PC Hardware

Printing Problems

It's frustrating when a printer prints random characters or only part of the data or-worst-won't print at all. To help resolve such problems, Windows 95 offers the Print Troubleshooter. This tool can be found by selecting Help from the Start menu and then choosing the Contents tab. Select Troubleshoot and display the topic: If You Have Trouble Printing. The troubleshooter will ask a series of questions that lead you through the problem and-hopefully-provide a solution.

If the Print troubleshooter doesn't solve the problem, you can try the Enhanced Print Troubleshooter (EPTS). This program is found on the Windows 95 CD. To use this program, copy the EPTS folder (and files) from the CD to the hard disk drive. Then start the program EPTS.EXE. This program operates in the same way as the standard version, but is much more detailed.

Here are some other troubleshooting tips. If the printer won't print:

  • Make sure the power is turned on and the printer is online.

  • Check the cable connections.

  • Verify that the printer has paper.

  • Clear any paper jams.

  • Clear the print buffer by turning the printer off and restarting it.

  • Make sure the driver and the printer are in the same mode.

  • Send a print job directly to the printer (not from an application). Go to an MS-DOS prompt and send a text file directly to the printer, thus bypassing any application.

  • Try printing from another application (a simple one, such as Notepad).

  • Delete, then reinstall the printer.

  • Try printing to a file and then copy the file to the printer port.

If the printer takes a long time to print:

  • Make sure spooling is enabled and that Windows 95 is spooling to EMF files (Enhanced Metafile Spooling).

  • Make sure the drive on which Windows is installed has enough disk space.

  • Defragment the hard disk.

  • Check the system resources-are they low?

  • Upgrade the printer driver if a newer one is available (check the Web site of the printer's manufacturer).

  • Make sure Windows 95 is sending TrueType fonts as outlines and not bitmaps. (Check the Fonts tab of the printer's properties sheet.)

If the printouts contain random characters:

  • Be sure the printer language and type is correctly identified for the job.

  • Verify that there is enough printer memory to carry out the job. It's not always easy to tell how much printer memory you need-the printer may just give you an out-of-memory error. It may be useful to either eliminate graphics from the document or select a lower print resolution (you can configure the printer from the application's Printer dialog box). This can both speed up printing and possibly eliminate errors due to limited printer memory.

  • Print directly to the printer. Go to an MS-DOS prompt and send a text file directly to the printer, thus bypassing any application.

  • Use raw spooling instead of EMF.

  • Print one job only at a time.

  • Make sure the printable region isn't larger than what is supported by the printer.

If the Print command on the File menu is dimmed:

  • Verify that a printer driver is installed.

If you cannot print from a MS-DOS program:

  • From the printer's Properties sheet, deactivate Spool MS-DOS Print Jobs.