How to Troubleshoot Network Printing Problems

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This article describes how to troubleshoot network printing problems. Note that this article references a more extensive article about troubleshooting local (non-network) printing issues. This is because many printing issues are caused at the local level, and are not actually related to "network" issues.


To troubleshoot problems printing to a network printer:
  1. Verify that your printing issue is actually related to your network, and is not caused by a local printing issue. To do so, try printing to a local printer, or perform the steps in the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    128345 Troubleshooting Printing Problems in Windows 95/98
    Note that if you can print to a local printer, your issue is probably network related. You may need to contact your system administrator for further assistance with your printing issue.
  2. Print to a file, and then copy the file to the print server:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Right-click the printer you want to use, and then click Properties.
    3. Click the Details tab, and then click File in the Print To The Following Port box.
    4. Print a document from any program. When you are prompted, type a file name for the print job.
    5. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click MS-DOS Prompt.
    6. At the command prompt, type copy path to filefile namenetwork printer name /b, and then press ENTER, where path to file is the location of the file you created in step D, file name is the name of the file you created in step D, and network printer name is the location of the printer on the network (for example, \\servername\sharename).

      NOTE: The /b switch denotes a binary file and causes the whole file to be printed. Without the /b switch, the whole file may not be printed. The printer may stop printing the file at the first CTRL+Z character it encounters in the file.
  3. Capture a printer port for the network printer rather than using a universal naming convention (UNC) connection:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Right-click the printer you want to use, and then click Properties.
    3. Click the Details tab, and then click Capture Printer Port.
    4. Click the port you want to capture (such as LPT2) and the path to the network printer (such as \\server name\printer share name).

      NOTE: If you want this connection to be available each time you start your computer, click to select the Reconnect At Logon check box.
  4. Try to print the document from another computer on the network. If you can print successfully from a different computer, your issue is specific to your local computer or with the program or document on your computer. You may need to perform the steps in the article listed in step 1.
  5. If you still cannot print to the network printer, perform standard network troubleshooting steps:
    • Try to browse the print server.
    • Remove and reinstall your network protocols.
  6. If you have multiple network clients installed, try removing one of the clients:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network.
    2. Click one of the network clients, and then click Remove.
    3. Click OK.
    4. Restart your computer, and try to print again.

For help with printer problems in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft web page:


Article ID: 243075 - Last Review: September 23, 2011 - Revision: 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows 95
kbfaq kbhowto kbnetwork kbprint kbtshoot KB243075

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