Printing is very slow on one computer

Hi experts,

My network consists of a group of client computers running Win 7 Pro 64-bit. My server is SBS 2008 is also 64-bit. I believe I would call it a print server as all my print drivers are installed locally to the server and then I download them to the individual clients. We have a variety of networked printers including an HP LaserJet 600 and a Xerox WorkCentre 4250. There are others, but there is also a Star Printer, which is networked.

All of the computers except one have print drivers from the server to various printers they need. My receptionist uses a computer which is networked to the three above printers. These are the only printers she uses. She has the exact drivers as everyone else.

But, where all the other printers can print nearly instantly (of course, there can be a lag due to the first page out thing) when she prints it can take 12 seconds. A good case in point is that all other computers print to the Star Printer (POS type thermal printer) instantly, but it takes 15 seconds.

I am wondering if other than deleting her drivers, which I have done, is there somewhere in the registry where I need to delete all the print settings and start over.

Thank you.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If all the other computers are printing quickly, then it is very likely the printers and also the drivers you have are good.

A computer may take a long time to print if (a) there are superfluous drivers installed; (b) lots of temp files to sort through at printing; and (c) viruses on the machine.

For the problem computer:

1. Open Devices and Printers and remove all printers.
2. In Devices and Printers, click on any device which opens a new Printer Server Properties menu. Open this menu, click on Drivers and remove (delete) all drivers for the above printers.
3. Close out of this.
4. Run Disk Cleanup (admin tools) and select almost all options to delete files. Click OK and allow the cleanup to complete.
5. Run your existing Anti Virus software and do a complete scan.

Close out, shut down, start up and now install ONE printer and test. If OK, install the second and test. If OK, proceed.
Bert2005Author Commented:
Thanks John, I will try. Got to work through the day. Will get to this afternoon. I think you are my guardian angel, lol. Always get back to me stat. :-)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Hi Bert - take your time and get back to us when you can. Thank you for your very kind compliments.
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Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
I would try running the MS FixIt tool for printing.

See this technet blog entry for a detailed description of the tool with links to download the tool:

I would try the "Lite" mode first: this will reset services to default dependencies & other steps to optimize printing on the problem PC.  If that doesn't help, you could try use the "Full" version: that will remove all printers, drivers, print monitors etc.   If you try that option, be prepared to install all printers & drivers again since that pretty much makes Windows as if you had never installed any printers on the PC before (similar to what "CleanSPL.exe" did for Windows XP).
Bert2005Author Commented:
That is a great suggestion. I will go through these a bit later. Thanks Alicia.
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
No problem!  That "Lite" mode tool has helped me in the past, so I think it might help here, too.
Bert2005Author Commented:
OK, so a bit of an update. First, let's start with, "I hate printers and drivers."

So, I ran Lite no go. So, I ran Full, and even though some drivers were gone, it kept hanging. I went back to John's thought, and I manually deleted the drivers. Of course, something I may not have mentioned is there are four accounts on the computer, all of which have at least four drivers. Not all the same. So, I deleted all of them, ran Full, and it ran in about one minute.

Now, this brings me to a question. I suppose it makes sense that each person with a profile would decide which printer they need if they log into that computer. My receptionist needs most, but my nurse may only need the HP printer and the Star printer. So, even though they all download whatever driver from the server, once it is installed, does the computer only have the driver once, yet each person can print from it. It just seems like if you have four profiles/accounts each with all seven possibilities, that would make 28 print drivers. And, print drivers don't like each other. Making it worse, I am not using WSUS, so I have to do updates manually from each printer. I have decided to allow my users to do this and have asked them not to update print drivers when the existing one works fine. And, no lectures on the virtue of using WSUS and GPO. :-)

So, anyway, back to the problem, deleted all drivers, ran Full Fix-it. Everything was gone. Started adding them one at a time. First, the Star Printer. It prints our controlled prescriptions. Let's just say the DEA likes the results. While every other computer can print to it in under two seconds, it can take 15 seconds on top of the 5 to 10 seconds it takes to open up the print window from the Electronic Medical Record. The way it works on her computer is completely different from any other computer.

