Printer ink is the perennial bane of computer users' existence. The screencap above shows a common situation experienced by users like me who print almost exclusively black-and-white documents - the color ink level keeps declining.
I have been told that small amounts of color ink are dispersed during B&W printing in order to 1) improve the quality of the black color (?) and/or 2) to prevent the color inkjet nozzles from drying and clogging, and I have been told to "live with it."
This week while shopping for a new printer, I found a workaround offered at Consumer Reports:
I had the very same problem - kept running out of color ink even though I had printed few or no color pages. I asked the clerk at Office Depot and he told me to set the color to "grayscale". But, i couldn't find where to do this for my HP Photosmart printer. Every time I bought ink, I asked again, and looked again with no success, until a few months ago when i put some serious problem-solving time into finding how to do this. Finally, I found it. This is how to do it. When the print screen comes up, select Paper Type/Quality" from the drop-down menu showing "Layout". On that screen click the triangle by "Color Options". From the new options that are displayed choose "Grayscale" from the "Color" menu, then select "Black Print Cartridge Only" from the "Grayscale Mode" menu.I'm going to give this a try, but still occasionally print the old way to prevent nozzle blockage. I don't know whether this tip is applicable across printer platforms. There will be readers here who know way more about this topic - please feel free to share your expertise in the Comments.
It worked! I haven't gotten a message since that I am low on any color ink. The fact that one has to go through four menus and choices makes me think that they don't want us to find it or even know about it. Good luck, hope you can find "Grayscale" on your print screen.