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I am experiencing garbled output or other problems printing

Explanation: The printer is functioning but is producing strange output, garbled characters, vertical lines or other anomalies.

Diagnosis: There are a few common causes of this sort of problem. One is a bad printer driver. Another is a resource conflict on the parallel port. A poor-quality or damaged printer cable can cause this sort of behavior as well.


  • Check the printer driver that is selected within the application or operating system. Make sure it is the correct one for the printer. Consider replacing it with an upgraded driver obtained from the manufacturer's web site.
  • There may be a resource conflict with the parallel port. See the section discussing problems with the parallel port for some ideas.
  • Your printer cable may be bad. Check particularly for loose connectors or frayed wire near where the connectors attach to the cable. Also, some newer printers require the use of higher-grade cables; the old $5 job may have worked on your dot matrix but may not support the newer printers, especially those that use bidirectional communication from the printer to the PC.
  • Some printers may require the use of IEEE-1284-certified printer cables. Consult your documentation.
  • Try changing the parallel port mode. ECP mode may cause problems with some printers. You may also need to make sure that EPP mode is enabled for some printers that use bidirectional communication with their printer drivers.

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