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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    I have a 1.5GHz CPU pinned at 100% while printing (spooler to printer) color to an HP DeskJet 1220c under Windows XP SP1 (otherwise current in critical patches). I cannot figure out why.

    I am using the most recent HP drivers for Win XP. The printer is connected through an ECP parallel port with DMA disabled. There are gobs of disk and 768MB RAM. Perfmon shows the CPU utilization pinned, no paging, and little disk activity. Task Manager shows SYSTEM running at 90+% CPU, SPOOLSV.exe sometimes hitting 2 digits, and nothing else contributing much. This is definitely when the spooler is pumping the data out to the printer, I queued up the file before setting the instrumentation. When it is printing 3 pages of text/photo from Acrobat, the CPU is flat at 100% except during form feeds. When it is printing 2 pages of B/W text from MS Word, the CPU sawtooths between 90% and 100% except for the form feed.

    This is not a suddenly appearing symptom that I can associate with some event. It is more that the user printed more and more and finally got annoyed enough to complain.

    I am guessing that the spooler is unhappy about something, but I cannot figure out what. I have heard of HP's software gobbling up CPU, but I would have thought that some of the hpXXXXXX tasks would be showing more CPU it that were happening.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated?

    Joe M

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    I have found that the color printers will grab ALL resources they cam. If we are printing photos with high quality photo paper settings you can count on not using the computer until the print job is complete. This is using a 3.0 GHz machine with 512 megs of RAM and all kinds of disk space.

    Make sure that the quality settings are no higher than required, this can be a waste of time and ink.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    Have you looked in the Printers and Faxes => HP DeskJet 1220C for how large the print files are? If I am correct, that printer does very little of the rendering of the printed page, which is done mostly by the PC's CPU.

    The important thing is whether if you want to do other work at the same time as this is going on, you can. The fact that the CPU is running at 100% is not in itself a problem, because that's what it's there for!

    It may not be practical, but have you tried printing to a different model of HP printer, to see whether you get the same sort of results?

    John
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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    Dave,

    PDF file has one page mostly text with 15% area in two photos; two pages with line drawings similar to building plans. Word file it all text (probably truetype, though). Print quality is 1220c's "normal" which is 300dpi. I do not know if a printer profile is used. I understand high resolution rendering of photographs would require a lot of processing, but I cannot see how that would apply in this case. Besides, is that rendering done when the application creates the print file or when the spooler feeds the printer?

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    Most PDF files are a image for each page and the printer will treat them as such.

    The rendering will create a large print file which is downloaded to the printer.

    Open the printer properties pane and watch the file and page loading. This may show you what is happening.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    John,

    The 1MB PDF file goes to a 8.5MB print queue entry. I do not know how much of the rendering is done by the computer CPU. The 1220c is not a WinPrinter. It will also work on a Mac. I presume that this means there is a complete controller in the printer. The printer understands a color-enhanced variant of PCL3. I don't know how much of the computer to printer communication uses PCL3 if there is graphical content.

    The 100% CPU causes problems for the user in Word (at least). I bumped RAM to minimize paging. I dropped the spooler CPU priority to let it work more with available CPU time. This helps, but Word seems to miss some mouse clicks and also does repagination very slowly while the printing is going on.

    I don't have an alternate color printer for comparative testing. Replacing the printer is an option, but I need to be fairly sure that another printer will solve the problem.

    I am glad to see that it is not your picture gracing your signature. I was worried that you were starting to look pretty cute.

    Joe M

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    I found something that suggests some HP printers want an ECP parallel port WITH an interrupt enabled. This machine has no IRQ assigned to the port, by default. I will try this early next week. That fits with the high CPU if the driver has a tight polling loop without an interrupt, so it might be my problem. Back later if it doesn't work.

    Thanks,

    JoeM

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    It takes 3.5 to 4 minutes to print a 3 page, 8.5MB queue file with the CPU pegged at 100% utilization for most of that time. I saw a suggestion the some HP printers need an interrupt assigned to the ECP port, even though that is unusual for most systems now-a-days. I will try that early next week. Back later if it doesn't work.

    Thanks for your input,

    Joe

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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    All the points you make are fairly relevant (especially about Rebecca!).

    I've had a quick scan through the HP colour printer forums and can't see anyone reporting your problems with the Deskjet 1220c, so I haven't any further bright ideas, since you say you have tried the latest drivers.

    About the only thing that I saw was a suggestion that the somewhat reduced function DeskJet 500 drivers be tried (since the 1220c is apparently based on this printer) -- possibly worth a go, but hardly a long-term solution.

    John
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  10. #10
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    Re: 100% CPU printing to DeskJet (WinXP SP1)

    I am guessing problem was hardware. I solved the problem by reconnecting the printer via USB rather than parallel port.

    Firstly, I changed the parallel port from no interrupt to using IRQ 7. No improvement. Cable was high grade, but 20 feet long made out of two 10 foot segments. I think that the cable caused the port to fail some ECP negotiation and fall back to another mode that gobbled CPU cycles. I don't know how to verify this. It is of academic interest at this point.

    Thanks to both of you for your help,

    Joe M

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