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characters sent to printer during bootup

Posted on 1999-01-06
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
HP laser jet4L printer receives characters when computer is booted up and must be cleared with the reset button.  Occurs approximately 75% of the time.  Wasting paper and toner.  lpt.vxd dated 5/1/97 loaded but no help.
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Question by:dcurrens
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by:vikiing
ID: 2013951
Just only as a try, ¿what happens if you unplug the printer's power cord at start up, and reconnect it once Win is alive?

¿Do you know exactly what those characters are?; perhaps it can give you an idea about it's origin...
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2013952
Have you checked your printer documentation to make sure the printer isn't in some type of off-line test mode?  That, or driver problems can cause these crazy characters to print at boot.  I assume you've checked that there aren't any problems in device manager surrounding the printer and/or lpt port assignment.
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2013953
Please post which operating system you're using, it helps to get you more concise answers/possibilities.
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by:thoffman
ID: 2013954
It's most likely your parallel port settings.  Try going into your BIOS and switching the type of port to EPP, ECP, Standard, or Bi-directional.  If the port is on a card, check the card's documentation for information on how to switch the port type.

If this doesn't work, let me know what type of computer you have (processor, speed, RAM, etc).
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by:thoffman
ID: 2013955
To help answer this question, we need more info.

1)  What kind of computer do you have, 486/Pentium Classic, PII, AMD K6-2, etc?  How fast?
2)  Is it name brand?  If so, which brand?
3)  How is the parallel port set?  ECP, EPP, etc.
4)  How much RAM do you have?
5)  Is your cable IEEE-1284 compliant (Bi-di)?
6)  Have you tried another cable?
7)  Does the printer seem to be receiving data when you first turn the printer on, or some time during the Windows startup?  If it's during the startup, can you tell when (if you do a step-by-step, does it happen after a certain step)?
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Author Comment

by:dcurrens
ID: 2013956
Generic PII, 266MHz, 64MB RAM, bidirectional cable.  Only tried this cable.  The printer has no on/off switch, always in a standby mode.  THIS IS AN INTERMITTENT PROBLEM.  OCCURS APPROX. 75% OF THE TIME.  I looked in my BIOS setup and could not find parallel port setup(ECP,EPP).  Never had this problem with win3.1.  A local newspaper columinist,who specializes in computer problems answered my question with "this is a known problem" and "try a more recent version of LPT.VXD"; which I did and still did not fix the problem.  Problem occurs when turning on computer and windows is loading.  Have no tried a boot up in a step by step mode.
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2013957
It would help to know your current Windows version, motherboard and bios as well.

Are there any errors in Device Manager?
Could the printer by in some type of test mode?

I agree with Thoffman, access via SAFE MODE, look for any errors and/or duplicates -- deleting all occurrences of duplicates that are in error, rebooting.

The Windows95 troubleshooter may also prove helpful.

Can you find a bootlog.txt file on your computer, to see what failed to load?  This is created automatically if there are start-up problems, or if/when you request it by the SAFE PROMPT routine.  Since the problem is intermittent, and the printer appears to be getting signals and functioning as expected part of the time, leads me to believe the driver and/or setup is the problem.

A little more info from you about your environment would help.
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2013958
This is the HP Link for your printer, which includes the most recent driver, troubleshooting info and a wealth of resources that may also prove helpful for you.

http://www.hp.com/cposupport/prodhome/lj4si.html
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Expert Comment

by:thoffman
ID: 2013959
Does it happen only on boot, or does it also happen when sending a print job?  It could be a bad printer cable.  If you know somebody else with a computer and printer, see if you could borrow their cable.  If it fixes the problem, buy a new cable.  Your cable could have a break in the insulation, and, during boot or heavy hard drive activity, you're picking up some RF interference from your computer that is causing garbage.

As for the BIOS settings, what brand of BIOS do you have?  What date is it?  I work at a company that has several different computers with different BIOS's, so I could find one with the same BIOS and figure out where the port settings are.  Some implementations of the ECP protocol were buggy (both on motherboards and printers), and many motherboards default to ECP.  This problem you are describing is one of the symptoms of an incompatible ECP port.

We have a couple of 4L's over here that haven't had any problems.  I could try hooking one up to a machine similar to yours to see if I can reproduce the problem.
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Author Comment

by:dcurrens
ID: 2013960
Sorry I haven't answered sooner, but have been very busy.  I have fixed the problem by putting a data switch inline with the printer. The switch is in the off position when i boot-up.  Thanks for your help.  
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by:jrhelgeson
ID: 2013961
This question has been dormant since 2-7-1999, Are you still interested in this issue or should this question be archived?
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by:thoffman
ID: 2013962
Actually, I think I might know the answer, if anybody is interested.  I had forgotten about this question until jrhelgeson asked if it should be closed, but stumbled across, and solved, a similar problem at my work.

MS Knowledge Base article Q157145 (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q157/1/45.asp) explains this problem.  According to that article, "This behavior occurs when the Drvwppqt.vxd virtual device driver is loaded or if you are not using an IEEE 1284 printer cable."

The Drvwppqt.vxd driver is used by MS Backup (or Seagate BackupExec) to check your parallel port for tape backup devices.  I have found that renaming all instances of this driver to Drvwppqt.old fixes the problem.  Note, though, that if you are actually using a parallel tape backup device with MS Backup, you cannot do this, since Windows won't be able to detect it anymore.  Considering that most tape backup drives these days are either IDE or SCSI, this shouldn't be a problem.



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Author Comment

by:dcurrens
ID: 2013963
thoffman had the correct answer.
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Author Comment

by:dcurrens
ID: 2013964
thoffman had the right answer.
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by:jrhelgeson
ID: 2013965
Reject current "answer" and let thoffman take the credit (and the points).

JRHelgeson
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2013966
Congratulations!
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Author Comment

by:dcurrens
ID: 2013967
DO NOT REOPEN Question.  Hoffman had the best answer.
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thoffman earned 100 total points
ID: 2013968
I had seen a similar problem at my work.  MS Knowledge Base article Q157145 (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q157/1/45.asp) explains this problem.  According to that article, "This behavior occurs when the Drvwppqt.vxd virtual device driver is loaded or if you are not using an IEEE 1284 printer cable."

The Drvwppqt.vxd driver is used by MS Backup (or Seagate BackupExec) to check your parallel port for tape backup devices.  I have found that renaming all instances of this driver to Drvwppqt.old fixes the problem.  Note, though, that if you are actually using a parallel tape backup device with MS Backup, you cannot do this, since Windows won't be able to detect it anymore.  Considering that most tape backup drives these days are either IDE or SCSI, this shouldn't be a problem.
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