SCOUG OS/2 For You - February 1999
One area few of us think about is the interaction between the video drivers and print drivers under OS/2. I make no pretense of understanding. But I do know that sometimes an out of memory error while trying to print your favorite color image has 'something' to do with the amount of video memory, not your print spooler or RAM. I too have been bitten, even with a 4 Mb Matrox Millennium card and 128 Mb system RAM.
Your first line of defense is to get the latest drivers from the manufacturer's web site, keeping the old ones just in case. Matrox is pretty good this way, ATI OK, and Diamond not friendly at all. The next area to try is to decrease the color depth and/or screen resolution, going from true color down to 65,536 or even 256 colors if needed. Try each setting, with color depth changes first, and see. Also sometimes you need to back off the driver from the latest greatest 1280 x 1024 resolution down to 1024x768 or even 800x 600. If all else fails, try your driver at 640x480x256 VGA -- not the default VGA, and see if it makes a difference.
The other major issue that seems to crop up is that over time we add and change printer drivers, and somehow something somewhere gets messed up with the associations or over writing pieces of a driver -- with symptoms like colors don't work right, images get inverted, or gibberish starts printing out. Hey folks, you may think this is science, but I'm here to urge you that it's really magic.
When you get a real, persistent problem, especially if it affects more than one printer, go back to scratch. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the printer object - to discover that two printers have become associated (both grayed). I usually make sure that I have the latest drivers from the manufacturers sites, and then delete every print driver from the system, and reboot -- twice if needed. Then and only then (and I'll check the subdirectories on the hard drive to make sure that the stuff is all really gone), add back in the driver for the printer that you use the most. It's also handy to keep copies of older drivers for your printer on a floppy or in a subdirectory somewhere just in case that latest greatest driver turns out to have nasty side effects, or just doesn't work as well on your system as the original driver.
Often problems arise when upgrading print drivers, or adding a printer in the same printer 'family' to your system, like adding an Epson 800 driver when you already have an Epson Photo in your system. Check the readme, because often there will be instructions there insisting that you (a) delete the old driver, then (b) reboot and change to a null (or different printer) driver as default, and finally (c) install the new driver. Failure to exactly follow these instructions can often result in very unpredictable results.
Other tweaks that may work depending on your system are to add the "/irq" to your print driver in the CONFIG.SYS file if the printer doesn't print until you exit a program or printing is intermittent. You might also want to look at increasing the size of the spooler, and/or using the slider tab under print job properties to increase the priority of the print spooler.
Also, sometimes programs like the Lotus SmartSuite try to 'help you' by installing their own printer drivers over the default drivers without letting you know that they are doing this. If you install a new software program and suddenly have print problems, check the printer file dates to see.
Another cure reported by Ron Boschelli has to do with running multiple programs (probably minimized so that you forget exactly all that is running), where one of the programs sucks memory resources. This happens more than you would think when running Win-OS2 programs (particularly commun-ications programs) at the same time as OS/2 native apps.
Anyone else out there who has their favorite set of tweeks or fixes for printer problems, please let me know and I'll share them with all. Email to Tony@SCOUG.com
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.
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