So, I install it and it prints in two seconds. Yeah! Then I install another driver and another and everything is perfect. I can use the HP printer as the default and still select the Star Printer and print in seconds. I decided as I added the minimum amount of printers to her computer, that I wouldn't add any print drivers to any other accounts for now.

Please don't ask me what went wrong. I have no idea. But, all of a sudden, the problems started again. Every printer had issues. BUT, the one thing that was a certainty was if I made the Star printer the DEFAULT printer, it works every time in less than two seconds.

Also, one other thing just to see if this sheds some light on the subject. Normally, when you have the prescription part of the EMR open, you write the script and enter it. Then you have two options: Print to default printer or print preview. If you select print preview, a window appears with a picture of the script as it will print. There is now a print icon at the top. All other computers click this and it instantly gives the option of what printer to use. You select a driver, choose printer, and it prints instantly. The window goes away. But, when there is going to be an issue on this computer, you choose print preview, the window opens with the script showing. you then click on the printer icon. Instead of instantly showing you the the window where you can select the driver, it takes about 10 seconds to get there. You then select the Star printer driver, click on it, and you know it will take 15 seconds for it to print. So, you have 25 seconds, where the entire process make take four to five seconds on the other computers.

I am really down and defeated. I am to the point where I think I need to just re-install Windows.

Sorry, so long. Just trying to give all the info plus it's the end of the day, I am frustrated, and two Heinekens are probably not helping. :-) Well, they are helping with the frustration but likely not with this post.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am to the point where I think I need to just re-install Windows.

You have 4 user profiles and have installed printers in different ways. At this point, backing up and reinstalling Windows may be faster.

If you do, make a local Administrator profile to get started. Make that profile a member of the administrators group. Of course, "administrator" remains disabled.

Update Windows. set up the software, and then install the printers only in the admin profile. Make sure they all work properly. Use only the most recent printer driver.

Now add the users. Check each user for printing. You may need to allow the printer to install for the user and provide admin credentials for this to happen.
Bert2005Author Commented:
Hi experts,

Sorry for the delay. Had a sick day. Must have caught a virus from the computers. OK, probably heard that a million times.

Thanks John, appreciate your insight as always.

AARRGGHH!! The last thing I want to do is reinstall Windows. Trying to put that off until at least Windows 10.

OK, so here is a strange finding. I may have alluded to it earlier in one of my chapters. But, it is interesting and may at least steer one of you in a certain direction.

The Xerox printer just has a mind of its own and seems to think you are always trying to print envelopes so it pouts and just tells you to either fax or scan, but it takes its toner and goes home. Finally found some window that was logging all the bad prints and deleted all of them, and it is fine.  Xerox support is clueless. I mean the local support from Portland, ME. But, I seem to have the HP and Xerox working OK. One thing I found is I would like to find high end printers without auto feeders that you just add paper to and print as needed. The printers seem to get confused. Anyway....

I really think this has boiled down to a program/printer issue. The Electronic Medical Record is Amazing Charts. Rated one of the best small practice EMRs in the country. But, it can be a bit buggy. When you combine printing from this computer using AC and the print drivers, you can have very slow performance. Not on the other computers, although if you are going to have a problem, AC can give you the biggest issue.

So, when you bring up a patient in AC, click on the patient to open the chart, select Prescriptions, then select a medication, then select Print Preview, then click on the printer icon, then select the print driver, it can be very slow. And, once you print to that print driver, it can take 12 seconds. ON THIS COMPUTER only and on all accounts. Sounds like a lot of steps but basically you are seeing the patient, decide to put them on Penicillin, enter the medication into the script writer, then prescribe it and print it.

It is important to understand that on this computer when the print driver in question is NOT the default print driver, then it is not just the printing that is slow, it is every step along the way. It is very strange. I should video it and upload it. Selecting the patient is boggy, selecting medication scripts is boggy, selecting all of the steps between there and the actual printing is slow. BUT, IF YOU MAKE THE PRINT DRIVER THE DEFAULT, it is not only two seconds to print, every step is a split second. That I find weird. It prints slow to everything, but the receptionist needs to print to the Star Printer mainly. You can just make the Star Printer the default printer and then for Word and PDFs, etc., just select a different printer. But, the Star Printer which is only for printing prescriptions SHOULD NOT be your default printer.

