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Summary

This article describes the steps that you can use to troubleshoot printing problems in Microsoft Windows 2000 when you are using Microsoft Office products and covers the following topics:
  • General troubleshooting information
  • How to troubleshoot printing problems
  • How to troubleshoot physical problems
  • How to troubleshoot communication problems
  • How to troubleshoot Windows 2000 printing
  • How to troubleshoot common printing problems
  • Additional troubleshooting steps for printers that are connected to a network

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to troubleshoot printing problems in Microsoft Windows 2000 when you are using Microsoft Office products.

More information

General troubleshooting information

Successful troubleshooting depends on identifying the source of the problem. Printing problems occur because of trouble with the following:
  • The printing device
  • The connection between the printer and the network
  • Other printing components in Windows 2000
  • The network, protocols, and other communication components
To solve printing problems, re-create the problem to identify the process. To determine the problem, test different scenarios. For example, if a network client cannot print to a certain printer and other users can, the problem is not with the physical printer or with the printer's connection to the network.

How to troubleshoot printing problems

To solve most printing problems, use the following methods:
  • Verify that the physical printer is operational. If other users can print, the problem is probably not with the printer or with the print server.
  • Verify that the printer on the print server is using the correct printer driver. If print clients are using other operating systems, make sure that you installed all the drivers that are required for the other operating systems.
  • Verify that the print server is operational, make sure that there is sufficient disk space for spooling, and then make sure that the print spool service is running.
  • Verify that the client computer has the correct printer driver if print clients are using operating systems other than Windows 2000.

How to troubleshoot physical problems

  • Check the physical printer and make sure that it is in the "ready to print" state. Print a test page from the printer console to verify the correct operation.
  • Check the cable that is connected to the printer and make sure that the cable is connected correctly. If the printer is connected directly to the network by using a network adapter, check the light on the card that indicates network connectivity.

How to troubleshoot printer communication problems

  • Verify that you can communicate with the printer over the network. For example, if a printer communicates over TCP/IP protocol, try to ping the printer's IP address to verify connectivity.
  • Verify that you can communicate to the print server from other computers.
  • Verify that the there are required for the printer are working, and verify that the client computer that is submitting the print job is working correctly. For example, for a Macintosh client, verify that the AppleTalk protocol is working correctly.
  • Verify that the print spool service is running on the print server.

How to troubleshoot Windows 2000 printing

The modularity of the printing architecture makes diagnosing problems fairly easy. Windows 2000 printing across a network includes seven processes that always occur. By testing each process, you can typically identify the problem.

Collapse this tableExpand this table
ProcessVerify each part of the process
The administrator adds a printer and shares it.
  • Check the property of the logical printer. Make sure that the driver is correct for that printer.
  • Use the Add Printer Wizard to add another logical printer for the same physical printer to quickly identify if the problem is with the logical printer.
  • If you cannot locate network printers, or if you cannot find the printer port, you might have a network problem.
  • Verify that you are logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrator group.
A network client connects to that share.
  • Check the property of the logical printer on the client computer. Make sure that the driver is correct for that printer.
  • Use the Add Printer Wizard to add another logical printer for the same physical printer to quickly identify if the problem is with the logical printer.
  • Check the user's permissions to print to that printer, and then check the Group Policy settings for printers that are turned on.
  • If you cannot locate network printers, you might have a network problem.
The client program creates a print job.
  • Check to see if the document that the client is trying to print includes only text or only graphics. Check the printer driver and the font settings.
  • Check to see if there is a problem with the separator page selection.
  • Try to reproduce the same print job from another client. If the print job prints correctly, the problem is probably not caused by this process.
The client system sends the print job to the printer share on the print server.
  • Check the network transport--for example, TCP/IP, NWLink, or AppleTalk.
  • Check other network components that are required for printing--for example Print Service for Macintosh or Print Service for Unix.
  • Verify that the network is working correctly for the client. Check the network adapter and the intermediate network devices.
  • Verify that the print spool folder on the print server has not run out of disk space.
  • Try to send the print job to the spooler in another way, or from another program.
The print server receives, spools, and alters the print job.
  • Check disk space for spooling.
  • Verify that the problem does not involve an incorrect data type, such as RAW or PScript1.
  • Try to change an EMF data type print job to the RAW data type to see if it solves the problem.
The print server sends the print jobs to the printer.
  • Check network transport, such as TCP/IP, NWLink, NetBEUI, and other network devices.
  • Check the physical printer connection to the network.
  • Verify that the printer is ready to print.
  • Try to print from other network clients.
The printer interprets the job and produces hardcopy output.
  • Verify that the printer is ready to print.
  • Try to print a test page from the printer console.

