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HP LJ 4 printing PDF files very slowly on new Windows 7 Laptop

The printer is an HP LJ 4100, with a Gigabit JetDirect card. (The original card broke, and this is a replacement)  It is attached directly to the network, using a standard TCP/IP port.  The client is using a new Dell Laptop attached to a dock, and connected via Ethernet. The router is a very recent Apple Airport Express configured  in routing mode.

Regular MS Word and WordPerfect docs print very quickly.  Adobe PDF files - which are scans of documents - can take 20 to 30 seconds per page to render and print.  The documents are letter-sized legal/court documents scanned at 600 dpi.  Some of them are 100 pages long.
(I spoke with the client about the 600 dpi resolution. He said that very often these docs are marked up by pencil or light-colored pen, and the writing won't show up in a 300 dpi scan.  He does have a very good Canon scanner.  Many lawyers still use paper for correspondence, and won't send him a PDF by email.)

Are there any software or driver settings that can speed up printing?  Currently the driver is HP LaserJet 4100 PCL 6.
Client says that when he was using an XP machine to print the same PDF files, they printed much faster. (But that was with the original JetDirect card installed)

I am not sure if the JetDirect has a USB port, or if connecting via USB would help.  In addition, there is a Mac in the office printing over the network, and If I have a choice don't want to add a layer of complexity by having a Mac print to a shared Windows 7 printer.

Naturally the client would like to save the expense of a new laser printer.
But would purchasing a HP LaserJet 600 with a speed of 52 ppm also solve this problem?  There is also a model HP LaserJet 3000  which looks to have a better processor.

Thanks.
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computerlarry
Asked:
computerlarry
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7 Solutions
 
dlb6597Commented:
In the Adobe Print dialog, under Advanced there is a setting called "Print as Image"...that has solved many issues for me...
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
Often times client uses the Adobe Plug-in to print directly from FireFox.  This plug-in doesn't offer the same printing options.
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nobusCommented:
did you try reinstalling adobe reader yet?
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hdhondtCommented:
600 dpi scans are overkill for printing. For colour or greyscale images 300 dpi is more than you need; 200 dpi is perfectly OK. A 600 dpi image is 9 times the size of 200 dpi.

That is almost certainly the cause of your problem. Many people think that, if the printer is 600 dpi, the scan should be, too. They forget that the scanner can "see" 16 million colours (or more) in every pixel; a printer can only print 8. For more colours the printer has to put dots side by side. Commercial printing, at 2400 dpi still does not need anything higher than 300 dpi images.

The only time you may want to scan at more than 300 dpi is when the images will be printed larger than the scanned image. A magnification factor of 2 would require at least 400 dpi scans.

Check the size of your spool files and you'll find the explain the slow printing.
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wyliecoyoteukCommented:
As hdhondt says, a 600 DPI image (which is what these pages are, not documents) will be very large and take a long time to print.
Word documents print quickly because they are text documents, not images.
It might be better getting him to scan in greyscale instead of colour, as that will reduce the size, also make sure if he must use colour, he does not use "auto colour" for scanning, as that can increase file size by up to 25% with some scanners.
If the printer supports Postscript, using a postscript driver may help.
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hdhondtCommented:
Having characters written in pencil should not require a scan at more than 300 dpi. As wylie suggests, try scanning in either greyscale or even black & white. If scanning black & white, try changing the threshold at which the scanner switches from black to white (it'll be in the scan settings).

If printing is the same size as the original, there is another reason why 300 dpi is all you need: at 300 dpi, pixel size is about the same as the diameter of a hair, so smaller detail will be invisible at normal reading distances.
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
I appreciate all the good advice.  What would be the answer to the client's question why this problem didn't exist in Windows XP, but started with Windows 7?
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hdhondtCommented:
I would guess that the XP scanner driver was set to different settings. Do they still have an XP machine so they could check the settings?
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
Yes. I'll check the driver settings on XP
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wyliecoyoteukCommented:
You may find that win7 is using the windows7 builtin mini driver, which will lack features compared to the full hp driver.
Installing the proper HP driver might help.
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
Problem was solved - installed LJ4050 PCL5 driver to replace the LJ4100 PCL6 driver.

The PDF files now print much faster.


Thanks to all.
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
Epilogue:  The PCL5 driver alone didn't solve the problem. The advice to print at 300dpi instead of at 600dpi was taken, and this resolution plus the PCL5 driver enabled fast printing.
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