An HP Deskjet colour printer is attached to an NT server on LPT1 and share on a network. It has been working well for sometimes but now, we can no longer print documents from the server console to that printer. No error message is generated. Other Windows 98 users on the network can print to this printer. Both the server and printer have been rebooted several times. Re-installation of the driver was attempted and an "unrecognised option" error was generated. The printer's uninstall program was run and the printer icon remains in the print folder. What is the most probable solution to this printer problem?-- Max

This sort of problem is the main reason I don't like to have a network printer attached to a server. It's nice when it works but can be a real pain to troubleshoot when it doesn't. As a general rule, I don't suggest trying to share an inkjet printer unless it has a built-in network port. I have run into several situations where the bi-directional communication between the printer and the LPT port just doesn't work well in a network situation. Even with improvements in server hardware over the past several years, putting a printer on LPT1 (or any LPT port for that matter) can slow the server down, based on the IRQ normally associated with the parallel port.

If the clients can print to the printer, that would suggest the path over the network is good. I would verify that you have all the latest Windows updates applied to the server. If you have anti-virus installed on the serve (and you probably do), I would apply these updates with the anti-virus disabled. While this shouldn't be a problem, I have had it bite me more than once.

After applying the updates and rebooting the server one more time, make sure that you have the latest printer drivers from HP. Disable the anti-virus software again, then reinstall the printer driver to see if you get the same result. If you do get the same error, a check of HP's support web site or a call to HP Support may be in order to do a file/registry level removal of the printer driver information.

While doing this, disconnect the printer from the server or you may end up fighting the operating system trying to rediscover and install printer drivers while you are trying to clear up the initial problem. After completing these and potentially doing another reboot of the server, you might be able to successfully reinstall the printer driver.

Look in the event viewer to see if there is any indication of another cause for the problem you are experiencing. I would also look for anything related to the printer spooler. This one is a little bit of a stumper because the workstations are still able to print to the printer but not from the server itself that is directly attached to the printer.

I would also suggest trying an external print server for the printer, rather than using the NT server. This would give you the option of locating the printer nearer the workstations that are using it the most and would let you continue to print to the printer if the server was down or being rebooted.