printer problem DOS program under W98 under Virtual PC on XP

February 16, 2012 at 14:22:56
Specs: XP familly, dual E2140, 1.60 GHz ,1.99 G RAM
Somebody help my prn problem xp sp3, w 98,clippe 5.2e prog
Host platform: XP sp 3
Virtual PC 2007, 1003 Mo RAM
Win 98, 2nd
HP laserjet 5, parallel

An important Clipper 5.2e prog (DOS) runs very well on w 98 platform machine. It also runs very well on some XP machines under w98 using VPC.

On some other machines using VPC and w98, the prog is OK but there are occasional printer problems:
- The printer ofter returns "out of paper" error
- When a "copy ALT-12 > prn:" is sent in w98 DOS it works most of the time but sometimes it returns an "out of paper" error. Once it returned a interrupt 24 error

I tried to modify the config of the printer: "direct to printer", diff spooler ajustment, modify delay time, etc. no result

Can someone help me to solve that problem ?
Raymond Hebert, Montreal, Canada


See More: printer problem DOS program under W98 under Virtual PC on XP

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February 16, 2012 at 14:51:55
I don't know if it's related or not but how much RAM do you have dedicated to the virtual Win98 machine? Win98 has issues when it has more than 512 meg available.

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February 16, 2012 at 16:47:04
"Win 98, 2nd"

I assume you mean Win 98SE - Second Edition.
Virtual PC 2007 doesn't support Win 98 (Gold, the first Edition).
Virtual PC 2004 does.

Out of Paper errors usually have nothing to do with Windows software problems - they're generated by the printer itself. Standard troubleshooting for causes of that for the printer model should cure that.

"HP laserjet 5, parallel"

Usually you MUST connect a parallel printer to a port that has had it's mode set to EPP, ECP, or EPP / ECP in order for it to work properly.
- If it's connected to a parallel port built into the mboard, that setting is in the mboard's bios Setup
- if it's connected to a PCI parallel port card in a mboard slot on a desktop computer, they all already support one or more of those modes.

EPP mode usually works fine, and there's very little difference in performance between EPP and ECP modes, however some old printers were designed to be used in ECP mode. ECP mode requires that there is a spare DMA channel available - it may not be - when you choose ECP mode in a mboard's bios Setup you can often choose from more than one DMA channel. .

You should also be using a parallel cable that supports the IEEE1284 standard. IEEE1284 should be printed on it, OR an unmarked cable will work fine if it was designed for heavy duty use and has the minimum wire thickness or greater that the IEEE1284 standard requires.

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February 20, 2012 at 09:24:19
The PC Virtual hosting Win 98 SE is running on 4 computers. The printer problem is with 2 computers out of these 4. I have changed switched the printers between the computers, no change.

The printer is not ready to receive data.

I found a way to works that out, however not very practical:
When I toggle the switch of the printer to off and back on after a few seconds, I can print 1 or 2 or sometimes 3 documents. The folowing one doesn't print and the printer reports an "out of paper message". The printer doesn't even shows that it has received datas.

To print again, I have to restart the same process of on/off.

The memory alloted to PC Virtual is: RAM 1 Gb, video 8Mb, cache 2 Mb.


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February 20, 2012 at 11:30:57
By the way, I'm in Alberta.

I'm assuming you have one printer.

See response 2.

Do / did you have the printer port mode set correctly, if applicable (if it's connected to a parallel port built into the mboard) , for whatever computer you connected the printer to ?

Are you using an IEEE1284 labeled printer cable, or an unmarked heavy duty (thicker than normal) printer cable, with the printer ?

Is the printer cable longer than ~ 10 feet / 3 meters ?
If it is, it should be a heavy duty (thicker) cable..

Are all 4 computers using XP or 2000 and Virtual PC 2007 ?
(If any of them are using an older operating system, you're more likely to have problems.)

Are any of the computers, or all 4 computers, on the same local local network, using a wired network connection (network cables) ?

If any of them are connected via network cables e.g. they all connect to one router or network switch box, you WILL have problems if the network cable connection of any computer is "iffy" .

