I am trying to diagnose an extremely strange problem.

We have an HP Color Laserjet CP1515n network printer.

We need to connect to it from 3 computers; 2 of the computers run XP, 1 runs Win7.

The Win7 computer can connect to the printer over the network and prints with no errors.

The XP machines cannot connect over the network. Instead, we have one connected directly via usb, and that machine shares the printer using the native XP facility for doing so. The 2nd XP machine connects to the printer via the share of the 1st XP machine.

Both XP machines can print images in color (e.g. from paint or irfanview).

However, office documents from Word or OpenOffice with colored text, borders etc. print in grayscale. Sometimes, embedded images in office documents print in color, but colored text always print in grayscale.

I have hunted through all the settings in Word and can't find any setting that would explain this. This behavior occurs in both Word and OpenOffice, and on both machines, so it seems that it's something to do with the printer driver rather than the office software.

When clicking printer options in the print dialogue from within Word, no settings regarding color, grayscale etc. appear under any of the tabs.

I've tried updating the print drivers to the latest versions many times, removing and readding the printers, and nothing seems to work.

Before a recent reformat, both XP machines could print color documents using the same sharing system with no problems.

I am at a complete loss as to how to explain and correct this behavior.

2 Answers 2


This is usually a driver issue. The printer should offer PCL5e, PCL6, and Postscript drivers. Usually the Postscript driver is most successful when the problem is color printing of images vs B/W text.

There are no settings in Word to control this. The settings in question are for the printer -- i.e. in the Printers folder (in XP) right-click & choose properties for that printer, then configuration, and set the printer to default to B/W only or color, whichever you prefer. You can always change that setting for a single print job by clicking on "Properties" when you go to print from Word or any other program.

But as for it not following the settings for Color vs B/W, that is indeed a driver issue. Try all drivers from http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareCategory?os=228&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&sw_lang=&product=3422468#N187 -- you will see all 3 for XP.

For the windows 7 system, you may also want to download/install .NET 4.0, which sometimes helps the system with display & use of advanced printer features.

As for not being able to connect on the network from the XP systems, you haven't provided enough information on how you tried to connect and how it failed, but it certainly can be done. It may not find it automatically, and probably this should be a completely separate question with far more details.

  • Thanks for your response, I will try the postscript driver. Oct 1, 2013 at 10:28

I think you're key piece of information was "before a reformat, both XP machines could print color documents". Since this is the only thing that has changed I am suspicious that it's the problem.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you exactly where to find the settings to print in color again, I suspect it would be something in the printer properties. If you truly can't see anything in the settings then lets do some more troubleshooting!

To further troubleshoot I would remove as many unnecessary variables as possible, take the Windows 7 computer out of the equation, try connecting it to the 2nd XP machine and see if the problem persists, see what driver the Windows 7 machine is using and see if you can install it on the XP machine.

Also, if you have another printer, see if you can print in color from the XP machine to the second printer, that would help us figure out if the problem is originating from the printer or the computer.

  • Thanks for your reply! I will try narrowing down the problem space as you suggest. Connecting to the 2nd XP machine is a very good suggestion Sep 30, 2013 at 14:10

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