System Upgrade - HP CD-ROM Writer
January 15, 2000

I wanted to add a writable CD-ROM drive. Simple - buy the best, install it.

I selected the Hewlett Packard CD-Writer Plus 9110i.

In all fairness to HP, the system requirements on the outside of the box clearly state which operating systems are supported. It appears that all the problems I encountered were 100% because I tried to install the software under the original Windows 95, which is not supported for this product (95B, 98 and others are supported). After encountering the installation problems described below, I succesfully installed the software under Windows 98, using both the C- and E-drives (one at a time, of course :).

Well, on a Windows 95 system, my C-drive only had about 8 megs free on it, so I told the program to install on the E-drive which had about 70 Megs free. No problem. Then I tried to copy a CD. Well that required loading additional software. (I have verified that Windows 98 loads all the software the first time and does not have this second load problem.)

Here we go again :(

The install program tried to load more than 20 megs of software on the C-drive even though only 8 megs were available.

Well, that crashed the system. Even Windows refused to run with only 16 Kb of free space. (It could no longer save the registry file.)

After about 2 hours of cleanup and freeing 60 megs on the C-drive (isn't coa32 just great), I repeated the install and tracked it with inctrl3.

You won't believe this, but HP installed 2 copies of its software

Only one copy was installed using Windows 98, 27.3 Meg where you want it.

Then, on top of everything else, HP placed a registration parasite on my drive. It appears that users don't have the option of simply not registering the software. Instead, HP wants to nag you until you register. (Actually, it only reminds you once after 14 days. Then you have the option of turning it off.)


Well, as I've said, the problem was 100% because I tried to install the product under an unsupported operating system. However, the original Windows 95 is still widely used and users do not expect total system crashes when the minimum requirements are not met. Therefore, I strongly suggest that the following warning sticker (or something similar) should be placed on all boxes of the Hewlett Packard CD-Writer Plus 9110i.


I wanted a writable CD-ROM drive. In January, 2000, 4X drives were currently $200; the following 2 brand name 8x drives were also available

Well, it should take about 15 minutes to write a full CD at 4X, and about half that for an 8x. I figured that over the next 2 years, that much speed difference was probably worth the cost.

I've had problems with Creative products in the past (a SCSI CD drive, and a DVD drive - both were sent back for repair and I paid the shipping), so this time I thought that I'd try HP.

The hardware installed fine with no problems.

Loading the Software

At this point, my son dropped in the CD and installed the software. When prompted, he indicated that it should be installed on the E-drive. When it completed, a menu screen was displayed. He clicked Copy CD and the software said that more software needed to be installed. Click OK, click OK, and BOOM - out of disk space.

Up to this point, I hadn't done anything, my son actually took the initiative and tried it himself.

Creating Space on the C-drive

Well, I tried to find out what happened. Sure enough, the C-drive was full. I decided to simply move a few files to another drive ... then Windows 95 just died. Every time I tried anything, there was a dialog box stating that Windows could no longer save the registry. Eventually, it just locked up.

At that point I powered it off (I couldn't quit) and re-started in safe mode.

Luckily that worked. I moved a small directory to another drive and freed up about 1 meg. Now that Windows had enough space to live (run), I set to freeing up some more space.

To do that, I used coa32 from Ziff-Davis. This is a great free utility which allows you to move software from one directory (or drive) to another. What it does is search the registry, all ini files, and all shortcuts for references to a specific path. Then it replaces those with the new path. However, it doesn't actually move the software ... you need to do that yourself (ah, that last part is not clearly documented).

Well, I found a large application and moved it from the C-drive to the G-drive. As a result, the C-drive now had more than 60 megs free.

Next, I tried to uninstall the HP software. However, since the last install failed (because of a lack of space), the uninstall also failed. Eventually, I decided just to delete what was left.

What remained was a complete mess.

Tracing the Second Software Load

Well, at this point, I decided to try and load the software myself. Before loading software, I always run InControl (inctrl3) from Ziff-Davis. It wasn't run the first time since my son had done the install.