All network cable end connectors should "latch" into the ports on both ends. The end connector should NOT come out of the port when you merely pull on the cable - you should need to have to press the plastic lever on the end connector to be able to pull it out of the port. That plastic lever is often broken off or it becomes fatigued at it's pivot point if the connector has been unplugged and plugged in a lot, and in that case the network cable connector cannot "latch" in the port properly - it can develop a poor connection because of mere vibration causing it to work it's way out of the port a bit.
If you have any network cables that have end connectors that don't "latch", replace the cable with one that will "latch" both connectors, or strap tape on the end of the cable such that the end connector cannot work itself out of the port.

Another possibility. The sheath over the wires on each end of the cable should be UNDER the clamp inside the end connector. If the cable's sheath has been pulled out of the end connector, that cable is a lot more likely to cause a problem

If you need to, you can buy the end connectors separately and use a relatively inexpensive too to install them properly - the fiddly part is having the wires on both ends in exactly the same positions.

Side notes.
I have noticed that MANY el-cheapo network cables, e.g. such as those you buy in "dollar" stores, DO NOT have the all wires in the same position inside the connector on both ends - they are probably rejects - you're more likely to have problems with those cables, especially if it's longer.
The network cable itself has four pairs of wires that are twisted around one another inside the cable's sheath so that they pick up the least amount of possible electronic or electric interference from the cable's surroundings. Each pair is a colored wire, and a white wire with a stripe of the same color. They're supposed to be installed in the end connections so that each colored wire has the proper striped white wire beside it. Those el-cheapo cables OFTEN have at least two of the striped white wires in the wrong places - the cable still works, but in that case, the network cable is a lot more likely to pick up MORE electric or electronic interference from it's surroundings.

NOTE that if any network cable is connected to a router, some brands, e.g. D-Link, have a built in cable connection testing feature in the router's configuration. If you access that configuration and that feature, you can find out right away if you have any "iffy" cable connections.

I have not needed to use Virtual PC, but I have had a lot of experience with using one printer or two different printers shared on a wired local network of three to six computers at a extended care center in a computer room accessible to all residents.

I have seen both problems with network cables stated above. One of the residents frequently tried to troubleshoot by unplugging and plugging in the network cables, and he often forgot to press the plastic levers on the connectors - many end connectors were damaged, and in some cases he pulled the cable's sheath out of the connectors, or even pulled wires out of, or broke the small wires inside their insulation in, the end connectors after, or along with, the cable sheath had (having) been pulled out. (He has mental problems.)

The most frequent cause of problems with the printer(s) working properly was because of network cable problems.

I found you DO NOT need to install the drivers and associated software for the printer model on all the computers you want to share the printer with. You only need to install the the drivers and associated software for the printer model on ONE computer that the printer is directly connected to. When File and Printer sharing has been enabled on all the computers in the local network you want to share the printer with, the necessary printer drivers and associated software are installed automatically over the network (all computers in the network must be running at that time), but it does take a short time for that to finish initially. The printer model appears automatically eventually on the computers the printer is NOT directly connected to in a short time in Control Panel - Classic view - Printers and Faxes as an AUTO type which is also Network printer.

To enable File and Printer sharing on all the computers, you must run the Local Network wizard on all the computers.

The Workgroup name must be the same on all the computers when you do that. Many just leave that set to the default name to avoid complications. (The Local Network wizard always uses the default workgroup name by default when you run it. If you were using a specific workgroup name, you have to remember to change the workgroup name when you run the wizard, on all the computers.)

I don't know if the same applies when you use Virtual PC.

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February 20, 2012 at 15:02:47
Dear computer friend:
I have submitted other comments a few minutes ago but I don't know if they went trough.
Each of the 4 computers is using Windows XP and Virtual PC 2007. They all run Win 98 SE under the Virtual. They are in network with DLink Rl-604 router. The printers are not on the network.
Each machine has its onw printer, all the same, HP Laserjet 4, same driver (the one of Win 98)
The network is used for exchanging files, reading, writing, etc and the communication is very good (In all there are 8 computers, 4 real and 4 virtual)
The printer cables are the good ones and are well connected.
It seems that something is blocking or delaying the communication between the printing job sent to the printer and the printer itself. Is there any way to check of the printer port is closed after a job ?

Could the action of toggling the switch to off and on have any influence ?

