How To Downgrade Epson XP Printer Firmware (Fix Ink Not Recognized Error) XP-300 to XP-630 & XP-640

 

PrinterDespite a supreme court ruling in favor of third party ink suppliers, printer manufacturers remain relentless in their quest to eliminate cheaper ink alternatives. Everything from issuing stealth firmware updates disguised as security patches, to questionable takedown notices on eBay, these companies are determined to make consumers pay for their high cost ink.

For Epson, new firmware updates are applied by default as part of the routine software update checks. Although the firmware frequency varies by model, many printers were issued a January 2018 update that effectively disabled the majority of third party ink cartridges. Printers affected by this will suddenly receive notices that one or more ink cartridges are unrecognized, incompatible or non-genuine. The company expects you to replace the ink with their much more expensive name brand format in order to continue using the printer at all (e.g., $100.95 from Epson's shop for the full 410XL ink pack, versus $27.79 by a competing ink remanufacturer).

Luckily, it is usually possible to restore an older version of the printer's firmware and resolve these newfound and self-imposed incompatibilities. The difficult part is figuring out how, since printer companies are notorious for removing old firmware as soon as the new version gets released and they rarely document how to get the printer into recovery mode or transmit older firmware.

This guide is for the Epson XP series and should work on any model from 300 through at least 630, and likely many others with minor adjustments in the instructions. Please refer to the video for an illustrated demonstration.

  1. Connect a USB cable from the printer to a computer or laptop. When in recovery mode, a USB connection is required to transfer the firmware to the printer, even if you already have it connected wirelessly.
  2. Remove all of the ink cartridges from the printer. This will ensure that all cartridge-related errors will be reset after applying the alternate firmware.
  3. Power off the printer. As soon as the printer is completely shut down, perform the following key combination until the firmware update screen appears in white text [if the printer instead boots to its regular screen or IPL mode with red text, you may have to look-up or experimennt to find the proper recovery mode combination for your printer model]:
    1. For many series from XP-300 to XP-630 series: Press and hold the STOP button, LEFT ARROW button, HOME button and POWER button simultaneously
    2. For the XP-400-446 and XP-640 to XP-646: Press and hold the STOP button, LEFT ARROW button, DOWN ARROW button and POWER button  simultaneously (thanks to Ken for the combo)
    3. For other models or if you can't get the above to work: Try all of the above and if you still fail to reach recovery mode, you can check this link for additional combo keys.
  4. Download the older firmware onto the connected laptop or computer. It may take some research to find the desired firmware, since most printer manufacturers remove obsolete firmware from their site immediately and provide no downgrade instructions. Epson's printers use a self-installing firmware updater that can be run directly from Windows or MacOS. In the case of the XP-630, the earliest firmware update that is the most compatible with third party cartridges is NQ10F8 from 2015.  A direct link to some older XP-630 firmware versions is below; for other models you will want to research compatible firmware.
  5. After launching the downloaded firmware installer, step through the wizard by following the on-screen instructions. In the case of Epson, you mostly have to click next through a few pages of disclaimers. Assuming the printer is connected to the PC with a USB cable and powered up to the recovery screen, you should see a single entry in the Model list and it should be checked. Click Start to begin the firmware downgrade, and then click Yes to confirm. The prior firmware will be transferred to the printer, where it will begin flashing automatically. This process can take several minutes, but when it is completed the on-screen display will indicate that it has finished.
  6. Once the downgrade is complete, press OK or unplug the printer to power it off. Then power it on again. When prompted, insert the ink as usual and then let the printer complete the ink initialization.

If all of the instructions have been followed successfully, you should no longer receive errors about incompatible ink when using third party cartridges and will be free to print once again. Make sure to disable or otherwise ignore any prompts to update the firmware again to avoid this happening in the future. For Epson, you can uninstall Epson Software Updater as an extra precaution, or simply remember to always uncheck the firwmare updates when prompted (it is safe to update the other software packages).

