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If there are any computer-literate readers out there, help! I bought a new PC over the weekend.

I appear to have this problem (although I'm using Word 2003 in Win7-64). As per the linked page, if I switch to Winword Safe Mode, the problem goes away.

The page linked suggests I have a print driver problem. However, the printer is installed on the missus's PC and I share it (it's a share rather than a network printer). Isn't the print driver on her machine then?

I'm confused...

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Reader Comments (90)

just try installinng the printer drivers on your new machine.

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

If you're printing across a network (or even sharing a printer) the program that originates the print request needs to have something to send the request from/to.
I'm surprised that you weren't asked to install the print driver the first time you tried to send a file.

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

You wouldn't be confused if you had just bought a Mac in the first place ;)

There, hope that helped! :)



Aug 29, 2011 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I feel I should institute an immediate ban on the relative merits of PCs and Macs.

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Andrew. The printer driver comes in two parts. One part works with the application on your machine to e.g. sort out the size of paper, the other bit sits on the machine to which the printer is attached as physically sends the data to the printer in a format it will understand.

I presume you are using a network to link machines.

Just to give you an idea, what I would do is totally uninstall the printer application. Restart the machine, then reinstall the printer application as per the best instructions you can find. Then I'd try to check for updates.

If that doesn't work, I'd then try installing open office instead of microsoft (unless you use a lot of presentation stuff)

The other things to check are:

1. Do a disk cleanup and check how much space you have
2. Do a defrag
3. Start task manager and check what is consuming all the CPU time (and look for anything suspicious)
4. Clean up any temporary files.
5. Do a full virus check, then temporarily disable any virus software (notorious for slowing down computers) to see whether this is the problem.

Hope this helps.

But ... if in doubt ... blame micro$oft, they are usually the culprit ... it is even rumoured they intentionally cause their operating systems to slow down over time so that it appears that the new operating system has miraculously made your machine go faster!

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Win7 is a not friendly with older drivers. With my new Win7 desktop, I cannot use a perfectly good HP laser printer that I bought in 2005 because HP refuses to update the driver.

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterbob

Andrew, as I desperately looked to find the printer driver I suddenly realised that you won't have the printer driver listed in the system devices until you connect the printer to your machine.

So ... another approach is to connect the printer to your machine, install the software as per instructions. ... and hope that this process overwrites the problem.

Aug 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Yes. Down with Microsoft, Up the rebels. Congratulations on the new, improved technological wonder. (I have Windows 7 on my new PC, too.)

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

"Win7 is a not friendly with older drivers."

Mico$oft is not friendly to older drivers. E.g. the only way I can run my scanner is to start up linux and run it from there.

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler


It may help to logon to the printer manufacturer's web site and down load an updated driver. The download page usually contains instructions for how to install the driver.

You might also begin by simply deleting the printer from your system and reinstalling it. When you click on "add a printer" it will take you through a scripted process - select "add a networked printer".

On the next screen, the "specify a printer" screen, there may be three options: click the middle one or whichever option allows you to browse for the printer you want. DO NOT FILL IN THE NAME. Leave it blank, then you can browse.

If the next screen does not display the printer, hit the back button and type in the name of your wif'e's computer (that is, the network name, not the manufacturer) but NOT the printer. The next screen should display the printer attached to that machine.

You may be given a choice of drivers - go down the list. Reinstall until you find a driver that does what you want. If you run out of options, then check the manufacturers web site, or do a web search for "printer model driver".

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

What kind of printer is it and what OS is on the machine where it is shared ?

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Both Win7-64bit. The machine is an Epson AL C1100.

I can't find the driver on the Epson website.

I've tried Mike's idea of connecting the printer to my PC and having it download the driver for me. It appeared to do this, but it hasn't fixed the problem.

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It may not be the printer that is causing the problem. The /a safemode option disables *all* add-ins, not just the printer options, so it could be any one of a number of installed add-ins which is causing the issue.

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Oooops! posted this in the wrong thread.

The C1100 driver is avalable on the Epson support site here:

Aug 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

Thanks Robert.

It throws up an error message on installation, saying the printer is not installed. It says the printer is a C1100 Advanced. I think there may be a mismatch between what it's called on the missus's PC and on mine. When we got her PC, I was still on XP, and there were compatibility problems then, which involved filddling with printer names in the driver file.

