Word is preparing to background print the document

Posted on 2006-04-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi guys,

My colleague does quite a lot of printing of Word documents. Her documents contain the company logo at the top(quite small because it's compressed- and no other images in the document). She prints to a HP laserjet 5 printer on the network.

When she's printing documents she gets the "Word is preparing to background print the document" message and Word dies.

Initialy I thought this was just because of insufficient memory in her PC - half a Gig - because she leaves many programs open. So I gave her more and she now has 1.25 Gig.Still the problem persists.

I know you can disable background printing - but this is not an option as she needs to work on other docs while printing.

I've been googling this for hours - I believe background printing may be a problem with older printers and with network printing.

Although her network card is able to go at 100Mbps - because she lis ocally connected to a 10Mbps hub and a 10Mbps Hp Jetdirect Ex Plus 3 device, she's not hitting top speed. I'm wondering if this bottleneck is affecting the background printing????????

If so, I'm thinking of either upgrading this network devices to 100Mbps or just buying a new local printer.

Any thoughts, experts?

Many thanks in advance for your time.

Question by:Stiofan
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    I wish I had a colleague that would give me a GB of RAM :)

    How big are these documents?  I've seen problems printing huge documents (many MBs), but usually Windows can just spool it out effectively and you don't really have a problem.  And I don't think that your network is the problem, because it sounds like the problem is happening before it hits the network (maybe an OS issue).

    I'd recommend two things.  First, try Word safe mode (start > run > type winword /a and hit enter).  If that works, then give this article a try:

    Now, if Word safe mode doesn't work, then I'd consider this:

    Author Comment

    Hi dopyiii,

    Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.

    The problem with trying your above suggestions is that my cooleague hasn't informed me which document it is - and she's out of the office today.

    Plus, sometimes it happens, sometimes not - the last time it happened, I went to her PC and printed it fine.

    I guess I'll just have to wait till she tells me which document it is - and try and recreate the problem.

    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Okay, keep us posted.  I know it's hard to pin down an intermittent problem :S

    Assisted Solution

    I'm curious about printer memory here.

    You might be sending Buckets of Packets to the printer but the printer is the culprit.  (Sending rogue data (ACK and NACK signals ) back to WORD

    Is the printer set to start printing on first page or does it wait for the whole job to get spooled.
    How much memory in the printer (4mb <---).  (i suspect your not going via a Printer server here)

    Are you using JetAdmin (which is outdated and incompatible with XP and may need a firmware update).

    As far as troubleshooting goes.
    1.  if possible try to see what happens when you connect to another printer.  

    As far as WORD dying then is this the same for all documents?  Can other people on the same network, print  the same document,  or similar?

    Author Comment

    Hi guys,

    I worked around the problem by attaching a new printer DIRECTLY to my colleague's machine with a USB cable (it was previously a network printer).

    She hasn't complained since.

    Any suggestions on what I do with the points?
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    I'm glad you have a workaround, even if we didn't completely figure out the problem.

    Of course, I'd be happy to take all of the points :)  But maybe a split with christiansenk is a little more fair.

    Author Comment

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your help.

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