How to troubleshoot common printing problems

This section discusses general troubleshooting steps that you can use with either a local printer connected directly to the computer or with a printer that is connected to the network.

Note For more information about network printing, see the "Additional steps for printers that are connected to the network" section.

How to print a test page

To print a test page, you must have Print permissions. You can also print a test page when you first install a printer.

Note To make sure that you have Print permissions, contact your network administrator.

To print a test page, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.
  2. Right-click the printer that you want to test, and then click Properties.
  3. On the General tab, click Print Test Page.
  4. Click OK if the test page printed correctly.
If the test page did not print correctly, continue troubleshooting for help resolving the printing problem.

If you cannot print a test page, or if you cannot print in several or in all your Microsoft Windows programs, you may have one of the following problems:
  • A printer driver problem
  • A Windows problem
  • A hardware problem
  • A connectivity problem

How to print from WordPad

  1. Start WordPad.

    To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click WordPad.
  2. Type This is a test.
  3. On the File menu, click Print.
If your printer prints a page that contains the words "This is a test", the WordPad test is successful. Try to print from your program. If you cannot print from your program, or if you cannot print from several Microsoft Windows-based programs, go to the "Start Windows in Safe Mode" section.

If you cannot print from WordPad, try to print at a command prompt.

How to print at a command prompt

To print at a command prompt by using a PostScript printer, follow these steps:
  1. Open a Command Prompt window.

    To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. Type copy con lpt1 at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

    Note If your printer is connected to a port other than the LPT1 port, replace "lpt1" with the correct port.
  3. Press CTRL+Z+ENTER.
  4. Type showpage at the command prompt.
  5. Press CTRL+Z+ENTER.
If your printer prints a blank page, the connection between your computer and printer is fine.

To print at a command prompt by using a non-PostScript printer, follow these steps:
  1. Open a Command Prompt window.

    To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. At the command prompt, type dir > lpt1 if your printer is connected to the LPT1 port.

    Note If your printer is connected to a port other than the LPT1 port, replace "lpt1" with the correct port.
  3. Press ENTER.
If you cannot print at a command prompt, try to start Windows in Safe Mode and then try to print at a command prompt again.

How to start Windows 2000 in Safe Mode

You can select from the following Safe Mode options when you start Windows 2000:
  • Safe Mode
    This option uses only the basic files and the generic drivers that are required to run Windows 2000 on your computer.
  • Safe Mode with Networking
    This option is the same as Safe Mode except that network connectivity also starts.
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt
    This option is the same as Safe Mode except that a command prompt starts instead of Windows 2000.
Safe Mode helps you diagnose problems. If a symptom does not re-appear when you start in Safe Mode, you can eliminate the default settings and the minimum device drivers as possible causes. If a newly added device or a changed driver is causing the problems, you can use Safe Mode to remove the device or to reverse the change.

To start Windows 2000 in Safe Mode, follow these steps.

Note You may want to print these instructions before you restart your computer.
  1. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  2. Click Restart, and then click OK.
  3. When you receive the following message, press F8:
    Please select the operating system to start.
  4. Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate Safe Mode option, and then press ENTER.

    Note The NUM LOCK key must be off before the arrow keys on the numeric keypad will function.
  5. Use the arrow keys to select an operating system, and then press ENTER.
For additional information about Safe Mode for Windows, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
202485 Description of Safe Boot Mode in Windows 2000
If you still cannot print at a command prompt in Safe Mode, check the cables, the switch boxes, and the connections. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. If you are connected to a switch box, try to remove the switch box, and then connect to the printer directly.
  2. Make sure that the printer is online and that it is connected.
  3. Try a self-test of the printer.
If the self-test does not work, contact your printer manufacturer.

How to check the printer driver

To determine if there is a problem with your printer driver installation, remove and then reinstall your default printer driver. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click the default printer icon, and then click Delete.