There is only one program running on each W98 platform. The program is an *.exe; each machine runs its own copy.

I will check all the system files for their date stamp, maybe there has been an update more recent on the machines working OK...

Unless you have another idea..

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February 20, 2012 at 19:45:06
If you're saying that you're SURE no matter which of the 4 printers you connect to the computers you STILL have the same problems on the same two of the computers, the ONLY things that can cause that, all else concerning the printers being correct and ~ the same, are

- you (or whoever) DID NOT install the printer's drivers and associated software on those two computers properly,

- or you (or whoever) DID do that properly, but something interfered with the software installing properly on those two computers.

Both of those situations are COMMON .

Why do I say "printer's drivers and associated software" ?

Printer "drivers" installations are always installing associated software along with the actual drivers. Both the actual drivers and the associated software must be installed properly.

If you follow the printer manufacturer's installation directions exactly, you are installing both of those correctly, when you install the single "drivers" installation.
However, many people don't bother following the directions.

Even if you do that correctly, anti-malware (or third party firewall) software can prevent the software from installing correctly.

First, un-install the drivers and associated software for the printer that you or whoever installed , on the two computers you're having the problems with the printer on.

Second, disable any resident modules in anti-malware software you have installed from running.

Third, install the printer's drivers and associated software the proper way.

1. Un-installing the software.

When you're not using Virtual PC, you do that in XP - Control Panel - Classic view - Add or Remove Programs.
I have no idea where you un-install that when you're using Virtual PC and Win 98SE drivers, unless it's the same as in Win 98SE, when you are in the Win 98SE virtual machine in XP - Settings - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs.

2. Disable any resident modules in anti-malware software you have installed, in XP !

NOTE that sometimes the resident module(s) of anti-malware programs - a part that runs all the time scanning for suspicious activity - will interfere with the proper installation of third party software, or major Microsoft updates that cannot be installed automatically by Automatic Update, the software will not install properly, and you may get no indication of that at all while installing the software.
To avoid that possibility, you should always DISABLE the resident module(s) of anti-malware programs, BEFORE you install third party software (software other than most Microsoft Updates, etc., that did not come with Windows ), especially when it's a major or complicated software package.
E.g. if you are using the free or paid version of AVG, you should disable the Resident Shield in AVG's 's settings in Windows (in AVG 2012 that's done under the title AntiVirus). In Norton (Symantec) products, there may be several things you need to disable, or set so they don't load for a specific short amount of time.
If you don't know how to do that, tell us which anti-malware software you are using.
When you are sure the software has installed correctly, re-enable the resident module(s).

NOTE that if you have any standalone third party firewall installed, or if your anti-malware software has a third party firewall in it, you should ALSO disable the resident modules(s) for that from running in XP too.

3. Install the software (the printer's drivers and associated software) properly according to the printer manufacturer's directions.

Unless the instructions for installing a device tell you otherwise......

You DO NOT install drivers for a device while booting into Windows, if the software for the device has not been installed yet - when Windows detects a generic device or New Hardware while booting, you allow it to search for drivers, it doesn't find any, and it wants you to show it the location of the drivers - CANCEL that, continue on to the desktop, and install the software for the device using the proper installation from a CD or the proper installation file that you downloaded from the web.

Usually you DO NOT install drivers for a device when Found New Hardware pops up, at any time !

After the software for the device, the printer in this case, has been installed and you're sure it's working properly, Enable any resident modules in anti-malware (or third party firewall) software that you disabled.

If re-installing the software that way doesn't help, I have no idea what your problem is.
Either you're missing something, or something else is wrong. There are lots of possibilities, but from the info you've supplied so far, I can't think of anything else to suggest.


"I have submitted other comments a few minutes ago but I don't know if they went trough."

- Make sure you click on Submit Follow Up at the bottom of the post you composed before you change web pages.

