USB Connected Printer becomes unavailable for no reason

Posted on 2010-09-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a frustrating problem with a couple of XP Pro computers (One is SP2, the other is SP3) where the USB connected Samsung ML-1660 printer just becomes unavailable (or goes to sleep and won't wake up) after a period of time.

We have several of these printers and they work fine on other near identical workstations, but on two particular machines, after a period of time when the printer hasn't been used (anything from 15 - 45 minutes) it simply becomes unavailable.

Unplugging the USB cable from the printer and plugging it back in brings it back to life, as does switching the printer's power off and then back on again. It's definitely not the printer as I've swapped them around and the problem does not exist on other workstations, just these two. The workstations are only several months old and the problem is driving me batty!

Here's what I've checked in Printer Settings;

Tried plugging the printer into a different USB port on the machine
Made sure that the "Power Save" function on the printer is set to OFF

Is there anything in XP Pro that will stop a it from seeing a USB connected printer that I don't know about?

Any ideas you can give to help fix this appreciated.
Question by:Andrew Leniart
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Accepted Solution

bright12 earned 500 total points
ID: 33615522
Did you check in the USB Root Hub Properties the tab called Power Management? You can deselect the option Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.

With this the computer don't put the printer in the power off (stand-by) state while the option in the printer will do that.

It can be that this will help
LVL 10

Author Comment

by:Andrew Leniart
ID: 33615612
bright12: Great suggestion that makes sense.. Never thought of that!  

Have gone into device manager and un-ticked the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" on all USB Root Hub entries and will see if it makes a difference.  Should know by the end of the day tomorrow.  Will let you know.

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 33615722

1. Check the USB cable.

2. Installed driver properly.

3. Make sure that there is no virus in computer. Sometimes virus create this types of problem.

4. Check with BIOS settings. If the USB is disable.

5. Check with windows registry settings.

Tushar Kaskhedikar
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LVL 10

Author Comment

by:Andrew Leniart
ID: 33615750

1. Before the printer goes to sleep or becomes unavailable after a period of time, it prints perfectly and without any issues - how would that point to a "cable" problem?

2. If driver not installed properly, the printer wouldn't print or would misfunction in other ways. How would that print to a driver problem?

3. Nope, no virus on this network, that I'm positive of.

4. If USB is 'disable', then the printer wouldn't work at all. Did you even read my post?

5. Check WHAT in registry settings?

Thanks anyway, but I know how to google too.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 33616814
are the bios versions the same between the Good and Bad PCs?  Might be worth an update...  Ditto for motherboard drivers.  

Any other USB devices connected?  Wondering if some conflict is occurring...
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 33617102
check the power management settings on the systems that work, and match them to the new ones you're having trouble with.  I still think it's an issue with your system's USB power management settings, rather than the printer.

if either of your systems is a laptop, they sometimes have manufacturer specific power profile apps that help with adv. config of ports and devices.
LVL 10

Author Comment

by:Andrew Leniart
ID: 33623441
bright12: You got it in one mate! Three hours gone by and printer has stopped becoming unavailable once I went into Device Manager and unticked the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" on all USB Root Hub entries. Great work.. Many thanks! :-)

DanCh99: Good suggestions.. I'd actually already compared the BIOS settings on an identical workstation but forgot to mention that in my opening post. Thanks for your suggestions though

IainNIX: No laptops, both a desktops (we're a business with 20 PC's here and only one laptop and each PC has its own printer. Quite right about the system's USB power management settings, as bright12 correctly, guessed, that was indeed the problem and now appears resolved. Strange that other identical computer's with the same power settings don't exhibit the problem though but that's PC's for you.  Thanks for your response too.
LVL 10

Author Closing Comment

by:Andrew Leniart
ID: 33623445
Excellent suggestion that I never thought to look at. Great work bright12.. You've solved the problem first go. Many thanks! :-)

Expert Comment

ID: 33624239
I'm glad that it was this simple. Most of the times everyone is thinking complicated, including myself. But sometimes the easiest solution are ignored because 'that can be the problem'.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 33624558
just a wee suggestion, 20 machines with their own printers, a lot to take care of, never mind the consumable costs, have you thought about networking a few printers, and allowing them to share the resources......?

may help save your budget for other equipment.......:)
LVL 10

Author Comment

by:Andrew Leniart
ID: 33624579
IainNIX: There are 3 network printers actually and all have access to them.  The nature of the industry we're in however makes after years of experience, it's proven far more cost efficient (time wise) to simply provide a $90 printer for each workstation and consumables when purchased in bulk are cheap as chips :)  Cheers...

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