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Workgroup printer setup gone wrong

Posted on 2009-04-06
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a very annoying problem with the configuration of several printers. Firstly the setup of the office.

We have a remote office setup currently as a workgroup of about 13 Desktops and 3 laptops. 3 of the desktops have small personal printers attached (Canon LBP 3000) - lets call it the Host machines.  Each of these has another desktop accessing the printer via the usual printer sharing - lets call it the User. The Host machine has the account of the User setup and added into the local administrator group.

The setup works fine in as much that the User can access and print just fine so as far as I am aware I dont have an issue with permissions or accessibility. My problem is that I'm in a catch 22 position of printing from a program they use which runs from MS-DOS, don't groan too loudly I'm trying to find the time to rectify this.

The MS-DOS program prints to the LPT1 port which is mapped to the shared printer (both on the Host and User machine) using a batch file which runs at login. It simply uses the "net use" command to map it. For the MS-DOS program to print to this share I have to change the default data type of the print processor from RAW to TEXT. Simply done by going into the properties of the printer on the Host machine > advanced > print processor. The print processor is default selected to WInPrint and remains the same, but the default data type is changed from RAW to TEXT. This all works and allows the User to print from the MS-DOS program to the printer.

BUT... here it is the nuts and bolts of it... with this setup, after printing a normal word document, for example, to the printer it will continue to print out blank pages after blank pages until someone switches it off, lets it empty the buffer and then powers the printer on again. This happens on all 3 pairs of Host/User machines. If I change the data type back to RAW the white page business stops but I can no longer print from the DOS program. Hence my catch 22 experience.

We have the same setup in another office but those computers are in a Domain environment and not a Workgroup one. I still change the data type to TEXT and I have the sharing setup the same way, the only difference is one setup is in a Workgroup, the other a Domain setup. .. So maybe it is a security issue but I doubt that would explain the constant printing of blank pages. This is not only limited to the LBP 3000 printers, it also occurred trying to use this same setup with an LBP 2460.

If anyone can help out with this I would be forever in debt.
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Question by:David_Powell
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by:DansDadUK
ID: 24086434
Don't know the answer, just a few comments (which may be totally irrelevant/erroneous!):

The specification of the Canon i-SENSYS LBP3000 laser printer indicates that it has only 2MB of memory, and that the only "Printer Language" supported is "Canon Advanced Printing Technology (CAPT)".

I'm not familiar with CAPT, but I suspect that this implies that the printer may be an (approximate) equivalent to the cheap(ish) HP 'host-based' printers (also known as 'GDI', or 'Windows' printers), where all of the formatting is done on the 'host' workstation.
With this mechanism, the host constructs a series of encapsulated, compressed, raster images (one or more per page), and sends these to the printer; the printer then just unencapsulates and uncompresses these images, and prints the resultant dots.

If CAPT is a 'host-based' mechanism, then this means that the printer is unlikely to understand any of the standard printer languages (PCL5, PCL6, PostScript), and possibly will not even understand plain ASCII text.

I don't know exactly what happens to the redirected DOS print stream when the data type is changed to TEXT, but I suspect that perhaps the incoming ASCII text lines are converted to CAPT format.

... and presumably output from a Windows application (which already uses the CAPT driver) is then not treated as a raw print stream, and is somehow modified, causing your blank pages.

I've no idea why Workgroup versus Domain shoudl make any difference.
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by:David_Powell
ID: 24094301
Hi Dan,

Thanks for posting a response so quickly. From what I understand the print processor and data type that I am referring to isn't anything to do with the actual printer language, the same options for the print processor and data type are available no matter which printer or brand it is. The driver we're using is the on straight of the manufacturers website which is PCL5c.

I'll just clarify the printing of white paper issue. What happens is that after someone has printed to the printer it will then start printing off white paper. The acutal print itself comes through fine first. I'm not a printer tech in anyway so I could be way off the mark here.
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by:DansDadUK
ID: 24096176
David

If you have a printer directly connected to LPT1, you can print from DOS directly to this port.

Where the printer is NOT on LPT1, DOS output has to be redirected (via the 'net use' command) to a Windows printer instance share name.
But this redirection does NOT usually invoke the Windows driver - the redirection is for the 'transport' only (i.e. where the print stream is to be sent); the DOS output is sent unchanged to the target printer port.

I don't have a deep level of knowledge of the Windows spooler/printing mechanism, so I don't know exactly how it works - but I was guessing that changing the data type from RAW to TEXT might be telling the spooler to invoke the Windows driver (or, at least, some form of filter), so that the DOS output (presumably just ASCII text lines) is converted to the CAPT format understood by the printer.

But I still have no explanation for your 'white pages' output, or why it works on a domain (perhaps a different driver is installed?)

DansDadUK
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DansDadUK earned 250 total points
ID: 24096209
... and as regards a 'solution': perhaps (I'm not sure) you could set up TWO instances of the Windows printer (one RAW, the other TEXT) for use by Windows and DOS applications respectively.
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Author Closing Comment

by:David_Powell
ID: 31568349
Thanks Dan.

I didn't even think of doing that. I'm so sick of this error that with this workaround I'm more than happy with. I hate these sort of problems.
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