Recently, my parents’ printer ran out of ink. When I starting shopping around for new cartridges, I found out that just going out and buying them a new printer would be cheaper (surprise, surprise). We’re not exactly swimming in cash, so we visited Office Depot and found an Epson Expression Home XP-410 for around $70. It’s a solid little printer with fairly cheap ink cartridges. You can refill the black and all of the colors from a pack that sells for about $50 dollars. More importantly, for my purposes, it fully supports wireless networks and can be installed without cables.
It wasn’t long before my dad started trying to print multiple-page documents off it, and we discovered that the printer was having problems with stopping right in the middle of a print job. What was worse is that there were no warnings or errors given — it just simply stopped printing.
If you’ve got a printer that will stop right in the middle of a page as if it’s finished printing, it can become very frustrating to get anything done. Thankfully, there is a very simple (and quick) fix.
Fixing That Pesky Printer
1. Find your “Devices & Printers” window. On Windows 8, you can usually just type ‘printers’ at your start screen and it will find it for you, under the Settings tile. For Windows 7 and Vista users, you will find this option in the Control Panel.
2. Right click on your printer. In the options menu that pops up, you’re going to want to select “Printer Properties” as shown in the image below.
3. Find the Advanced tab in the top of the window that pops up.
4. You should see some round tick boxes in the middle of the window. Make certain that “Start printing after last page is spooled” is selected and click Save.
You should know be able to print large documents without the printer stopping. You may notice that your printer will take several more seconds to begin a print job than before, especially for larger documents, but this is normal.
Why This Works
It seems that many printers install with the option “Start printing immediately” set by default. This essentially tells the printer to start the moment it starts getting data from the spooler on your computer, and not wait for the rest of the document to show up. It takes a little time for a large, multiple-page document to completely spool, and your computer usually sends a such a document in easy-to-handle smaller chunks.
The problem starts when the printer finishes with the first chunk and looks for the next one, before the spooler actually gets finished with it. If the printer doesn’t have the next chunk of the document to print, it just quits. This can be caused by several things, such as having a slow network, a slow computer, or a slow, cheap printer (ahem). Personally, I noticed that this was particularly a problem when I was printing from computers that were also wireless or had a poor connection.
By telling the printer to only start after the last page is spooled, you are making it wait for the spooler to finish with the entire document — and that’s why it takes several more seconds for a job to actually start.