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shdwmageFlag for United States of America

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Windows 7 IBM Generic 9 Pin Wide Spooler Issues

Good Afternoon,
I am currenetly having an issue printing to an Okidata 321 turbo using the IBM Generic 9 Pin Wide drive on a parallel port.  The Computer Configuration is as follows:
Dell Optiplex 740
OS: Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
Processor: AMD Athalon 64 X2
Memory: 4 x 1gb
Installed Software:
IE 9
Office 2k3
Adobe Reader X
Autosoft DMS

We are a used car dealership and use a program called Promax to desk deals and print paperwork for our customers.

When we first switched to Windows 7 we were able to print without any spooler issues, but through what I believe is a recent update the printer will do nothing but spool.  Turning off the spooler and printing directly to the printer does not work either and causes the program to lock up and crash.

At first I thought this was an issue with Windows 7 automatically adding a print que for the 321 driver on top of the IBM Generic 9 Pin Wide driver.

To troubleshoot that I went into the group policy editor and changed the  the Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Device Installation->Device Installation Restrictions and enabled "Prevent installation of devices not described by other policy settings"

This stopped windows from automatically adding the Okidata 321 turbo problem, but the spooler issue still persists.

This problem started within the last 3 weeks of updates, but I haven't been able to lock down which update caused the issue.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  Let me know if you need any further information.
Avatar of ebak

Do your print-outs show and stay in the printer queue? Or do they simply disappear from the queue (as if the printer was in fact printing)?
Avatar of shdwmage


Good question, can't believe I missed that detail.  They spool in a never ending cycle.  The original part of the document prints, but then it will continuously spool blank pages growing inexorably larger.

In order to get the computer to stop spooling it must be restarted or the spooler service stopped and restarted.
Your question is still a bit unclear to me. Do you get the expected sheet(s) of paper with the print-out, followed by an 'unlimited' number of blank pages fed out on the printer? Or do you get the expected printed sheet(s) and then see that your spool file keeps growing?
Avatar of Dave Baldwin
Why are you using the IBM driver instead of the Okidata driver that is included with Windows 7?
There is an issue spooling to the regular 321 driver.  It is incompatible with the programs we use.

It prints the first page and spools countless blank pages after the first page, the printer will just cycle blank page after blank page if you feed it through.

If you are using the built-in IBM emulation, you might check to see if it has been changed.
I suggest you change the port setting under Printer Properties to FILE and see if the generated output file also contains a countless number of blank pages after the first printed page (just like what you see on the printer). This will tell you if your printer is printing what it's told to print or if your Promax+driver combination is producing a wrong (endless) datastream. Also check if you can print successfully from other applications than Promax. And finally check that the printer cable is securely fastened to both pc and printer (this may sound silly, but I have seen similar issues because of loose connectors).
The problem is that it was working fine until recently which leads me to believe it's a windows update, but I'm stuck as to which one it is.
There is a function on the printer to print out it's current settings.
Ok, the problem is not with the printer itself, it functions fine with Windows XP.  

Maybe I did not make it clear -
I MUST use the IBM Generic 9 Pin Wide driver because the Okidata 321 driver doesn't work right.

The programmers at Promax are looking into the issue, but they haven't been able to reproduce the issue.

Were there any updates to the windows printer system in any of the recent updates?
You are quite clear.  The puzzle is why you aren't checking for anything but updates.  If someone has changed the emulation on the printer, then it won't matter what the programmers do.  Did the printer work fine on Windows XP today?  @ebak suggested you try a print to file to see if the program and/or driver are generating the unwanted codes.  If something altered the driver or some part of Windows so it was generating the wrong info, that would tell you something.

And everything that breaks was working fine... until it broke.  We're just asking the questions we'd ask ourselves if it were our situation.  If it was not printing at all, I'd ask if it were plugged in.
Sorry, I guess I didn't make my troubleshooting clear:

I disabled the automatic addition of printers via plug and play.
I then tried printing to the printer without the spooler turned on, and it just kept sending pages to the printer while waiting for the que.
I printed to the file (from the program) and it kept growing until eventually the printing system crashed.

Additionally it wouldn't have happened across all the windows 7 machines at the exact same time if it were a single person as I have multiple stores that are separated by some distance.
Are multiple windows 7 machines printing to the same printer over the network then?  If so then the machine that is connected to the printer is the problem in some way.  One of the things you could try is use System Restore to go back a  little and see if the printing is restored.
Sorry Dave, no there are multiple machines using the same model printer attached directly to their computers.  All of the ones running the 321 are experiencing the problem now.
You could still try using System Restore on one of them to go back before the last updates to see if it starts working again.
Can we assume that Promax is installed locally on each pc? Or is it running on some kind of terminal server? If a terminal server is involved, we all may be well down the wrong path.
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Sounds like a good plan to me.  I'd be hammering on Promax to fix their software to use standard Windows printer drivers.  Being stuck on an old 9-pin driver is kind of dumb.  I know the 321 has a working driver because I installed one last week.
I believe the issue has more to do with the programming language that they use, than the printer itself.

Every software we have ever used here has had the same basic issue with the 321 printer, but most businesses prefer the 321 over the 591 for sheer print speed.

I did a fresh image of the machine and the issue hasn't happened yet, but i locked out windows updates for the time being to keep it from happening again.
I spent a lot of time redoing one of the machines and testing. I have disabled several updates.