One unaffiliated third party site that I found of value is Xtrime Printer Drivers, which includes variety of software and firmware downloads for Epson, Canon and Brother printers circa 2015-2016. You may wish to run any downloaded file through a scanner such as VirusTotal to ensure it is clean before running it). You may also find WIC Utility of interest (also unaffiliated); the free version can query many printers to detect older firmware versions and list them for review, but to actually downgrade using this software instead of manually as described in this video costs $20 per reset. Some additional firmware downgrade key combination instructions for other XP models can be reviewed here.

62 thoughts on “How To Downgrade Epson XP Printer Firmware (Fix Ink Not Recognized Error) XP-300 to XP-630 & XP-640

  1. Dude. You are awesome. I was about to toss this POS into the trash. I decided to give it one more go and find a way to fix it. Thank you so much.

  2. Thanks for this great post, very well done.
    Tried this on an Epson Expression XP-640: it uses the right arrow button instead of the left in the button sequence to enable the firmware update mode. The printer, though, returns "Data File not found" on the LCD screen, after the firmware has been copied to it, and older firmware will not load. (tried NK10G8, oldest, and NK19H5, same result for both). Trying to downgrade the firmware with the printer on in normal printing mode does not work either: the software will not allow an older firmware to overwrite newer. Any solution to this?

  3. When I try to run either of the linked EXE programs, IU get a FILE IS NOT FOUND error message.
    I have an XP-434.
    Help!!!!
    Thank you.

  4. PULL INK OUT FIRST.... On the XP-640 @ XP-646 to put in program mode. With the power off push ( STOP : LEFT ARROW : down ARROW : and POWER ) At the same time this well put the printer in program mode it well be White on screen then download firmware it well say finished on screen and give the firmware update on screen NK10G8. You have to unplug the printer to get the white screen off. After it is off plug it back in and turn it back on. Put ink back in then You can check the firmware version on the printer screen.

    • Thanks, Ken! I haven't had the chance to test on a 640 yet, but will add an update with the aforementioned key combo (STOP + LEFT + DOWN + POWER) since it is different from the 630 and lower (STOP + LEFT + HOME + POWER).

  5. Hey so my brother and I were going through the steps of fixing our 440. Everything goes swimmingly well up until I run the firmware updater where in which the printer displays the update mode and flashes No Files Found. Did I mess something up along the way or did I not apply the right firmware?

  6. I can't find an older firmware version for MAC for the XP-640 that seems to work. The link above took me to the XP-630 which isn't compatible for the XP-640. I found one dated 08/21/17 (firmware version 1D.1F.NK19H5), but when I connect the Epson Firmware Updater to the printer, under tab 5 (of7) I get an error message stating "The printer is not connected or the connected printer is not the target printer."
    If anyone else has managed to find the older firmware, or had success downgrading the XP-640, I'd really appreciate some tips on how you did that.

    • David, I'm a Mac user who had the same problem as you with finding Mac Firmware for my XP-640. Took me a long time, but I finally found it at this link: https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson18246.dmg (It's at this website: http://www.printersdriver.download/epson). If you go the website, once you get to the Epson XP-640 page, scroll down until you see the section called "Download Epson XP-640 Drivers for Mac." At the very bottom of that section, you will see the NK10G8 recovery firmware download for Mac. Following the rest of Matt's instructions will get you there. Worked for me!

      Matt, I would recommend you include the firmware link for Mac in your original instructions. The only link you have is for PC's, and it was sure disappointing to get that far and then be stuck. But thanks so much for putting this up to save all of us from crooked corporate America that just wants to make obscene money off of us.

  7. Thanks! Worked for my 440 with this combo as stated above: "Press and hold the STOP button, LEFT ARROW button, DOWN ARROW button and POWER button simultaneously ". Uninstalled every bit of Epson bloatware: Customer Satisfaction Survey; Updater; and their BS Ready Ink crap.

    • Good to hear! You can also disable the nag screen on the printer itself via Settings > Firmware Update > Notification > Off. Otherwise every time you want to perform any action on the printer screen itself you'll be prompted about the newer firmware.

