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Having some difficulty with a Windows XP computer that only prints garbage, no matter which program is used - even the test page comes out as garbage. I've tried testing it using the XPS Document Writer, but the resulting files are also corrupted. If I print to the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer, the resulting TIFF files are fine.

I'd rather not have to completely re-image the machine, but that's the only option I've got left.

Any ideas?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The Lexmark E260dn supports both PCL and Postscript. If you are using a PCL driver, try switching to the PS driver - or vice versa.

Since it supports PCL5 and Postscript you can hand edit very simple PCL5 and Postscript test pages and use Windows "lpr" command to send them without passing through Window print drivers. This can help narrow down the source of the problem.

Postscript test:

/Helvetica 24 selectfont
100 500 moveto
(Testing 1 2 3) show

PCL5 test:

^[E^[&k2G^[&l6D^[&l0OLine 1 ..1....v....2....v....3....v....4....v....5....v....6....v....7....v....8....v....9....v....0....v....1....v....2....v....3....v....4....v....5
Line 2

(where ^[ is the escape character (hex 1b decimal 27))

Remote diagnosis of printing problems is hard. Get a cooperative person at the site to use the printer's control panel to print a test page and to print out the settings. They can then use an old-fashioned fax machine to send them to you.

The n in E260dn implies network-connected. Can other PCs print to the printer? If you are using VNC, you will be able to telnet to the printer and get it to show configuration settings.

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Thanks - I'll check that. No other computers are having difficulty printing to the printer, but as I mentioned, the corruption problem is affecting other printers on the same machine, so it appears that the problem is with the computer, not the printer. Also I have VPN access to the printer itself, and can check its settings through it's internal web page. – Billious Apr 15 '11 at 1:11
OK, figured it out. Your answer reminded me that this printer has PostScript and PCL modes. It had been running in PCL mode so I switched it to PostScript and it worked fine. The XPS Document Printer still doesn't work, but that doesn't matter. The other clue was the fact that PDF Creator worked, indicating that PostScript was working. Thanks! – Billious Apr 15 '11 at 1:27

What type of printer are you using? You need to obtain the drivers (either from the installation CD or from the vendor's web site) and use them to print. The "XPS Document Writer" and "Microsoft Office Document Image Writer" are not the correct drivers to use for actual printers as they are software print drivers (possibly in an attempt to compete with products like PDF Creator which generate a PDF file in place of actual hardware that generates a hardcopy form of whatever you're printing).

  PDF Creator

If you're using an HP printer, you can obtain drivers from here:

  HP Support and Drivers

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Hi Randolf, the initial problem was that the users couldn't get any good output from the physical printer, which is a Lexmark E260dn and has all the correct drivers installed. I'm trying to fix the problem remotely via VNC (the computer in question is in another state), so it wasn't practical to keep triggering a mass of wasted paper on the physical printer. My first thought was to check whether the corruption problem was affecting all print output, or just the physical printer, so I tried using the XPS Document Writer. – Billious Apr 14 '11 at 2:01
I'm not using this as a driver for the Lexmark, but as a printer in its own right. Since the corrupted output is affecting all installed printers (the Lexmark and the XPS Document Writer), I'm assuming now that there is a problem with the print spooler. I had already considered installing PDF Creator, but haven't done so yet. – Billious Apr 14 '11 at 2:01
@Billious: Oh, I see, it's the stage before getting to the print driver that you are concerned about. Yes, definitely using PDF Creator will make it really easy to determine if that may be the problem since if your suspicion is correct then the resulting PDF will also be filled with corrupted output. Please post an update here once you find that answer to that so that folks can help you determine where to look next. – Randolf Richardson Apr 14 '11 at 2:26
OK, have installed PDF Creator, and surprisingly it works OK. Obviously it works differently to the XPS Document Writer when rendering the text. – Billious Apr 14 '11 at 4:38
@Billious: So, this confirms that the Windows printing system that passes information along to each print driver is functioning correctly. Now I'm suspecting problems with the actual print drivers themselves (de-installing then re-installing them is probably one of the easiest things you can do). – Randolf Richardson Apr 14 '11 at 21:56

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