Initially, some speculated that the presence of another HP device, such as a printer, on the network might trigger these installations. However, this theory was swiftly debunked as the root cause. Intriguingly, the HP Smart app doesn't consistently install itself during new Windows installations. One user, Zeuserlios1283, noted that after three fresh OS installations, the app ceased to appear.
A Reddit post by user Zeuserlios1283 explained the odd occurrence:
"I made clean Windows 11 install, and the app named "HP Smart" just appeared," said the poster.
"I don't even have a printer. I thought there is a printer connecting to my network, when i open the app and scan for the printers in my network it found nothing. I tried 2 times clean install and it keeps coming up. Is this malware or something?"
They were eventually able to rid their PC of the HP Smart app after performing three clean installs. I'm not sure why the user felt the need to clean install their system three times when uninstalling the app would have accomplished the same thing.
A separate post in the WindowsHelp subreddit outlines a similar problem affecting Windows 10 PCs.
Currently, neither Microsoft nor HP has offered an official explanation for this puzzling occurrence. Users have expressed frustration, likening the unintentional app installation to bloatware or, in extreme cases, malware. Fortunately, it seems to be the legitimate HP Smart app, so there's no inherent harm in having it on your system. Nonetheless, the situation is undoubtedly vexing. It is hoped that Microsoft or HP will address this matter with a clear explanation and a resolution in the near future.