- I don't know if this applies to your case, but I have a Telus ISP connection that requires a connection to the phone line. When I am having problems with noise being picked up on the phone line (it's on poles and was installed in ~ 1959) , my internet connection often becomes poor or stops working - after I have clicked on Submit Follow Up, nothing happens, or there is long, long delay before it happens.
High speed modems usually DO NOT reset themselves to establish a better connection after whatever caused the poor or no connection has gone away - you usually have to re-start the modem to get a good connection again.
The way I cure that problem is to click on stop (the red X in the top bar of IE 8), then I re-start the combo router / modem by unplugging it's DC power plug on the back of it, then plugging it back in, and I wait until the router / modem has it's leds lit up to indicate it has a good connection (up to 5 minutes) , then I click on Submit Followup again.
(If you get a message "Duplicate Follow Up," or similar, your post WAS accepted but the resulting next page didn't appear.)

If you have a DSL or ADSL modem, (or a combo router/ ADSL modem, or Telus's Optic service combo router / modem) that requires a telephone cable connection, I recommend you try the same thing.

If you DO have internet connection problems, it's a good idea to compose your post in Notepad or another word processor, then copy it's contents to your post. If Submit Follow Up doesn't work, you haven't lost what you typed. ( I have, many times.)

"...DLink Rl-604 router..."

You have probably made typos in that.
It's probably supposed to be D-Link DI-604; if my guess is correct, I have several of those that I've used. It has the feature that can test network cable connections built into it's configuration.

"Each of the 4 computers is using Windows XP and Virtual PC 2007. They all run Win 98 SE under the Virtual. They are in network with DLink Rl-604 router. The printers are not on the network."

"Each machine has its onw printer, all the same, HP Laserjet 4, same driver (the one of Win 98)
The network is used for exchanging files, reading, writing, etc and the communication is very good (In all there are 8 computers, 4 real and 4 virtual)"

Obviously File sharing has been enabled.

If it works the same way as for a network of both XP or 2000 and 98SE computers, in Virtual PC ....
If the local network in 98SE is set up to enable File and Printer sharing ,
then you can install a network printer for all the other printers in he local network the computer is not directly connected to in 98SE in Settings - Printers.
The other computer's printers will have the label (printer model) on (the other computer's name label).
The printer doesn't need to have a wired network port or a wireless networking adapter to be able to be used as a network printer - that merely means it can be used over a network - however, all the computers you want be be able to access the printers on must be running in this case.
For a printer connected via a wired network port or wireless network adapter, only one computer in the network has to be running.

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March 9, 2012 at 14:39:03
Again me, Hebert
In trying to find the printer problem, I went to dos and did the following commands:
echo alt-12 > lpt1:
a few times, it worked ok (paper eject)
then I tried echo alt-12 > prn:
the sytem replied out of paper error
I tried again a few times, same result
I tried a few times echo alt-12 > lpt1:
same result

I deleted the lpt1: port in Parameter/system
and refreshed. Lpt1: was then reinstalled OK

Then, went back to DOS restarted the routine mentioned in (a) above
It worked OK for a few times but the same problem reappeared.

Is it possible that some system file controling the lpt1: port be corrupted and how can I discover that ?


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March 9, 2012 at 20:11:22
You have not provided ANY feedback to what I said in response 6 !

Your problem sounds like it would more likely be cased by an inadequate printer cable, or a poor printer cable connection, or an improper printer port mode than it would be caused by a software problem.

If the printer cables are not identical.....

When you tried printers that work fine with the other computers with the two problem computers, did you try using use the printer cable that worked fine with the other computers ?

Did you have both ends of the printer cable fastened to the ports ? Clamped on the printer end, the screws turned in on the computer end ?

If you're SURE you have a suitable parallel cable and the printer port mode IS set to EPP, ECP, or EPP / ECP mode, on those two computers you're having the printer problems with....

If you have tried any of the printers that work fine with the other computers, with the two computers you're having this problem on, if you still have the same problem with a printer that works fine with the other computers, then probably the only thing that can cause that is is there is something wrong with the printer software installation on those two computers, and you need to un-install the software then install it properly.

I haven't fiddled with any printer in Dos since before 2000.

"Is it possible that some system file controling the lpt1: port be corrupted ..."

Extremely unlikely, it's never happened to me since 1988 (I have used a parallel connected printer continously on one computer since the beginning of 2000) , and even if that were the problem, the chance of the same thing happening on two computers at the same time is almost impossible,
And if it were corrupted it's a lot more likely it would never work than it would intermittenly work.

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