PIP/Works: How to Troubleshoot Printing Issues

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SUMMARY

This article describes the best troubleshooting steps to use when you have problems printing but you are not receiving error messages.

Printing problems may include (but are not limited to):
  • Garbled or jumbled output from the printer.
  • When you click Print, nothing happens (no print job is sent to the printer).
  • The printer only prints part of the document or image.
  • The program or computer stops responding (hangs) when you click Print.

MORE INFORMATION

To resolve printing problems in the programs listed at the beginning of this article, use the following methods in the order given.

Verify the Printer Settings and Hardware

To verify printer settings and hardware, follow these steps:
  1. Make sure the printer cable and power cord are plugged in to the computer and power outlets.
  2. Make sure the printer is turned on.
  3. Verify that the correct printer is installed. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Verify that the printer listed is the printer that is attached to your computer.

      If it is not, right-click the printer listed, and then click Delete. Install the correct printer.
  4. Verify that the printer is not set to work offline. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Click to highlight the printer that you are using.
    3. On the File menu, click to clear check mark next to Work Offline.
    4. Close the Printer dialog box.
  5. Verify that the printer settings are correct. Click Restore on each tab in the printers properties if you are not sure of the correct settings. Consult your printer's documentation or contact your printer manufacturer to receive additional information about how to configure your printer options.

    To open the Printer Properties dialog box, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Click to highlight the printer that you are using.
    3. On the File menu, click Properties.
    4. Close the Printer dialog box after you verify the settings on each tab.

Check Hard Disk Space

Do you have enough disk space for spooling? Depending on the size of the file that you are printing, it is best to have at least 50 to 100 megabytes (MB) of free space on the hard drive where Microsoft Windows is installed.

To check disk space, follow these steps:
  1. Double-click My Computer.
  2. Right-click the drive where Windows is installed, and then click Properties.

    The free space information is displayed.

Empty the Temporary Files Folder

Windows uses the Windows\Temp folder to temporarily store files while they are being printed. If this folder is too full to store the printer and file information, problems can result.

To empty the Temp folder, use the Disk Cleanup utility. To use Disk Cleanup, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs (in Microsoft Windows XP, point to All Programs), point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup.
  2. Select the drive Windows is installed (usually C), and then click OK.
  3. On the Disk Cleanup tab, click to add a check mark in front of Temporary Files.
  4. Click OK, and then click Yes.
NOTE: Disk Cleanup displays a status bar during the process, and then quits when it is finished.

Test the Printing Process

To test the printing process, follow these steps:
  1. In the document that you want to print, click Print on the File menu.
  2. Under Printer, click the Print to file check box, and then click OK.
This will determine whether the spool process is working. If no file is printed, proceed to the next step.

Update Printer Drivers

Update the drivers for your printer.

For information about how to contact your printer manufacturer, click the appropriate article number in the following list to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
65416 Hardware and Software Third-Party Vendor Contact List, A-K

60781 Hardware and Software Third-Party Vendor Contact List, L-P

60782 Hardware and Software Third-Party Vendor Contact List, Q-Z
If no updated drivers are available from your printer, proceed to the next step.

Use a Different Printer Driver

Some printers can use drivers from different models of the same manufacturer. For example, Hewlett Packard (HP) PhotoSmart 1000 work with the HP DeskJet 870cSE driver, although this may reduce some of the functions of the printer. Check with your printer manufacturer for the best substitute printer driver to use.

Use Workaround Methods

If none of the steps above resolved your issue, the following workarounds may help.

Change the Data Format to Raw

To change the data format to raw, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click your printer, and then click Properties.
  3. On the Details tab, click Spool Settings, and then click Raw.
  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  5. Restart the computer.

Print Directly to the Printer

To print directly to the printer, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click your printer icon, and then click Properties.
  3. On the Details tab, click Spool Settings, and then click Print directly to printer.
  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  5. Restart the computer.

Reduce Display Settings

To reduce your display settings, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Display.
  3. Click the Settings tab, and then write down the settings for Colors and Screen area.
  4. In the Colors or Color Palette box, click High Color (16 bit).
  5. Move the Screen area or Desktop area slider to 800 by 600 pixels.
  6. Click OK.
  7. If you are prompted to restart the computer, click Yes.
NOTE: You can change the display settings to 640 by 480 pixels at a color palette of 256 colors. Some of the products may not work with these low settings. Check the system requirements listed on the product box.

Configure the Print Mode

Some printers can be configured to use a low quality default print mode that does not print graphics or photographs well. To configure the print mode of your printer, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click your printer icon, and then click Properties.
  3. In the Print Mode (or Print Quality) box, click Photo, Graphic, or Best.
  4. On the General tab, click Printing Preferences, and then make the configuration changes that you want.
The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.


Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

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Article ID: 313250 - Last Review: October 24, 2013 - Revision: 5.2
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