Troubleshooting Printing Problems in Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0

This article was previously published under Q163551
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This article describes how to troubleshoot printing problems in Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0.

Printing to a Local Device

  1. Verify that you can print from a command prompt.

    Non-PostScript Printer:

    Type dir > lpt1 at a command prompt.

    PostScript Printer:

    For additional information about printing from a command prompt to a PostScript printer, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    64859 Testing the Connection to a PostScript Printer

    See the following Hewlett-Packard Web site:This tests to determine whether the parallel port driver and the hardware are working correctly. If you do not receive any output, get garbled output, or receive an "Unable to write to port" message, check the following hardware issues:
    • Check the cable and see if it meets the IEEE 1284 specification. If it does, it is marked on the cable itself.
    • Remove any switch boxes.
    • Perform a self test on the printer. If it prints correctly, the issue is with Windows or the program. If it does not print correctly, the issue is hardware related. Try disabling Plug and Play support in the computer's BIOS.
    NOTE: Printing from a command prompt does not work if the printer is a PostScript Printer.

  2. Try printing from WordPad or Notepad.

    This tests the printer driver. If it prints correctly, the problem lies with the program. However, this does not mean that Windows is not involved. Windows may not be running a particular printing command that the program requires. See the "Program" section of this article.

    If it does not print correctly, the problem may be in the printer driver. Try the following items:
    • If it is a PostScript printer, load the Apple LaserWriter NT driver. This is a very basic PostScript driver and using it will determine whether the problem is related to the particular PPD file for the printer.
    • If the printer is non-PostScript, load the Generic/Text Only printer driver. This is a very basic driver and using it will determine whether the basic printing stack is working properly.
    • If it is a plotter, load the Hewlett-Packard HP-GL/2 Plotter driver.
    If the device does not print with the basic drivers, see the "Printing Stack" section of this article. If it does print, see the "Program" section.

Printing to a Network Device

  1. Verify basic network connectivity.

    Check user rights, protocols, share names, and so on to determine if you can see the server. Copy files to a share on the print server using File Manager in Windows NT 3.x or Windows Explorer in later versions of Windows. If you cannot access the server, you may not be able to access the printer.
  2. Create a local printer and redirect the port to the network server.

    Create a local printer and in the Ports section, create a new port. Click Local, and type the server and printer name for the printer (use the \\servername\printername syntax). Use this port for the local printer. This determines whether there is a problem with the copying of files from the server to the workstation that occurs when you use a Connect To Setup or click Network Printer in the Add Printer Wizard.
  3. Printing from an MS-DOS-based program.

    Make sure that the NET USE command has been run to map the LPT port to the network share. If it has, delete it and re-map the port. If it then works, there may be an issue with ghosted connections. A command may need to be run in the login script to remap the port each time you log on.

    If it is still not printing, try typing "dir > LPT<x>" (without quotation marks) where <x> is the number of the port being mapped. If it still does not print, double-check the networking.

    NOTE: Printing from MS-DOS-based programs does not work if the printer is a Postscript Printer.
  4. If you are using LPR or printing to a JetDirect card using the TCP/IP protocol, try these items:
    • Ping the IP address. If it fails, check the network connectivity and verify IP addresses.
    • Create an LPR port to the printer and then create a local printer connected to that port. This is the recommended way to connect to a JetDirect printer. Sharing this printer on the network allows the computer to act as a print queue for the JetDirect printer.
    For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    124735 How Windows NT LPD Server Implements LPR Control Characters
    124734 Text of RFC1179 Standard for Windows NT TCP/IP Printing
  5. Determine whether you can print locally.

    If possible, try printing locally. This determines whether it is a network or computer-specific problem. Also see the "Program" and "Print Stack" sections of this article.


  1. Use a simpler file.

    Try creating a new document with less information in it. This determines if it is the program, or something in the document that is causing the problem.
  2. Check the available disk space on the system drive.

    If there is not enough room to spool the job, larger jobs might fail where smaller jobs do not.
  3. Try to print from another operating system.

    If possible, test with another operating system (such as Microsoft Windows 95). If it prints correctly, the problem is related to the output file.

Printing Stack

  1. Verify that the Winprint.dll file is present. For additional information about how to verify that the Winprint.dll file is present, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    105247 Err Msg: There are no Print Processors... Creating a Printer
  2. Refresh all the printer files. To do so, remove all printers from the Printers folder, delete all the files from the Winnt\System32\Spool\Drivers\W32x86 folder, and then reinstall the printers.

    NOTE: If you are using a Service Pack, reinstall the Service Pack before reinstalling the printers.
  3. Check the available space on the hard disk. If there is not enough room to spool the job, print jobs may fail.

DEC Printserver and DEC Print Monitor

The Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Printserver is a printer with anEthernet card installed. It can be accessed with the TCP/IP or DECnetprotocol. DECnet is available only from DEC.

When the Printserver printer is first turned on, it does not have a TCP/IPaddress assigned to it. The Windows NT DEC Print Monitor assigns the IPaddress to the Printserver printer by downloading the software andconfiguration to the hardware (MAC) address of the Ethernet adapter in thePrintserver.

For more information about how to set this up, click Help in the Add NewPort section of Print Manager. In Windows NT 4.0, see the Readme.txt filein the Drvlib\Print\Decmon folder on the Windows NT CD-ROM.

AutoCAD 13

If AutoCAD is not correctly configured to print, you may receive thefollowing error message:
The system is unable to set port parameters.
prodnt tshoot ntfaqmax

Article ID: 163551 - Last Review: 12/04/2015 16:21:12 - Revision: 3.3

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition

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