I think the answer may be to uninstall on her PC and then reinstall.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Simon H

How do I find if it's the printer or not? This is a new PC. The only thing I can think I've done to it is to install the word 2010 file converter.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Also if I don't have a printer installed at all, I still get the problem.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Have you tried the following..?
Swearing at it.
Hitting it or shaking it violently.
Setting fire to it.
These measures don't always work in my experience - but they do make you feel a whole lot better.....

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Bob (above) has it right. Drivers for Win7 need to be up to date. Normally, during update of the win system to 7 it automatically searches the web for the new drivers but sometimes the manufacturers site is not helpful enough.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Have you thought about downloading Libre Office (which can handle .DOC files although they are not its native format) and starting the long good bye with Microsoft?

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey

Bish, I've only skim-read it, but this page is informative and should walk you all the way to a solution:

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Yes, but I worry about incompatibility with client files.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Buy another printer Bish.

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan


Aug 29, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

Bish, just thought.. Office 2003 by now has a LOT of Office updates over the default install. You HAVE run Microsoft Office Update, haven't you?

Aug 29, 2011 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson


Yes, I have.

Aug 29, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The problem is likely 64 bit Win7, I long ago gave up trying to make older hardware and drivers work on Win7 64 instead simply reverting to Win7 32 and my computing life has been simplified immensely and is stable.

If you don't have specific 64 bit drivers nothing will work. Been there done that.

I can show you how to downgrade to Win7 32 32 bits if you like, simply email me. Cost is NADA I found a MS workaround.

Aug 29, 2011 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

Bish, I was sure you would have.. but had to ask! :o)

The Epson AL C1100 is Win7 compatible, out of the box, with no drivers required. Your problem lies elsewhere.

EpsonNet Config is configuration software for administrators to configure the network interface of EPSON printers. Windows users can configure the network interface for TCP/IP, NetWare, MS Network, AppleTalk, IPP, and SNMP. Macintosh users can configure the network interface for TCP/IP, AppleTalk, and IPP.

Aug 29, 2011 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I think Antony Watts may be right. I'm not sure how many existing peripherals are happy with 64-bit and certainly several of the retailers I spoke to when I did my last upgrade (and I mean computer retailers, not crinkly sheds) were very wary of W7-64.

Aug 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Buy a Mac next time


Aug 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJStrata

As a temporary work-round, maybe you could 'print' to a *pdf, then e-mail/ thumb-drive that pdf file to a working pc+printer combination?

Aug 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Bishop, step back a bit - as you say, how do you know it is a driver problem? And if the eHow solution you referenced didn't work its reasonable to assume that is not the problem either. OS's are like any other machine you have to get to the problem via elimination. Are other programs misbehaving (try and see).
Make sure everything is up to date on your machine, especially the basic windows system and your anti-virus package, do a full defragmentation, do a full anti-virus boot scan and if that doesn't work uninstall and reinstall.
The usual reasons for slow behaviour are 1.) a virus 2.) Corrupted or badly installed software - which means uninstallation and re installation, 3.) fragmentation 4.) lack of disk space - windows needs at least twice the disk space it itself occupies 4.) lack of ram or cpu power (doubtful in your case if its a brand new computer). Above all, don't panic, there's always a solution!

Aug 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

Of course, there is always libre office or open office!

Aug 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

Guessing and this might be counter intuitive.

When you install a competent printer driver, under advanced or somesuch it asks if you want to install other drivers, or some other wording.

That is for network/share. A remote system will as part of housekeeping explore the network and see a valid printer. It will be available on the remote system. If you try and use it the correct driver will be passed over the network and installed. And it prints. (works remote via vpn too)

A problem can be a share from an older system where the printer driver does not know about the newbie.

Uninstall the printer on the missus' machine. Then install the printer driver again with other OS drivers but this will need a very new driver version to work with 7.

Aug 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Channon

My approach would be to reformat the disk, then install windows XP SP3.

Three hours later, with everything working, I'd start planning an escape from the domain of the Evil Empire.

Aug 29, 2011 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

There is lots of stuff on Google -- including this suggestion...

And this

Most indications are that it is an add-in that was installed while you set up the system. Most indicate a registry foul up or similar.

If you are running Norton check for an update at the web site. (There is usually a check for updates feature on the main screen. -- as opposed to live update.)

Also available from Norton is a registry scanner in the Tools suite -- try it oe whatever you are comfortable with.

