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There are a lot of different things that can impact the printing process, everything from large graphics to disk overload.
Printing takes a long time to start. I'm using a Dell Dimension 3000, Windows XP, SP3, Firefox 15.1. From click to printing, it can take from eight to 14 minutes. Help!
In this excerpt from Answercast #55, I look at a number of reasons why print jobs may be slow.
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer for me to give you, because this kind of symptom can be caused by many, many different things.
So, we'll start with what it is you're printing. If what it is you're printing is very (I'll just say) "dense." For example, if it was
A full page, a full color picture of something
Then you know... it could just take that long because that takes a tremendous amount of data to represent. That means there's a tremendous amount of data that gets transmitted from your computer to the printer in order to render that image.
Now, along those same lines, if your computer is busy at the time you're printing (in other words, there are programs that are running, maybe especially if the disk is being accessed heavily), it may be slow.
What the printing process usually involves is:
The program you are printing from doesn't actually connect directly to the printer. It connects to what's called the "local spooler service."
So, all of the data that would be sent to the printer is first written to your hard disk. Then the spooler takes care of sending that information on from your hard disk directly to the printer when it's its turn.
It's how the spooler manages the possibility that several applications could be printing at the same time. Rather than trying to get that mess all printed at once, it makes sure that things get printed one after the other.
One program's print job happens after another, and so forth. But the bottom line is that all of the data that's created by your program attempting to print something is first written to the disk. If the disk is very busy, well, that can slow that process of writing to the disk.
In fact, it could also slow the process of subsequently reading from the disk as the spooler sends things to the printer.
Finally, it is also possible that things like the connection (I don't know what kind of connection type you are using to the printer), but the connection itself could be having some kind of difficulties.
If you're on a network connection (in other words, if this is a network printer) and your network is having problems, that can slow things down. If the network is saturated (and by that, I mean a lot of programs are transmitting a lot of data on the network), everything can be impacted. That includes the transmitting of the data from the spooler to the printer.
There are a lot of different things that can impact the printing process.
Finally, I'll throw it out there because it is one of those things... it's not obvious, but it can have an impact. That's to make sure you are using the correct and latest drivers for your specific printer and that they're installed and working properly.
Sometimes, printer drivers will kind of, sort of work... one of the symptoms may be that they're just being super slow.
Typically, if things are printing eventually, it usually turns out to be something like:
Something slowing it down along the way
The disk being too busy
Or there simply being large, large quantities of data to be transmitted as part of the process.
But the printer driver is always something worth checking when you're
running into printer problems as well.
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