet\Services\Pml Driver HPZ12\Parameters

It was looking for the string:


which should be set to:


(or something similar).

The unfortunate thing is that no matter how many times you install and uninstall the HP drivers, then don't reset the registry keys for the HPZ12 service. In the end, I ended up doing the following:

1. Uninstall software and reboot
2. Go through registry editor and delete the PML key (just did a search for all PML occurences)
3. Deleted the c:\program files\Hewlett-Packard directory
4. Deleted the c:\program files\HP directory
5. Deleted the c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\ contents (anything that referred to an HP printer or driver)
6. Deleted the HKLM\Software\Hewlett-Packard registry key
7. Rebooted
8. Reinstalled and everything worked.

I suggest you backup any registry keys prior to deleting them in case you make a mistake. You can use the Export feature on the right-click context menu to save each key you delete, or use some tool to make a backup of your registry prior to making these changes. Similarly, for the files, I renamed directories or created backups of their contents.

Once I reinstalled, I found that there were TONS of new registry keys added that weren't there before. So the real problem is with HPs install/uninstall. It doesn't clean up properly and any aborted or failed instalation will leave the drivers in a poor state.

Hope that helps.


Posted on Jun 06, 2008

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I could not see the ink levels on my Photosmart 8450. Message said: "The computer is unable to establish two-way
communication with the device."

I opened up services.msc and scrolled to the Pml Driver HPZ12 entry. I found that it was disabled. I enabled/started it and my ink levels now display properly.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010

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I have the same problem. No estimated ink levels show through the toolbox. But I can check my ink levels by typing in my printer's ip address in browser address bar which takes me to online toolbox page. There it shows my estimated ink levels fine along with other info.

Posted on Sep 27, 2009

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Has anyone tried this and does it work? I have HP 6310 on a Lenovo T61 running Vista with USB connection. In addition to print levels, I am not able to FAX from PC.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008

Firewall blocking program

Posted on Apr 16, 2008

I have aphotosmart C4180 All-in-one printer.The in k recomended is93/95 color and95 black. All seems to work fine except I cannot an estimated ink level report.. Can you help?

Posted on Mar 07, 2008

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SOURCE: Cannot See Estimated Ink Levels on Printer Toolbox

Hi Dganske,

If your printer is installed or connected in network then you cannot see the ink levels in printer toolbox.

I suggest you to contact HP chat support, this support is free of cost and online technician will help you with any All-in-one issue.

Please click on the web link given below and select your product and start chating online to get the issue fixed.

Have a great day!

Posted on Mar 25, 2008

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