Updated December 1st, 2020.
If you have an HP printer and macOS Catalina you may have seen a scary message saying something like “HP something or another will damage your computer.”
Here’s a variation.
There are others, including one about the “”Matterhorn.framework,” but they all have two things in common: they came out of nowhere all of a sudden, and they don’t go away for long when you click the OK button.
The first thing to know is, these error messages are themselves erroneous! These files aren’t going to damage your computer. They’ll make it impossible to use, because as soon as you click “OK” they pop right back up again, but they will not damage your computer.
You might think that Malwarebytes would fix this, but it can’t. This is a different kind of problem. It’s not malware.
The cause of these pop-ups is a clerical error: HP let the certificates for the software expire (this is like letting your driver license expire– you’re still you, but you can’t prove it to the TSA). So there’s nothing damaging about these files, they just can’t verify themselves with the macOS. Still, you want to get rid of these pop-ups. That’s what this article’s about.
If you go to HP’s site for help you’ll find a twelve-step process for getting rid of these pop-ups… and in my experience, it doesn’t work. So skip that, and follow my THREE-step process, which does work.
How to fix the problem
Step 1: Delete all of your HP printers
Go to System Preferences/Printers & Scanners and click on your HP printer in the list on the left. Then click the minus sign near the bottom left corner of the Printers & Scanners box. That deletes the printer. Repeat for every HP printer in the list.
If all you have in the Printers & Scanners preference pane are HP printers, and you want to get a really clean start, hold the Control key down and click in the white space in the list of printers on the left. The select “Reset printing system…” from the little menu that appears.
Resetting the printing system sounds really drastic but for most people (the ones with just a few printers) it’s not much trouble to re-add printers, which we will be doing in Step 3. If you have some really old, special, not-made-anymore printer, and it works now, I’d avoid resetting the printing system. Otherwise, it’s a good option.
For more information about resetting the printing system, and when you might want to do it, click here.
Step 2: Delete the hp folder
There’s an “hp” folder, inside the Printers folder, inside the Library folder, inside your Mac’s hard drive. Find that folder and delete it. You’ll be asked to supply your Mac user’s password because they want to be sure you have permission to do such a thing.
Just find that hp folder, click on it once, and press Command-delete (that’s the easy way to send something to the Trash). Now you’ve gotten rid of the bad hp software. Wouldn’t hurt to restart before moving on to Step 3.
Step 3: Add your printer(s) again
Open up the Printers & Scanners preference pane again. It should still be blank on the left. Click the plus sign at bottom left and you’ll get a list of printers that your Mac can find (either on the network, or via USB, or some other way). Click on a printer, make it say “AirPrint” at the bottom, then click the Add button. That’s easy. You’re done.
If you click where it says “AirPrint” before you click the Add button you may be able to choose “HP xyz software” (where xyz is the name of your printer). If so, choose that, and Apple will download the newest HP software to your machine, and install it.
Note: if you use the AirPrint driver, you’ll be able to print, but you may not be able to scan. If you use the HP driver, you’ll be able to print and scan.
If the AirPrint driver isn’t available, and if your Mac doesn’t automatically download HP software for your printer, you might have one more option. That option is “Gutenprint,” which provides drivers for a giant list of printers whose manufacturers no longer support them. Download, install, and see how it goes. (Gutenprint drivers are print-only– no scanning. FYI.)
That should do it– no more pop-ups, and a functioning printer. If it does, leave a message in the comments. If it doesn’t, leave a message in the comments!