  8. Question on a conflict of instructions- You mention in step 6 to push ok or power it off, but the software install says it will power off automatically for the XP630 downgrade. Which should I do?

    • Hi Tim. Many times the printer will not actually power off by itself after the "recovery firmware" is completed until you unplug it or press the Power button, even though it says it may. You can proceed with the firmware install as it states, and if it powers off on its own that is fine but otherwise you should see "FINISHED" on the printer screen after it is successful and can then unplug or otherwise power it off then restart it.

  9. I have an Epson XP-440 that gets an error message when I try this. There doesn't seem to be specific instructions for this model. Help?!

    • Hi. For XP-440 try the combo: CANCEL + DOWN + LEFT + POWER ON to enter firmware recovery mode. Firmware from September 2017 is at https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson19134.exe . The text on the printer screen when in firmware update mode should be white. If it is red or says IPL mode then you may instead try STOP + RIGHT + HOME + POWER but I think the first combo is correct.

  10. I am going to try this. Question though (I'm completely ignorant on these issues so pardon), do I uninstall from control panel first or do this as is?

  11. It finished! However, it won't accept the blank ink still. Better than before where it wouldn't accept any color. What should I try next?

  12. NM! I took the black and put back in. OMW! It's back to working! Thank you so much for this incredible information.

    • Glad you got it working! Yes sometimes after downgrading you may have to remove and insert the ink once more or there may still be some residual issues. You can also now disable the firmware update nag screen on the printer via Settings > Firmware Update > Notifications.

      • Thank you so much for this!! I have the XP-434 as well, and I had the same problem she did - after it was downgraded the black ink still wouldn't work (the only off-brand cartridge in it), but now it does.
        Thank you!!!!! In my initial googling earlier today, so many sites said that it was impossible to fix it once the firmware had been updated. You're a lifesaver!!! I was about to go all Office Space on this bitch until I found your article!

  13. Many Thanks. Latest Firmware update to my Epson XP-440 on 4/16/2018. reported it couldn't find 3 of 4 cartridges. Fixed with your instructions. Details for posterity:

    Dug out a USB-B cable, plugged it in to make sure PC saw it. removed ink cartridges and shut down printer. Turned it back on using CANCEL + DOWN + LEFT + POWER ON (cancel is triangle-in-circle). Powered on and black screen with white text appeared. Winodws popped up a new hardware wizard but couldn't find any device to add. I just clicked cancel. Ran the Firmware from September 2017 you linked at https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson19134.exe . Window popped up, clicked next and agree a couple times. It showed a usb device in the list like you said. I clicked Start and waited. 5 min or so later the printer screen said success. had to pull the power cord to shut down. turned it back on, it prompted to insert cartridges. did so, and it proceeded to prepare cartridges and all seems well. it immediately said a new firmware update was available. I went to Setup/firmware update/notification/Off. All cartridges good, prints fine again. Thanks!

  14. Was so close to going 'office space' on this POS (fuck EPSON; never again) and I figured I'd see if there was an easy roll-back option. Excellent work, this worked flawlessly on my XP-630.

  15. I was SO pissed when my Epson firmware update screwed my aftermarket ink. Of course, Epson customer service would not admit the update had anything to do with the screw up. All she would say, repeatedly, was, "We strongly recommend you use genuine Epson ink." Fucking bitch!! Well, your site didn't include the XP 434, but following your procedure, and using the 2016 Epson firmware download from https://driverscollection.com/, I got my printer back!! Thanks a million. BEWARE FIRMWARE UPDATES

  16. Hi, This appears to be a good solution, however when I get to step 5 on the installation "Firmware Updater" the "START" button is greyed out, therefor I can not select "Start" and unable to continue. ALso if any links to an alternative drive would be appreciated (maybe its the driver I have tired epson 18174exe. and a couple of others). This is for an Epson XP-640

    • Hi Dan, it sounds like the software isn't detecting the printer connected from USB which can happen if the printer isn't in the correct firmware recovery mode. Make sure you are entering firmware mode for the 640 by pressing STOP + LEFT + DOWN + POWER. This is a different combo than XP-630. If your printer screen shows RED text then you are in the wrong update mode and the firmware won't work. It should show WHITE text after using the combo I just mentioned. At step 5 there should be a single entry under "Model Name" (might have a blank name) and it must be checked to continue. The http://mattpilz.com/downloads/epson18174.exe firmware should work as others have had success with it and the 640.

