Here’s a horror story – with a happy outcome.

A new client was having printing problems (XP, Brother Multi-Function printer, USB connection.) The problems all related to page length and lack of form-feed codes on templates – but printing itself was *not* the problem.

I fixed up templates and all was fine – even after a total cold-boot of the computer and the printer. (Too good to be true I’m thinking as I drive home.)

Sure enough by 6:00 pm that night the client was on the phone with printing problems. This time they could print one invoice or cheque, but the 2nd print job resulted in the error “Cannot write to file specified in /Print Options” (LPT1).

At a command prompt we found:

– net use lpt1 \computernameprintername /persistent:yes and the command would complete succesfully.

– DIR > LPT1 would produce a printed page.

– DIR > LPT1 a 2nd time and we would get an error.

– NET USE [Enter] would show lpt1 to be ‘disconnected’

You could go through this in circles over and over with the same result. NET USE would connect, then a print job would cause a disconnect. So, at this point we could reproduce the problem without even running NV.

One point to note: The printer’s LED display was showing the message “Change drum soon” all the time.

I called Brother and a rep suggested that we reset the drum counter and ‘trick’ the printer into not displaying that message. By the time I called the user they had a different suggestin from Brother – install an HP LaserJet driver and use it instead.

In the long run we did this:

– Installed an HP LaserJet IV driver.
– Turned on the shareing for it
– Did net use to redirect lpt1 to the HP’s share name
– Had complete success with no hiccoughs for three weeks now

The rather fuzzy explanation I got from Brother was that the ‘network’ connection to the printer could/would be lost if during a print job the printer returned any kind of error code. In this case he thought that the printer may have been returning an error concering the drum replacement warning. Using a driver that ignored the (Brother specific) warning might get around the problem – and it did.

I don’t know if any of this helps – but there it is.

Bob Halpin