By the way, I strongly suggest using InControl. It tracks changes to your file structure, ini files, autoexec.bat, config.sys, and your registry. (Some configuration is required to get good coverage.)

At any rate, the basic install placed 21.6 megabytes (854 files and 47 folders) on the E-drive and only 12 files and 16 shortcuts on the C-drive. Not too bad.

Then I set up InControl again and selected Copy CD. There was a dialog box stating the additional software had to be loaded. I simply clicked all the affirmative boxes and the software was installed. There was never an opportunity to specify where the software should be loaded. I was very surprised to see that 843 files and directories had been loaded on the C-drive. In addition, all the shortcuts in the Start / Programs menu had been changed to point to the C-drive, except for the Disaster Recovery links.

Both drives now contain the same files except that EasyCDCreator (5.52 Meg) was installed on the C-drive and both DirectCD (2.54 Meg) and HP Disaster Recovery (4.08 Meg) were installed on the E-drive. There is also a small difference in the E-Reg directory.

There were also a number of changes in the registry. Of course, the main uninstall pointer points to the C-drive.

The 2 icons on the desktop were not modified, but the links to the same 2 programs in the Start menu were.

It is pretty obvious to me that this install procedure was never tested. What a mess. There is software installed that will never be executed and can never be uninstalled. Also usage counts for several shared dlls were double incremented. (This is stored in the registry.)

At this point, I re-booted the computer and then pressed Alt-Ctrl-Del to list the running programs. It appears that 2 new programs are being run every time I re-boot the computer - the software to control the CD-Writer and a parasite.

(New device drivers and other executables may also be running, but they do not show up via Alt-Ctrl-Del. Try InfoSpy from Ziff-Davis to see these.)

Registration Parasite

This is absolutely unacceptable.

HP placed 2 copies of a registration parasite on my system.

   C:\Program Files\CD-Writer Plus\E-Reg     6.53 Megs   93 files
   E:\Program Files\CD-Writer Plus\E-Reg     6.53 Megs   97 files
Remind32.exe is run via Start / Programs / StartUp.

Thus, HP has consumed hard disk space, slowed down system start up, and occupied RAM and system resources without my knowledge or permission. This is the basic definition of a parasite.

Investigation of the associated files indicates that this parasite is written by (or configured with the help of) Catapult Systems and/or IntelliQuest Communications, Inc.


By the way, there was a "problem" trying to register the product. At one point, you will be requested to enter the drive's serial number. Guess what? The serial number is on top of the drive. That's right, you have to turn off the computer and remove the drive to get the required serial number that you must enter to complete the registration :(

I don't know what moron decided that this was a good idea!

Of course, the registration app does not bother to tell you where the number is. Keep your screw driver handy.

On one of the HP web pages, I found a note indicating that if you open the CD drawer, the serial number is underneath it. However, to read it I needed to lie on the floor and use a magnifying glass. I found it easier to just remove the drive. (Bigger numbers :)


Under the original Windows 95, installing this software completely filled up the C-drive, crashed my system, and made it unusable.

Eventually, I recovered the system and re-installed the software.

Currently, this product runs 2 programs every time I boot my computer - the software to control the CD-Writer and a parasite.

Total time lost on this incident - one day of my life and counting.

Install Under Windows 98

I installed the exact same software on a Windows 98 hard drive. This time, I allowed it to install on the C-drive. The wierd thing is that it installed everything - including EasyCDCreator!

This is very confusing. Under Windows 95, when installing to the E-drive, EasyCDCreator was not installed until I tried to use it. This time, under Windows 98, when installing to the C-drive, EasyCDCreator was installed by default.

    C:\Program Files\CD-Writer Plus  27.3 Mb 883 Files 48 folders 
I un-installed the software and tried to re-install it on the E-drive. It was flawless. EasyCDCreator was installed with the rest of the software and it used the same number of files and bytes on the E-drive as used when installing to the C-drive.

This pretty much proves that the problem I had was due to the operating system.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Upgrades / HP_CD-ROM.htm