  17. Does anyone know where to safely download firmware JO10G3 for XP-330?

    I found a recovery download from Epson but it will not install to downgrade.

  18. Hi Matt,
    Thanks so much for the quick reply. I have done all the items you've mentioned. The Printer Unit is in update mode with WHITE text.
    It says EPSON PRINTER ROM Program UPdate Mode,,,NK04
    I also used a new USB cable to make sure that wasn't the issue. On the updater screen there is nothing all under Model Name. Any other ideas?

    • If you have access to a different computer or laptop I would recommend trying it on that to ensure there isn't just some odd driver conflict on your current PC. Also, make sure you have installed the full driver and combo package onto your computer and you can try restarting your computer again before connecting it in recovery mode - The combo package is at https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson17187.exe for the XP-640.

  19. Matt,
    Thank you so much for your help getting my XP-330 back to printing. I was sick thinking about the money lost on my full cartridges and then tossing my fairly new XP-330. (I find it difficult to succumb to blackmail) . You are correct in key sequence to get into printer update mode. The only additional step I needed to take was to remove the cartridges before getting into the update mode.
    Thanks again and kind regards.

  20. YES YES, thank you! As Constance said above, my XP-330 got back into shape after your hack. Epson makes me so mad but thankfully I found your page.

  21. Thank you!!! Your epson17757.exe firmware file and above guide saved my XP-330 from the recycle center. Epson's latest March 2018 firmware update screwed me over hard by rejecting all third party ink that I put into it. The epson17757.exe firmware actually works better than what I had before. The XP-330 used to complain about third party ink, but would still work. Now it doesn't even complain. From other Epson inkjet printer user's reviews I have been reading Epson seems to be the worst offender in trying to block users from using third party ink. Guess what brand I'm not buying anymore?

  22. Hi. I've got an Epson xp-345 printer and tried to downgrade but after I get into recovery mode I have no idea what to do next.
    I've downloaded older drivers but I think that them just for PC not for a printer.
    Please help and tell me how to resolve this problem.

    • Hi. The 345 should use the same firmware as the 340. Download the 2017 firmware from below (make sure to get PC if you are on Windows or Mac version if you are on a Mac):

      PC (Windows): https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson19136.exe
      Mac: https://ftp.epson.com/drivers/epson19137.dmg

      Then simply follow the instructions in this guide. Make sure your printer is connected with USB to the PC and that the printer is in recovery mode (white text). If you see red text then you aren't in the correct recovery mode. If STOP + LEFT + HOME + POWER doesn't bring up the white text update screen, you can try instead with STOP + LEFT + DOWN + POWER.

  23. I have an xp-434. The first time it didn't work. Flashed the firmware again with ink out hit ok ok. Power off and back on took ink out back in and ok ok again. Third time it recognized the 3rd party cartridges again

    • Good to hear. I have found that certain types of ink are more touchy after a firmware downgrade until being fully removed and reset. I think these problems would be resolved if the ink is removed and then the printer is fully restarted in regular mode (so it prompts you to insert ink) before proceeding with the downgrade instructions.

  24. hi I have an xp-310 series trying to find out were i can find the firmnware to downgrade it so I can print! any help is appreciated!

    • Old firmware for XP-225 is difficult to find since it was never released in the US and the firmware wasn't ever made available on Epson's main website. The one you'd be after is UF18F3 (2015) but it may prove challenging. The WICReset utility claims to have this firmware available to downgrade for the XP-225 but that product also requires a license to downgrade, which is like $10-$18.

      The Feb. 2018 firmware for it is buried on an offsite epson.net page but they have a totally different file system than the main website so it's not feasible to find the old download link nor any older version of the download page.

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