Parallel Dot Matrix Printer

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When experiencing printing issues with a Dot Matrix Printer attached to the parallel port of a workstation or server, check the Parallel Port Mode on the workstation or server.

The BIOS settings in most late model servers and workstations defaults to ECP (Extended Capabilities Port) or EPP (Enhanced Parallel Port) mode for the Parallel Port. Both of these two modes employ DMA transfers to speed up printing. Most Dot Matrix Printers cannot handle these modes of operation. Symptoms may include incorrect positioning of print, dropping blocks of print, printing garbage and not printing at all.

With a Microsoft Windows operating system the Parallel Port Mode can be checked using the Device Manager. With Linux or Unix you will have to check the system's BIOS settings.

The methods of accessing and changing BIOS settings are unique to each brand of computer. It is best to refer to the computer's instruction manual to get details on how to view and change the BIOS settings.

Look for a Parallel Port Mode that does not use DMA. This will usually be the lowest setting. Common names include SPP (Standard Parallel Port), Standard, Normal, Dumb and Bi-Directional.