It is definitely the cable. I had this problem for 2 years with an HP LJ 1022 and I went through tech support with HP telling me that I need to install all sort of software and drivers to get it to work with my new Vista PC. None of it worked.
2 weeks ago, when the only Win XP PC that it worked with died, I saw this posting and just tried a new cable (without a label) and it worked on all my PCs (XP & Vista). So yes, it is the cable and I would advise persons to try changing that before doing anything else. I don't know what the differences could be in a USB serial cable but the best bet is to use an HP cable.
Did you have any success with your printer?
Thanks for the posting. It solved a problem I had for 2 years. I was on the verge of throughing out my printer.