Ok, for starters, this is the only prosumer scanner I can find that comes anywhere near replacing my dying HP8200 scanner. So I had to eat my review-based words about not getting an 8300. When I examined the reviews more closely almost all of the problems were, or could have been, with the bloated HP Wreckware, not the scanner itself, and like the other reviewers who had no trouble with scanner operation, I use Hamrick's incomparable VueScan software and have for years.
VueScan includes drivers for about every scanner in the world, so I just hooked the scanner up to the computer and turned it on, and very soon the message that my device was ready to use popped up. I clicked my VueScan shortcut and away we went. I did need to reset the scanning parameters to my normal Text, 400dpi scanning setup.
Everything has gone perfectly so far and this scanner has some features that the old one didn't.
1. The lid has a stop -- catches and stops at vertical. I don't know how long whatever bit of plastic is doing the stopping will last -- was there no such stop on the 8200 or was it broken? But it's nice not to have to have the scanner where the lid can recline on the side of the monitor.
2. The document sheet orientation is different -- the "blind" side is now the near side, so the document goes against the far side of the glass. I think it would work better to push a warped or oversized page to align it than it was pulling one toward me. Unfortunately, I have to have the scanner's short end to the front of my cluttered desk. (Fortunately, VueScan has rotate and flip settings, for the dimensionally challenged who can't learn to put a piece of music upside down from the way it's always been.)
3. The transformer is now inside the scanner -- power end is a standard 3-prong plug. (Hooray!)
4. There's a hardware on/off switch next to the power cord plug-in on the back of the scanner. I got the old one into a couple of situations where this would have been a Great Good Thing.
5. The lid lifts up or off -- it's possible to scan a page in a book of almost any depth, like the family bible. It doesn't, however, seem to slip out of the hinge slots at the least lift, as the lid to the 8200 did.
The USB cord isn't quite as long as I would like -- probably about 6 feet. It might not work with a longer cord -- high-output devices often don't. (I have USB 2-- don't know if USB 3 would allow a longer cord?)
Note: I don't know anything about how the buttons will work without the HP Wreckware and I don't want to find out. I hope they don't work at all because the cat was always lying on them and causing no end of trouble. The front panel on the 8300 looks a little more protected from accidentally (catsidentally?) pressing a button than the 8200 was.
(I checked Windows' "Devices and Printers" (on the Control Panel) and it says the scanner belongs to Hamrick, so it's Vuescan's driver, not Win 7's. HP's website has a "basic" driver -- so-called... and possibly the HP disk does too. I'd recommend VueScan's management over anything HP could come up with, from my experience with several printers and 2 or 3 scanners.)
I'll be a happy flutist if this scanner lasts as long as the 8200 did.