I have a XP pro, SP2 system that is offline (as in TCP over sneakernet) and essentially un-patched. The printer (HP LaserJet 5p) works fine sometimes but as soon as anything goes "wrong", like I get more than one item in the print queue, I (often as not) end up having to manually clean the print queue and reboot.

The general mode of failure is that once things go bad the printer seems to lock up. The computer seems to be fine but trying to delete a print job just doesn't work, the job never disappears. Some times I can get result by power cycling the printer, restarting the spooler and manually clearing the print queue directory. Sometime it seems to be in an invalid state where the printer spews over-sized text or gibberish.

Because I'm offline, I can't simply run Windows update and so are there any specific updates out that address issue in the print spooler service that might help?

(If you can remember an update it's a good bet it's not on this computer)


Why is it that anything involving visual output drivers under windows sucks? Video drives crash more systems thatn anything else I've seen and printers never seem to work correctly.

Oh and any software I've used from HP sucked, even the drivers on there current offerings. (400MB for a minimum install!? No option to not install there image editing program that I'll never even touch!?)



There are always bugs with the print spooler and drivers. If there's a general spooler error, I'd suggest that you try applying Windows XP SP3. The printer is like 15 years old at this point, so the drivers are going to be as stable as they can be.

I actually have users who are having similar issues with similar vintage printers and remote print queues. One workaround that seems to help is to use generic PCL drivers included with Windows. (I believe PCL 5 in the case of the LJ 5P) You may lose some features like putting multiple pages on one sheet or duplexing. (Which I doubt the 5P has anyway!)

Another possibility is that you have bad hardware or caked on dust that is overheating the boards in the printer. Unless you're convinced that its a software issue, also consider replacing the printer -- you can get a Brother printer with similar specs for ~$40.

  • I updated the answer. Sorry I don't have more. May 11 '09 at 3:27
  • I'm about as sure as I can be that it is software based on it not being somewhat predictable, It handles a single big print job just fine, but 2 small ones and away she goes. Full power down of the printer for a few minutes doesn't fix it but a quick reset (of everything) does. As to the generic driver thing,.. I'm not sure that's not what I'm using :o)
    – BCS
    May 11 '09 at 4:23

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