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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Regurgitated Print Files

    I have a Dell Optiplex desktop that was ordered last year with Windows 7 Professional (32 bit edition) factory installed. The machine went into service early this year (March or so, I think). About 2 months ago, it began occasionally preceding, following, or replacing (mostly the former) new print jobs with regurgitated reports. The unwanted reports were not necessarily formatted for the printer on which they appear. For example, a report that was originally printed on a LaserJet might print ahead of a new job on a thermal receipt printer.

    More recently, this strange behavior has become much more frequent, to the point that it occurs at least once a day.

    If the printer in question is briefly powered off, purging its internal buffer, it settles down for a few hours.

    The only aspect of the way we use these printers that might strike some as unusual is that they are marked as shared, and mapped to logical printer ports LPT2 and LPT3, and some, though not all, of the print jobs come from character mode programs that print through the logical printer ports. Mapping is accomplished by way of a pair of NET USE commands, and the connections are marked as persistent.

    Today, I uninstalled every printer, including the Fax and OneNote logical printers that installed with Microsoft Office 2010, and even the XPS document writer. Before I reset, I manually deleted the logical printer ports, by issuing NET USE LPT2 /DELETE and NET USE LPT3 /DELETE commands. Following the reset, I installed the laser printer (by letting Windows "discover" it), restarted, installed the thermal receipt printer from the Epson software kit that came with it, restarted again, shared the printers, and reinstated the mappings.

    The very next print job that went to the thermal printer was preceded by a massive wide carriage print file that chewed through about 8 feet of paper before I could kill the printer.

    In the course of installing the Epson, I noticed that, while the ReadMe file mentioned Windows 2000 through Vista, it didn't mention Windows 7. Since we've had the printer since a bit before Windows 7 was released, and it seems to behave, I hadn't considered, until just now, that a Vista driver, per se, would be an issue.

    I look forward to sifting through suggestions, because I'd like to put this problem to rest, and the sooner the better.
    David Gray, Chief Wizard
    WizardWrx
    Irving, Texas, USA

    WizardWrx Web - Technical Articles and Free Software
    You are more important than any technology we may employ.

  2. #2
    2 Star Lounger
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    Thanks to a suggestion from the client and Google, I found the solution. As I suspected, the issue was a small set of files that got stuck in the print spooler queue. I found the location of the queue in Windows 7, right where I thought it was, but I overlooked it when I browsed the System32 directory. The article where I found the solution hinted that this might be a fairly common problem, and it provided two solutions, one manual and one automatic, in the form of a handy little batch file that stops the print spooler service, clears the spool directory, and restarts the spooler.

    For the benefit of others who may face the same issue from time to time, the article, "How to Clear and Reset the Print Spooler Queue in Windows 7 and Vista," is at http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...ear-reset.html.

    Since the print spooler cache hasn't moved, the the instructions and included script work equally well for Windows XP.
    David Gray, Chief Wizard
    WizardWrx
    Irving, Texas, USA

    WizardWrx Web - Technical Articles and Free Software
    You are more important than any technology we may employ.

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