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Chapter 7. Printing and Faxing > Controlling Printouts

Controlling Printouts

When you print a document, it’s intercepted by an intermediary program, called the print spooler, on its way to the printer. The print spooler holds your documents (on disk or in memory) until your printer can accept them. The delay is short for text files but may be substantial for large graphics files. The spooler puts each document in a print queue (or just queue), where it waits its turn to be printed. You can change the order of queued documents, pause or resume printing, or cancel specific print jobs. Spooling occurs in the background, so you can keep working in your program—or even quit the program—and documents still print.

Printer Troubleshooting

When you’re having trouble printing, you want to determine whether the problem lies with the printer, Windows XP, or a particular program. Here are some things to check:

  • Make sure that the printer is plugged in and turned on. Check for snug cable connections on the printer and computer ports. (Most printer hardware problems involve the cable.)

  • Remove the paper tray, pop the printer’s lid, and check for a jammed paper path.

  • Streaks of white space in printouts mean you’re low on toner (ink).

  • Turn the printer off and on to clear its memory.

  • Create a file in Notepad, and print it from the command prompt. Choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt; type print filename.txt; then press Enter. (Replace filename.txt with the name of your homemade text file.) If it prints, you have a software problem; otherwise, you have a hardware problem.

  • Consult the printer’s manual and print a test page. (If it prints, delete and reinstall the printer driver.)

  • Use XP’s built-in troubleshooter: Choose Start > Help and Support > Printing and Faxing topic > Fixing a Printing Problem (in the left pane) > Printing Troubleshooter (in the right pane). (Refer to Figure 7.11.)

If you still can’t determine the problem’s source, you may have a malfunctioning port (somewhat complex) or motherboard (get out your wallet).



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