    Note The default printer icon has a white check mark in a black circle in its upper-left corner.
  3. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the printer.
  4. Double-click Add Printer, and then click Next.
  5. Click Local printer, and then click Next.
  6. Click the port that you want your printer to use, and then click Next.
  7. In the Manufacturers list, click the name of your printer manufacturer.
  8. In the Printers list, click the name of your printer model.
  9. If you are not sure of the manufacturer or the model that you want, of if you do not see your printer model in the Printers list, see your printer documentation.
  10. Click Next, and then click Yes to make this your default printer.
  11. Click Next two times.
  12. Click Yes to indicate that you want to print a test page, and then click Next.
  13. Click Finish.
Test your printer. To do this, try to print from WordPad.

If you cannot print from WordPad after you reinstall the printer drivers, try to print by using the Generic/Text Only printer driver.

How to install the Generic/Text Only printer driver

The Generic/Text Only printer driver is a basic non-PostScript printer driver. Try to print by using the Generic/Text Only printer driver to determine if your printing problem is related to your printer driver.

To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Double-click Add Printer, and then click Next.
  3. Click Local printer, and then click Next.
  4. Click the port that the printer is attached to, and then click Next.
  5. In the Manufacturers list, click Generic.
  6. In the Printers list, click Generic / Text Only.
  7. Click Next, and then click Yes to make this your default printer.
  8. Click Next two times.
  9. Click Yes to indicate that you want to print a test page, and then click Next.
  10. Click Finish.
If the test page does not print, contact your printer manufacturer for more information.

If the test page prints correctly, test your printer. To do this, try to print from WordPad.

If you can print from WordPad, try to print from your program. If you can now print from your program, your original printer driver is incorrect or is incompatible with your system. Contact the printer manufacturer for the latest compatible drivers for your printer. You can continue to use the Generic/Text Only printer driver in the meantime, but you can only print standard black-and-white text.

How to check the printer configuration files

Corrupted printer configuration files can cause printing problems. Try to reinstall fresh copies of these files. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click the default printer icon, and then click Delete.

    Note The default printer icon has a white check mark in a black circle in its upper-left corner.
  3. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete this printer.
  4. Open Computer Management.

    To do this, click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
  5. In the console tree, double-click System Tools, expand Services and Applications, and then click Services.
  6. In the Details pane, right-click Print Spooler, and then click Stop.
  7. In My Computer or in Microsoft Windows Explorer, delete all the files and folders in the following folder:
    C:\Winnt\System32\Spool\Drivers\W32X86\3
  8. If Windows is not installed on drive C in the Winnt folder, select the appropriate folder.
  9. If you cannot delete these files and folders after you stop the spooler service, or if you receive a message that states that the files are in use, follow these steps:
    1. Open Computer Management.

      To do this, click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
    2. In the console tree, double-click System Tools, expand Services and Applications, and then click Services.
    3. In the Details pane, double-click Print Spooler.
    4. On the General tab, under Startup, click Disabled, and then click OK.
    5. Restart your computer.

      You may now be able to delete the files.
  10. Open Computer Management.
  11. In the console tree, double-click System Tools, expand Services and Applications, and then click Services.
  12. In the Details pane, double-click Print Spooler.
  13. On the General tab, under Startup, click Automatic, and then click OK.
After you update your printer files, reinstall your printer driver.

To install a printer driver, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Double-click Add Printer, and then click Next.
  3. Click Local printer, and then click Next.
  4. Click the appropriate port, and then click Next.
  5. In the Manufacturers list, click the name of your printer manufacturer.
  6. In the Printers list, click your printer, and then click Next.
  7. If you are not sure of the model or the manufacturer that you want, or if you do not see your printer model in the list of printers, see your printer documentation.
  8. Click Yes to make this your default printer, and then click Next two times.
  9. When you are prompted to print a test page, click Yes, click Next, and then click Finish.
For a network printer, after you update the printer files, create a local port. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Double-click Add Printer, and then click Next.
  3. Click Local printer, click to clear the Automatically detect my printer check box, and then click Next.
  4. Click Create a new port:, click Local Port, and then click Next.
  5. In the Enter a port name box, type the following text, and then click OK:
    \\server\printer
    . In this example , server is the name of the printer server, and printer is the share name of the printer.
  6. In the Manufacturers list, click the name of your printer manufacturer.
  7. In the Printers list, click the name of your printer.
  8. If you are not sure of the model or the manufacturer that you want, or if you do not see your printer model in the list, see your printer documentation.
  9. Click Next, and then click Yes to make this your default printer.
  10. Click Next two times.
  11. Click Yes to indicate that you want to print a test page, and then click Next.
  12. Click Finish.
If the test page does not print, you may have a network connectivity problem. Contact your network administrator.

