Serial Printer Communication Fault Pop-up Notification, Functionality Available

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Article ID: 217069 - View products that this article applies to.
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When serially connected printers experience a communication break or an out of resource condition such as out of paper on Windows NT 4.0, this is not communicated back to the server through a dialog box or a pop-up message. It simply stops printing to the printer, and continues spooling the print job in the spooler until it is finished being sent from the client. The print job will now sit in the spooler until someone resolves the communication or resource problem. If the print job is restarted before the printer problem is resolved, it is possible for the spooler to think the printer problem is resolved and send the spooled up print job to the bit bucket.


To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT 4.0 or the individual software update. For information on obtaining the latest service pack, please go to:
  • Windows Service Pack Center -or-

  • 152734 how to obtain the latest windows nt 4.0 service pack
For information on obtaining the individual software update, contact Microsoft Product Support Services. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services phone numbers and information on support costs, please go to the following address on the World Wide Web:


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Windows NT 4.0. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT version 4.0 Service Pack 5.

More information

The updated code now creates a pop-up message when a communication error occurs. The user can respond to the fault when it has been resolved. If the fault is resolved but you cannot get to the server to respond, the system will automatically retry approximately every 5 seconds, and, if successful, will remove the pop-up message.


Article ID: 217069 - Last Review: November 2, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
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