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Troubleshooting Print Screen Problems

This article was previously published under Q75180
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
You may experience problems when doing a Print Screen from DOS withGRAPHICS.COM loaded. The symptoms may include the following:

  • the machine hangs
  • the printer prints unexpected characters
  • the computer displays the "STACK OVERFLOW" error message
  • Print Screen does not work
The following steps may help solve the problem or explain why theprint screen does not work.

  1. The Print Screen utility uses many hardware interrupts, so it is possible that the stack space is running out. To check if space is running out, add the following command to the CONFIG.SYS file (delete any other STACKS= command):
    If this still does not work, add the line
    to the CONFIG.SYS file.
  2. If Print Screen does not work to a Hewlett-Packard (HP) printer when using GRAPHICS.COM, use the HP LaserJet option as a workaround.

  1. Remove all TSRs except GRAPHICS.COM.
  2. Try a lower resolution. Often, a high resolution graphics card (for example, super VGA) will not print properly using Print Screen.
  3. Check for possible hardware problems. These may include:

    • the BIOS does not support the INT 5 call used for Print Screen
    • the printer does not support the Print Screen options chosen
    • the printer cable is bad
    • the printer is not working correctly
To confirm that the printer is working correctly, try copying a fileto the printer port. For example, if the printer is connected toCOM1, type the following command from the command prompt:
copy c:\autoexec.bat com1
If no printing occurs, there could be a hardware configuration problemfor the ports. To check for this, try the following;

  1. Type debug to start the MS-DOS Debug utility.
  2. At the Debug prompt (-), enter d 40:8 L4. The following (or something similar) will be displayed:
          78 03 BC 03						
The first two numbers represent the I/O port address of LPT1. Thesecond set of two numbers represent the I/O port address of LPT2.These sets of numbers are read in reverse order. For example, 78 03would be interpreted as 0378 for the port address. Similarly, BC 03would be interpreted as 03BC.

Normal values for these numbers should be as follows;
        Printer   PC/XT        AT          PS/2        Port      I/O Range    I/O Rng     I/O Rng        -------   ---------    -------     -------        LPT1      03BC-03BF    03BC-03BF   03BC-03BF        LPT2      0378-037F    0378-037F   0378-037B        LPT3      0278-027F    0278-027F   0278-027B				
Note: Not all machines will follow these settings.

For more information on troubleshooting COM ports and using Debug tocreate a script file to alter the BIOS table settings, query on thefollowing words:
communications and tshoot
If after checking these settings Print Screen still does not print,then it is not a print screen problem. However, check the MODE commandin the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, and change it so that retry=r. For example,a printer hooked to COM1 at 9600 bits per second (bps), no parity, 8 databits, and 1 stop bit should have the following MODE command:
   mode com1: 9600,n,8,1,r				
The "r" is needed because the MODE command checks to see if DSR (datasend ready) or CTS (clear to send) return "ready." If one of them doesnot report ready, DOS will not print. By putting the "r" in the MODEcommand, you specify "Return 'ready' from a status check of a busyport," which has the effect of always returning "ready." The drawbackis that DOS will give a "Critical Error" message if the printer is notready (for example, the printer is off or something else disallowsprinting).

If the printer is a parallel printer, DOS 5.0 and later requires astatus pin. This was added to MS-DOS 5.0 and later because in someconfigurations if the printer was not ready when a print job was sent,the machine would appear to hang.

For more information on the STACKS command, query on the followingwords:
information stacks command ms-dos
For more information on the Print Screen function, query on thefollowing words:
print bios int
For more information on the MODE command, see the version 5.0"Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide and Reference" manual.
"Programmer's PC Sourcebook," Thom Hogan. Microsoft Press.
6.22 5.00 5.00a 6.00 6.20 tshoot graphics PrintScreen prtscrn shift+prtscrn

Article ID: 75180 - Last Review: 12/04/2015 09:09:23 - Revision: 2.0

Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 Standard Edition, Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0a, Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition, Microsoft MS-DOS 6.2 Standard Edition, Microsoft MS-DOS 6.21 Standard Edition, Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22 Standard Edition

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