So, in summary, on this computer, if the Star Printer is selected as the default printer, everything in the EMR prints faster. If it is not, then it is slow as molasses. Why, the hell is that?

Sorry, for the long and convoluted comment. I would somewhat understand if the last step were faster if it were the default. But, the combination of the Star Printer being the default and Amazing Charts together makes it work correctly. Keep in mind that AC is the only program that uses it. IF, the Star Printer driver is not the default and you print to it from Word or PDF or any other program, it is super faster, albeit it prints a 3 by 5 inch by 11 inch piece of paper.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The overriding comment here is that the slow printing is ONE computer only and no other. So it cannot be printer or software, or at least, so it seems to me.

And I use Xerox at customers. The B&W Xerox is fast to print. The colour Phaser can be slow to get going for all users but is fine once it gets started.

So I think the issue must somehow be related to the computer itself.
Bert2005Author Commented:
I don't know. Amazing Charts is a great program, but can be a bit buggy. The overriding theme here is how it is dreadfully slow when the driver isn't the default. But, if you make it the default driver, it not only prints fast, every step in the program to get to the print window and print is fast.

I am trying to think what changes the dynamic of the whole thing simply because the driver is the default. I mean the program is flawless because of it. But, this is before printing. It is like the program knows the print driver is now the default.

If we knew why a program could do that, I think we would be on to something.
Bert2005Author Commented:
HI experts,

I think I have figured out the problem. I will do a bit more troubleshooting and get back to you soon.

Thanks for your patience.

Bert2005Author Commented:
Actually, I should keep everyone in on the action. Well, all two of you, lol. I have identified that it doesn't seem to be the computer. I found, as you know, that when I made the Star printer the default, everything was fine. And, since it was when using this printer that the problem occurred, it was easy to make the leap that it was due to it and/or a combination of that. But, when you make the HP printer (the receptionist's default printer), the default, everything is slow. When you make ANY other print driver the default, everything is fine. So, there seems to be an issue with that computer. Trying to change cable or Ethernet jack.
Bert2005Author Commented:
Should be able to get everything fixed and get back with the final answer. I will close the question then.
Bert2005Author Commented:
Well, here is the outcome for now. It seems if you have either of the two print drivers for the HP 601n as a default, it would cause significant slowness of the program. It would actually cause Word to print or be prepared to print somewhat slower. If you just have no default, you are fine. I tried quite a few things with the printer (this isnt' the Star printer that was the one being affected the most, but the HP printer which was causing the issues), such as a new patch cable to a new jack, etc. Nothing would help. Finally connected the printer locally using a USB port. It found its own driver on Win 7, established itself as the default and everything works fine. I left the other two network print drivers to allow others to print to it. I didn't want to share out the local driver.

There is no way that this could have been solved by EE. The issue was just not going to be apparent especially since the problem was mostly with the Star, and it would be fixed by making it the default. Obviously, that made it seem like the default had to be the Star, and the problem would lie elsewhere. But, it had nothing to do with its being the default. It just had to do with the HP printer NOT being the default.

So, now what do I do with the points? I still learned a lot.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I guess that if you are happy with your own answer here that you accept it that way. If we have provided any assistance of value to you, then you can close as your own answer with assist points as you see appropriate.
Bert2005Author Commented:
I appreciate the help and assistance of the two experts above. Actually, using some of their ideas did help me in the right direction if only ruling out some obvious things I may have missed.

In the end, it seemed to be something to do with another printer connected to the problem computer, likely due to a problematic Ethernet interface.

While deleteing all print drivers and adding them back one at a time would prove successful, it would lead me most to think that there was a conflict one or more drivers, and I needed to start again. But, it would work only because the faulty printer wasn't installed AND used as the default. So, in a way, the experts were correct, but there is no way to have come to the final solution on EE. Thanks.
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