Thank you for your feedback



Slow Printing, Lockups, and Poor Printing Performance

Document ID:SO1625
 
  Properties  

Problem

Slow printing; Documents take too long to print; Printer stops in the middle of a document; Printer is not responding; Printer does not print; Problem communicating with the printer; Communication errors; PC locks up whe; System freezes; Blue screens; Cannot navigate in Windows while printer is printing; Poor system performance during printing; Printing crashes system

Environment

Microsoft Windows 95; Microsoft Windows 3.1x; Microsoft Windows 98; Microsoft Windows Me; Microsoft Windows 2000; Microsoft Windows XP; IBM IJ4070; Lexmark X6160; Lexmark X6130; Lexmark P705 Photo Jetprinter; Lexmark Z703 Photo Jetprinter

Solution

Slow printing, lockups, and poor printing performance can happen for a number of different reasons. This document looks at some of the possible causes of these problems, as well as providing tips for a system/printer tune-up.
IMPORTANT:  Please think of each procedure below as a possible independent  fix and not as a step in a longer procedure. (Procedures have a heading in bold.) Any one fix from the list could potentially resolve your problem. We recommend that you try the first two fixes to begin with. If these do not resolve your issue, move on to the other fixes.

  • Reseat the printer cable and remove any external devices.
    If there is a loose connection or if the printer is connected to any other external devices (scanner, zip drive, switchbox), the printer may not print or respond at all.
    If the printer is connected with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable and is connected through a USB hub, follow these steps:
     


    1. Power off the printer.

    2. Remove the USB cable from the hub.

    3. Connect the cable directly to the USB port on the PC.

    4. Turn the printer back on.

If the printer is connected with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable and is connected directly to the computer, follow these steps:



    1. Power off the printer.

    2. Remove the USB cable from the back of the PC and from the back of the printer.

    3. Reconnect the USB cable to the printer and the PC.

    4. Turn the printer back on.
       

    Move the power cord to another outlet.
    If the printer is not responding, it could be due to lack of power. The best method of testing this is to try the printer in a different outlet.

    1. If the power cord is plugged into a surge protector, remove the plug from the protector and plug it directly into a wall outlet.

    2. If a wall outlet is not available, move the plug to another outlet on the surge protector.
       

    Check your system resources.
    Hard drive space vs. free space:
    Double-click the My Computer icon and right click on the C: drive. Select Properties. This should give you a graphical representation of the hard drive's free space. You should have at least 1 GB of free space on your hard drive. Windows will use this to run smoothly. If the free space is less than 1 GB,  you might run into performance problems.
    Processor speed:
    While there are no easy steps to take to find out your processor speed, this information is invaluable. If you do not know what your PC's processor speed is in MHz or GHz, you should contact the PC manufacturer for the full system specifications. Your processor speed has to meet or exceed the minimum requirements in order for the printer to work. Note: If you are running a processor that is very close to the minimum requirements, your computer may perform slowly or hang when you use the printer.
    RAM installed vs. RAM free or free memory:
    This differs from XP/2000 to 95/98/Me and a little calculation is required to determine the amount that is free. See below.

    XP/2000 RAM usage:


    1. Hold down the Ctrl + Alt keys. While holding these keys down, press the Delete key once.

    2. Release the Ctrl + Alt keys. The Task Manager appears. (If an Administration screen appears, select the Task Manager.)

    3. Select Performance.

    4. Note the Physical Memory available. This amount should be greater than the minimum amount of RAM required to run the printer.
      To convert Kbytes to Mbytes, divide the number of available Kbytes by 1024. For example: You have 262144 Total Kbytes and 67584 Available Kbytes. Dividing by 1024 as instructed (67584 / 1024 = 66), you discover that although you have 256 MB (262144 / 1024 = 256) of RAM installed on your system, only 66 MB are available for processes such as printing.
      NOTE: Always do these checks while running the programs you are going to print from. This will give you an accurate estimation of the resources that are free at the time of trying to print.

95/98/ME RAM usage:


    Right click on the My Computer icon and select Properties.
    Click on the Performance tab and note the amount of RAM versus System Resources.
    Take the amount of RAM and multiply it by the % of free resource. For example, if you have 256 MB of RAM and are running at 26% free, multiply 256 x .26. Since 256 x .26 = 66, only 66 MB are available for processes such as printing.
    NOTE: Always do these checks while running the programs you are going to print from. This will give you an accurate estimation of the resources that are free at the time of trying to print.

