The introduction of newer technology will inevitably make today's devices and gadgets obsolete. To keep up with the changes in the technological landscape, you must either upgrade to newer devices that include the latest technologies or update the device firmware to use those systems without spending money on the hardware.

As selling cartridges is the primary source of income for manufacturers, they will try not to let any cheap cartridge disrupt their flow in the market. And one method manufacturers use by rolling out disruptive firmware updates. Unfortunately, these firmware updates could be a big nuisance for those who depend on cheap toner cartridges to save on printing expenses. 

But what are these updates about? How do manufacturers profit from them? Let's discuss these aspects in the following sections of the blog! 

What Is Printer Firmware?

The software installed on a printer during its manufacturing is called printer firmware. It essentially is the first-ever program into the machine, providing it with all the information required for proper operation and connection with a computer.

Firmware upgrades are often released by printer makers every few months. You can decide whether to install a firmware update. If you enable the automatic updates option on your printer, updates will automatically download onto your printer. Firmware updates may also be downloaded via your printer's display screen.

If you are using a printer with Canon 128 toner, then using cheap compatible cartridges could be impacted by some firmware updates. Most don't, but the upgrades are unexpected and can immediately render your printer unusable.

Why Are Firmware Updates Considered Bad?

A software update happens after the user has purchased and set up the printer. Sometimes, it might happen without the user even realizing it, and then, all of a sudden, the generic cartridges stop being recognized by the printer.

The makers of Canon 128 toner have used this method frequently. It is pretty effective for them in limiting the usage of generic cartridges and irritating both consumers and retailers of generic cartridges.

Anyone who has ever used a printer with a Canon 128 toner will be familiar with how annoying this procedure can be. In addition, since Canon has been frequent with its software upgrades over the past ten years, many people have despised both companies. 

How Can Firmware Upgrades Stop Compatible Cartridges From Working?

Now that we have an idea of the printer firmware, let’s elaborate on how printer makers exploit these updates to their favor, especially in the fight against counterfeit cartridges.

A printer manufacturer, for instance, might make 2 million HP CF217A or Brother TN850 over three years, maintaining the same firmware except for a few minor adjustments to address potential problems.

Naturally, after many years of the same printer being sold, the market gets swamped with copycat cartridges that function flawlessly and have undoubtedly taken off millions of dollars in income from the printer manufacturer (HP or Brother in this case).

Customers will suddenly discover that their cheap cartridges won't work on their brand-new HP CF217A and Brother TN850. When this happens, we will know HP has created a new supply of printers identical to the previous batch but with the latest software installed.

As a result, the new software is made to fight the use of counterfeit cartridges while still functioning flawlessly with the company's genuine cartridges. This way, the consumers will be frustrated with their less expensive cartridges' failure to perform in their brand-new printer. Upon reaching this situation, they have no choice but to visit their local store and pay a high price for an original HP or Brother product.

How To Stop Firmware Updates From Preventing The Use Of Compatible Cartridges?

You may continue printing with compatible cartridges and save money by following these easy methods.

Disable Automatic Firmware Updates

You can print at any time with suitable cartridges by making a quick configuration adjustment on your printer. This method, which works for practically all well-known printer brands, is the best way to prevent firmware updates from causing your printer to stop working. 

Simply disable the settings on your printer that enable automatic firmware updates. You will have complete control over what you install after you disable these settings, which will cease your printer's automated firmware downloads.

Wait For New Printer Cartridges

Installing new cartridges that can skip the firmware update is another choice. However, you will need to wait for a new update of your compatible cartridges if you can't stop firmware updates or if you were unprepared for a recent upgrade and cannot print. 

This is not the best option for those who need to print immediately, so users might want to disable their updates altogether, but it's still a simple fix.


Firmware updates will continue to try to stop the use of suitable cartridges. Still, now that you know how to handle these upgrades, you can keep one step ahead of your printer's manufacturer and save money by using your preferred compatible cartridges. 

The more customers become aware of these annoying firmware tricks and disable their updates, the more pressure is put on printer makers to implement a change for the better.

Do your homework and decide whether the upgrade is good for you. Printer makers will get more crafty and keep trying to block the flow of cheap cartridges by using sneaky methods. It's also hard to blame companies for wanting to maintain their market share. All the best!