Other indications are that you are running SAMBA -- peer to peer networking files sharing -- since you are sharing the printer -- that is obvious I think. Maybe a drive link is no longer correct.


Aug 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillR

I'm surprised that Bob Ward hasn't offered any advice.
I'm sure he must know how to fix it.

Aug 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Carter

Andrew, have you thought of trying a 64 bit version of Word 2010 with your new computer?

I know it can add to the cost of upgrading your technology, but sometimes
if you're making a significant change in your base hardware technology - which an
upgrade to 64bit Win7 is - it helps to make a clean sweep and get the most up-to-date software available, even if you've been religiously updating your 2003 versions
since you first got them.

Hope this helps

Aug 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Plug the printer and your new computer into your router via a cat5 (patch) cable and it should appear on your network, select as default printer and print a test page.
Your printer doesn't need any drivers, once you've printed a test page configure your applications for a network printer.

Aug 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commentersparks

What's the current state of play? Given that the printer is a network printer, no drivers should be necessary, as sparks says above.

The only thing I can think I've done to it is to install the word 2010 file converter.

I'd start by rolling back this, to see if it is the cause. If it is, then we can move on from over-dramatically trying to fix an entire OS and/or Office suite to fixing a comparatively minor add-in.

Aug 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

And here is a perfect illustration of what is meant by the term "total cost of ownership" (TCO) when applied to computers.


P.S. Sorry, Your Eminence: this Mac fanboi can't help you.

Aug 29, 2011 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDevil's Kitchen


I have to use Windows, because all our client files come in Word format.

Aug 29, 2011 at 6:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


For the avoidance of doubt, it's a shared printer not a network printer.

Aug 29, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Can you describe the way the computer(s) link to the printer?
You say the only change you've made is to install the Word 2010 file converter. Was the link working properly before you installed that? If so, then Simon's advice should solve the problem.
If not then it's probably a driver or OS compatibility problem but it could just possibly be something to do with way you've got them wired up

Aug 29, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

This should help if it's a work-group problem,
Your two computer work-groups could be set to different names, this is a step by step guide for setting up a work-group between xp and windows7 it covers all the basics to a share the printer.

Aug 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commentersparks


"I cannot use a perfectly good HP laser printer that I bought in 2005 because HP refuses to update the driver."

Most HP laser printers use a protocol called PCL5e. Just select any printer from the list in Windows that has PCL5 or PCL5e next to the name and the odds are you will be able to print fine. That doesn't just work for HP's either; I have a 9y old Lexmark that is also uses PCL5e. I told my computers it was an HP LaserJet 4 PCL5 and it worked fine.

Aug 29, 2011 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

My money's on Anthony Watts. 64-bit W7 could well be the problem. It's rather a lot of OS for what I assume is a home office. May I ask why you didn't opt for standard 32-bit W7?

Aug 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I feel I should institute an immediate ban on the relative merits of PCs and Macs.

I think I'll ignore that directive. I had a pleasant experience the other day in my office. We bought a new printer and plugged it in to the leccy. On my brand new Lion install on my MacBook Pro I printed a file. The print dialog found the new printer, selected it because it said it was the nearest one to me (which it is) without any prompting, so I pressed 'Print' to print to it. As this printer was newer than any drivers installed with Lion, the cheeky little Mac only goes and gets the appropriate printer driver from the net and installs it without intervention. A short while later a lovely printout is in my hands. That's what a proper operating system should do.

I have to use Windows, because all our client files come in Word format.

My windows colleagues also produce junk in word format. The copy of Microsoft office on my Mac can read these files and use them, even if they are still in .doc format and not the xml type the newest Word uses. There is Word on the Mac you know.

And here is a perfect illustration of what is meant by the term "total cost of ownership" (TCO) when applied to computers.

Yes indeedy.

Captain Fatty

[BH adds - some of our subcontractors use Word for Mac, but we have had files come back completely unreadable so we discourage it.]

Aug 29, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Fatty

64 Bit Windows, in my experience, doesn't work with all printers. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. At work, they appear to be buying 64 bit laptops for "no good reason" and problems then start with existing printers. While 64-bit is the way of the future, the future is a bit too far for some printer drivers and their manufacturers. Sorry.

(While you don't want to hear that you don't need Windows to be compatible with your Windows clients ... no, I won't say it).

Aug 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Your Grace.

How about reverting to caligraphy?

We'll all have to use it when the lights go out...

Aug 29, 2011 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

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