What does this mean? You should find a list of system requirements on the printer box. Your processor speed should be greater than or equal to the listed minimum processor speed. (If you did not get a printer box with your printer, check our website for system requirements for your printer.) If the box states 64 MB of RAM, it is a good rule of thumb to have that amount "available" for use, as calculated above. Again, if the computer has 20 times the amount of RAM needed to run the printer but all of it is being used to run background processes and programs, the computer could experience hangs, freezes, or lockups. If you want to get the most out of your Lexmark printer, it is imperative that you are running at least the recommended system requirements. Running the minimum requirements on any system with any new piece of hardware will not allow that hardware to perform at its peak performance level.


  • Optimize your system.
    Lexmark printers are host-based printers. The computer system will need to be optimized to give you the best performance possible. The following suggestions can help improve the performance of the printer:
     


    • Print in normal or draft mode if possible.

    • Increase computer memory if you are running the bare minimum amount of physical memory. If you are having trouble with available memory, the fix above may correct this problem.

    • Increase the amount of virtual memory. You will need to resort to the help files in Windows or your PC manufacturer for assistance with this. We recommend running 500 MB of VM. (This is an optional task. Generally the default setting with Windows handling VM works fine.)

    • Try different spool data format settings. (To change them, access your Printers folder through the Control Panel. Right click the Lexmark printer and select Properties. Choose the Details tab (XP/2000: Advanced tab) and then Spool Settings (XP/2000: Print processor). Try the different options. Press Apply and OK.) After each change print again to see if the selected format increased the printing speed.

    • Shut down unused applications or screen savers to make more system resources available.

    • Power Management features such as shutting down monitors, hard drives, and system standby may also interfere with the printer's performance if your computer is not running up to par. Go to Control Panel, Power Management.

    • Although they are neat to look at, desktop images can use up a substantial amount of memory. Using a plain colored background will speed up system performance.

    • Make sure that you do not have the photo cartridge installed when printing black text. If the photo cartridge is installed and you try to print a text document, it will slow down the printing speed. You should install the black cartridge in the printer when printing text documents.

    • If you are printing with the highest printer settings, keep in mind that it will take longer than with draft settings. The higher the quality setting, the more passes the cartridge makes over the page to "enhance" the image. This slows down the entire process.
       

  • Set the printer to print directly to the port for your printing to start faster.
    (NOTE: This may cause the system to slow down depending on the system settings.) The default setting allows the entire printout to be stored in the computer's memory to allow quicker program access while the printer is printing. This will create a pause from the moment you click on Print until the print job is spooled. The printer should then start printing the entire document. In most cases, this is the fastest and most efficient way to print a document. However, for troubleshooting purposes you can try the following:

Windows 3.X:



    1. In Program Manager, choose Print Manager.

    2. Select Options and then Printer Setup.

    3. Now click Connect.

    4. In the lower left corner of the screen, make sure that Fast Printing is selected. Enabling this option causes Windows to print using the Windows COMM driver whenever appropriate. The COMM driver supports faster printing than MS-DOS by writing directly to the COM or LPT port hardware but bypassing the normal MS-DOS output code path. NOTE:  If special print terminate-and-stay-resident programs (TSRs) are being used or you are experiencing problems printing over a network, disabling this option may correct these problems.

Windows 95/98 and ME.

  1. Access your Printers folder through the Control Panel. Right click the Lexmark printer and select Properties.

  2. Click the Details tab and then Spool Settings

  3. Select Print directly to the printer. Then click Apply and OK.

For Windows XP and 2000



    1. Access your Printers folder through the Control Panel. Right click the Lexmark printer and select Properties.

    2. Click the Advanced tab.

    3. Select Print directly to the printer.
       

    Free up memory to troubleshoot the possibility of a program creating a memory leak.
     

    1. Click StartRun.

    2. Type MSCONFIG, then click OK.

    3. When the System Configuration Utility opens, place the marker dot beside Selective Startup. Below that, deselect Load Startup Group Items. (NOTE: You can reverse this process later by selecting normal startup rather than selective startup.)

    4. Click Apply and OK. You will be prompted to restart the system.

    5. Do so.  When your system restarts, only the Windows operating system should be running. You should not see any icons in the lower right-hand corner of the screen beside the clock.

    6. Open the document you wish to print and try printing. If the document prints quicker, the problem was due to one (or more) of the applications that were loaded into memory.


Link:
Please enter the email address you would like to send a copy of this page to.