Can't Print Black With Missing Color Cartridge?

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
May 20, 2016

I was given a new HP Officejet 6600 printer, copier, fax machine. It still had the low amount 'sample' ink cartridges that came with the machine.


99% of my printing is done in black and white, but by printing two color pictures, I depleted the yellow ink supply. I have since replaced the black ink cartridge.

The machine is set to print in black and white only, but because it is out of yellow ink, it will not print in black and white (in fact, will not print, period) until I replace the yellow ink cartridge. Now, I cannot use the machine for my purposes until I purchase ink I don't need.

I went online and found that many people are confronted with this same issue. At least two sites offered 'hacks' or work arounds to get the machine to print in black and white without purchasing the expensive, unneeded yellow ink.

Neither of the hacks worked for me. The machine still insists I replace the yellow ink cartridge (and directs me to an HP site to purchase same). Does anyone know of a way to get this printer to print black and white without buying unneeded yellow ink?

(Shame on you, HP, for this highly unethical practice).


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
May 22, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

This post is based on my situation from two months earlier. In disgust, I haven't used the printer since. After making the post, I again reviewed the situation and possible options.


First, I have found cheaper ink. For less than $9.00 and free shipping, I purchased an original HP yellow ink cartridge for this printer from Amazon. I find this ink price well within reason.

Second, while researching, I found more information (directly or indirectly) from HP as to why this 6600 printer will not permit black only printing when any of the color ink cartridges are empty.

Apparently, when printing in black only, the color ink cartridges are engaged in the process as well, even though they are not 'releasing' ink.

HP's claim is that if the color ink cartridges are empty during this process, damage to the printheads is a possibility. With almost no knowledge of printers, I can understand this could well be true.

What I don't understand is why in the year this printer was manufactured (2014?), it was put on the market with such a design flaw.

At the very least, it should be possible to design these machines so that they stop color ink use while there is still a reserve amount of ink left in the cartridge, a reserve that would act as a buffer to prevent printhead damage should the user need to continue printing in black only.


I stand by the statement I made in the original post:

(Shame on you, HP, for this highly unethical practice).

Reply Was this helpful? 1

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
May 21, 20160 found this helpful

This might sound simplistic and I am sure you have done it but in case you haven't, try gray scale. I don't know if that will help but short of tech support. Also, HP has a service that only cost's about 3.00 a month. They actually monitor your printing, and you get 50 free pages, then they bill you for over that. But they send you ink when they see you about to run out. Hey, at least you don't have Lexmark...they were from Sweden and the ink about broke me. Good luck!

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April 27, 20190 found this helpful

HP just wants to sell expensive color cartridges we have a world of thieves now.

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December 14, 20190 found this helpful

We are currently in 2019, my Epson refuses to print.
I had this important paper to print for a presentation and was not concerned since i had just put a new black ink... but with no yellow ink the printer DID NOT DO ITS JOB AND REFUSED TO PRINT.


This is unacceptable...had to run to the store and print it, if i knew this i would never have bought a printer!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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