BASIC PRINTER TROUBLESHOOTING
BASIC TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURES:
The printer cable may be loose or defective.
The printer driver may not be properly installed or the drivers may be
The application that you are trying to print from may not be configured
with your specific printer.
There may be something in the AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS file that is conflicting
with your printer.
Your specific printer may not be configured as the default printer in Windows.
The LPT1 port may not be enabled in CMOS.
The printer may be unable to perform a self-test.
The printer mode is not selected correctly. SPP,
EPP, or ECP ?
These basic troubleshooting steps may resolve or more accurately diagnose
numerous printer problems.
PERFORM A SELF-TEST ON THE PRINTER
It is important to insure that the printer will perform a self-test. This
isolates the problem to something other than the operation of the printer
itself. Refer to your printer manual on how to perform a self-test on your
specific printer. If the printer fails to do a self-test, try disconnecting
it from the system or if possible, try the printer hooked to another system.
CHECK THE CABLE CONNECTION ON THE PRINTER AND THE COMPUTER
Make sure the parallel cable is connected securely to the printer as well
as the computer system. If possible, try another printer cable to ensure
that the cable is not defective.
MAKE SURE THAT THE PRINTER DRIVERS ARE INSTALLED
If the printer that you are using is not set as the default printer in
Windows or the printer driver is not installed, the printer may print garbled
characters. You may also receive errors when you attempt to print from
CHECK THE LPT1 SETTINGS IN CMOS
If the printer port is not properly identified in CMOS, the printer may
not function properly and you may receive errors when trying to print.
As soon as your computer begins to re-start You should see a message "Hit
DEL if you want to enter setup", begin pressing the <DEL> key until
you enter the CMOS setup.
In CMOS you will need to locate the section that contains the Onboard Parallel
Port configurations. It will possibly be Advanced CMOS Setup or Integrated
Peripherals. Use the arrow key to highlight one of these selections and
press <ENTER>. Repeat until you find the area containing Onboard Parallel
The address setting for the LPT1 port should be 3BCh or 378h depending
on what kind of video card you have. The IRQ setting for the port should
be 7 and LPT1 should be enabled in order for the printer to print correctly.
You can modify the settings by highlighting them with the arrow key and
using the <PAGE UP> or <PAGE DOWN> keys.
Highlight Save settings and exit and press <ENTER> or Follow the on-screen
instructions to Save and Exit Setup.
RESOLVING PRINTER PROBLEMS:
To insure that there is no conflict with another software application,
boot the system clean by booting it up from a WINDOW 95 STARTUP DISKETTE.
Once you have booted clean, from the root directory of the C:\> prompt
copy config.sys lpt1
and press <ENTER>. If the printer is a laser printer and you are
unable to print, you may want to type:
and press <ENTER>
copy config.sys lpt1
The mode statement tells the system to use LPT1 for its default printer
port. The two commas specify no change in columns or lines, and the P switch
tells the system to infinitely retry sending information to LPT1 until
the printer responds.
If the printer responds and the characters are not garbled, the problem
may be a software conflict with a setting in the AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS.
Call your printer manufacturer for assistance configuring your.
THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS
If you are able to print from MS-DOS and Windows applications but not from
applications that you purchased elsewhere, makes sure that the printer
is configured within that application. If you are unsure how to do this,
call the manufacturer or distributor of that application.
WINDOWS PRINTER DRIVER INSTALLATION
If you are receiving garbled output from your printer when trying to print
in Windows, make sure that the printer you have is configured as the default
printer and the drivers are installed.
From the Program Manager in Windows, double click on the Main group.
Double click on the Control Panel icon.
Double-click on the Printers icon.
In the Installed Printers section, highlight the printer that you have
on your system then click the Set As Default printer.
If the printer that you have is not on the Installed Printers list, click
on the Add button.
Below the list of Installed Printers, a List of Printers will appear.
Scroll through this list to find your printer or emulation for the printer
that you can find in the printer owner's manual.
Once you have located the printer you want, click on it so it is highlighted
and click on the Install button.
Another window will open up and prompt you to Insert the Microsoft Windows
disk # ... If you have Windows diskettes, insert the diskette that is being
asked for. Click the OK button so the drivers load. Once the applicable
drivers are installed, the screen will return to the Printers window. Click
on the printer you just installed to highlight it, click on the Set As
Default Printer button, then close the Printer window. Your printer is
now installed in Windows 3.xx
If the printer that you are using does not appear on the list of printers
to install, or you do not have any driver disk(s), check the printer's
user's manual for your specific printer. It should contain installation
notes or emulation's for your printer or possibly a source to contact for
In Windows 95 click the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of the
Click the word Settings that appears on the menu.
Click on Printers.
If you see an icon for your printer, click on the icon with the RIGHT mouse
Click on Set As Default printer.
If you do not see an icon for your printer, double-click on the Add Printer
Click on Next to begin installing your printer.
Select Local Printer if the printer is connected directly to your computer
or Networked Printer if you are trying to connect to a printer on a network.
(this document will not cover installing a network printer as this is a
bit more complex. You should contact your network administrator for help
accessing the networked printer).
Click on Next.
If you have a disk(s) for your printer,
Click on have disk.
Insert your printer driver disk.
Click Browse to locate the printer driver on the driver disk.
Select your printer from the list and click Next
Select LPT1: Printer Port and click Next.
Enter a name for the printer or accept the default name.
Click on Next.
Print a test page to verify that the printer is working.
LOOSE OR DEFECTIVE CABLE
If the drivers are configured correctly and you are unable to print after
booting clean, the problem may be the cable connecting the printer to the
computer or the connection between the LPT port and the system board. Power
the system off and reseat the parallel cable on the printer and the back
of the computer. Power the system back on and try printing again. If you
have a full size desktop system or tower system, continue with the following
procedure. Power the system off, remove the case screws from the rear of
the system, and remove the outer case. Identify the cable on the inside
of the system that corresponds with where the printer is attached on the
outside of the system. Gently pull the gray ribbon off the system board
and put it back on the system board firmly (pull the connector, not the
cable). Power the system back on and attempt to print again.
THE PRINTER IS OFF-LINE OR NOT SELECTED
Make sure that your specific printer is selected as the default printer
in Windows or the specific application that you are printing from. Insure
that the printer is on-line and the cable is properly connected.
WRITE FAULT ERROR WRITING DEVICE. ABORT, RETRY, IGNORE, FAIL?
Make sure that the LPT port is identified correctly in CMOS and the internal
and external cables on the printer port are correctly connected.
CANNOT LOCATE PRINTER ON LPT PORT
This error usually occurs if you have plugged the printer into the wrong
port on the back of the computer or the default printer in Windows is selected
incorrectly. Make sure that the cable is connected correctly on the printer
and computer and the printer are turned on.
PRINTER IS OUT OF PAPER OR NOT CONNECTED
Check that there is paper in the printer and that the paper is not jammed
in the printer. Make sure that the printer has not become disconnected
or powered down.