If the test page prints, your printing problem may have been caused by corrupted printer files. Set the network printer as your default printer, and then try to print from WordPad. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Start WordPad.

    To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click WordPad.
  2. Type This is a test.
  3. On the File menu, click Print.
If your printer prints a page with the words "This is a test", the WordPad test is successful.

If the WordPad test is successful, try to print from your program. If you cannot print from the program, go to the "How to check the program" section.

How to check the disk space

Your computer may not have sufficient available disk space to print your document. To check the available space on your hard disk , follow these steps:
  1. Double-click My Computer.
  2. Right-click your system disk, and then click Properties.
Note The system disk is wherever you installed Windows, typically drive C.

A pie chart appears that indicates how much space on your disk is being used, and how much disk space is free.

You want about 32 megabytes (MB) of free disk space to print a simple document. You may require more free disk space to print larger documents, such as documents that contain graphics. We recommend 120 MB of free disk space. Note that 1 gigabyte (GB) equals 1024 MB. If there is not sufficient disk space available, try to remove files and programs that you do not need. After you increase your available disk space, try to print from your program.

How to check the program

At this point, it has been determined that you can print from WordPad and that the printing issue seems to be specific to one program. The next set of troubleshooting steps will help you try to resolve the problem in the program. Think about what exactly the printing problem is.

For example, does your program print graphics correctly, or are you having problems with a particular font? Does the problem occur in only one document, or in all documents in the program? As a test, try to print a blank page from the program. If this prints correctly, the program may have problems with memory or with fonts.

To determine where the printing problem is, use the following methods:
  • Print a different, simpler file. For example, create a new document that contains only text.
  • If the document prints, try to add a graphic to the document that you just created.
  • Test different fonts to see if one of the fonts on the system is damaged.
If the new document prints, the problem may be specific to the one document. To see if the issue is specific to something in the document, use the following methods:
  • Check the file. Save the document that you are trying to print and then paste a section of the document in a new file. If you cannot print graphics, paste one of the graphics in the new file. Close all files except the new file, and then try to print.

    If you can print your new file, your original document might require more memory than your computer has available. Your operating system might be low on memory. Try one or more of the following methods to free memory:
    • Quit any other programs that you are running
    • Close all documents except the one that you are trying to print.
    • Quit all open programs, and then restart your computer.
  • Check the fonts. If you suspect that the printing problem may be a damaged font, try to remove and then reinstall the font.

    For additional information about how to test and how to reinstall fonts, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    314960 How to install or remove a font in Windows

Additional troubleshooting steps for printers that are connected to a network

To help isolate and solve the problem, review the following methods:
  • Verify basic network connectivity. Check user rights, protocols, and share names to determine whether you can see the server. Try to copy a file to the server. If you cannot access the server, you might not be able to access the printer.

    On the Advanced tab, make sure that the printer availability time is correct.

    Create a local printer, and then redirect the port to the network server. Use the Add Printer wizard, click Local, and then type the server name and the printer name for the printer \\servername\printername. This determines if you can copy files from the print server.
  • Check the available disk space on the print server. If there is not sufficient room to spool the print job, larger print jobs might not print where smaller print jobs do print.

    Contact your network administrator for more help.
  • Verify that you can establish a basic network connection. To do this, click Start, click Run, and then type \\server in the Open box.

    In this example, server is the name of the server that is sharing the printer.

    If a window opens and lists the names of the shares that are available on the server, there is a basic network connection between two computers that are sharing the printer.

    You may experience one of the following symptoms if there is no basic network connection between the two computers that are sharing the printer:
    • You receive an "Access Denied" error message.
    • You receive an "Unable to locate the server" error message.
    • A blank window appears.
  • Reinstall the printer driver. To determine if your printing problem is occurring because of a corrupted printer driver, remove and then reinstall your printer driver. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
    2. Right-click the default printer icon, and then click Delete.

      Note The default printer icon has a white check mark in a black circle in its upper-left corner.
    3. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete this printer.
    4. Double-click Add Printer, and then click Next.
    5. Click Local printer, click to clear the Automatically detect my printer check box, and then click Next.
    6. In the Port column, click a port that is already connected to your network printer, and then click Next.

      Note The port has a name that is similar to the following:
      \\server\printer
      In the port name, server is the name of the printer server, and printer is the share name of the printer.
    7. If a network printer port exists, click it, and then click Next.

      If there is no network printer port, follow these steps:
      1. Click Create a new port:, select Local Port, and then click Next.
      2. In the Enter a port name box, type \\server\printer. In this example, server is the name of the printer server, and printer is the share name of the printer.
    8. In the Manufacturers list, click the name of your printer manufacturer.
    9. In the Printers list, click the name of your printer, and then click Next.
    10. If you are prompted to keep the existing driver, click Replace existing driver, and then click Next.
    11. Click Yes to make this your default printer, and then click Next.
    12. If you are prompted to share this printer, click Not shared, and then click Next.
    13. Click Yes to indicate that you want to print a test page, and then click Next.
    14. Click Finish.
    Try to print from your program.

    If you can print, the printer driver that you removed from your computer was corrupted, and reinstalling it fixes the problem.

    If you cannot print, the printer driver on the server that you are connected to may be corrupted. Contact your network administrator for more help.
  • Print from a different computer. Printing from a different computer helps determine if the printing problem is specific to one computer.

    To print over the network from a different computer than the one that you typically use, log on to the network by using your user name and password. Try to print to the same printer that you are having problems printing to from the computer that you typically use.

    If you can print from a different computer, there may be a network connectivity problem between the printer and the computer that you typically use. Contact your network administrator for more help.

    If you still cannot print, try to establish a basic network connection from a different computer.
  • Establish a basic network connection. If you cannot print to the printer from another computer, see if there is a basic network connection between that computer and the printer server. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. On a different computer than the one that you typically use, log on to the network by using your user name and password.
    2. Click Start, click Run, and then type \\server in the Open box.

      In this example, server is the name of the print server.
    If a window opens and lists the shares that are available on the printer server, there is a basic network connection between this computer and the printer server. There may be a network connectivity problem between the printer server and the computer that you typically use, or corrupted printer driver files may have been copied from the printer server to the computer that you typically use.

    If you receive an error message or a blank window appears, your network account may not have sufficient rights to see or to print to the print server.
  • Establish a basic network connection from a different user's computer. If a window opens on the other user's computer and lists the shares that are available on the printer server, your own network account may not have sufficient rights to see or to print to the printer server. Contact your network administrator for more help.

    If the other user receives an error message or a blank window appears, there may be a network problem or a problem with the printer server. Contact your network administrator for more help.
  • Map a local port to the network printer share. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Open a Command Prompt window.

      To do this, click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. Type net use at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
    3. If the LPT1 port is already mapped to a network share, type net use lpt1 /d at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

      Note This command deletes the current mapping of the parallel port LPT1.
    4. Type net use lpt1:\\server\printer, and then press ENTER.

      In this example, server is the name of the server, and printer is the share name of the printer.

      Notes
      • If a device is already connected to the LPT1 port, and your program can be configured to use the LPT2 port, replace "lpt1" in the command line with "lpt2."
      • If you do not receive the following message, make sure that you typed the server and the printer names correctly:
        The command completed successfully
    If you can successfully map a local port to the network printer share, try to print from your program.

    If you can print from your program to the shared network printer, establish a persistent connection so that you can print to the network printer share after you restart Windows.

    To establish a persistent connection, follow these steps:
    1. Open a Command Prompt window.

      To do this, click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. Type net use lpt1 /d at the command prompt to delete the current mapping of the parallel port LPT1, and then press ENTER.
    3. Type net use lpt1:\\server\printer/ persistent, and then press ENTER.

      In this example, server is the computer name of the server, and printer is the share name of the printer.

      Notes
      • Replace "lpt1" with "lpt2" if you use the LPT1 port in step 2.
      • If you do not receive the following message, make sure that you typed the server and the printer names correctly:
        The command completed successfully
    If you still cannot print, contact your network administrator for more help.

References

For additional information about how to troubleshoot problems in Windows 2000, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281770 How to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 2000

Properties

Article ID: 871146 - Last Review: October 12, 2012 - Revision: 5.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Publisher 2003
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
  • Microsoft Office Access 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002
  • Microsoft Publisher 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2000
  • Microsoft Publisher 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Project 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003
  • Microsoft Office Project Standard 2003
  • Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2003
  • Microsoft Visio 2002 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Project 2002 Professional Edition
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