none
Computer Can't Communicate With Printer

    Question

  • Hi,

    After installing Win 8.1 on two different computers, both have the same printing problem.

    The first problem that appears is "Bidirectional Support" must be enabled...  It was enabled in Win 8 prior to the upgrade...

    It took awhile to figure out how to enable it, as after every attempt to check the box, the check would disappear after closing and reopening the window.

    It turns out that this won't work with the printer connected. After disconnecting the printer the setting will stick, and when the printer is reconnected it stays that way...

    Unfortunately this doesn't resolve the problem... Now I get the error that the computer "Can't Communicate With The Printer"

    Attempts to reinstall the software\drivers have been for the most part useless... Even after removing the printer in Devices and Printers and uninstalling the software\drivers, the Driver installer insists that the drivers are still installed and will only "Update" them, or "Install Another Copy"... neither of which resolves the problem...

    On one occasion, I was able to get a complete install, but only after doing a search through the Registry and Deleting everything that came up concerning the printer... This still didn't resolve the problem.

    On one machine, after doing this, the Print Spooler would hang and run the CPU at 50% indefinitely. After playing around awhile, I found that if I turned off the Print Spooler in "Services" while it was doing this, and then restart it, the file would actually print properly...

    I have checked the settings in Windows Firewall, and everything for the printer is "Allowed". I even turned the Firewall off to no effect...

    This is a Lexmark X5340 USB inkjet printer that works perfectly on the same machines when running Win 7 or Win 8 with all the same connections, software, drivers, and etc....

    Is there something different with Win 8.1 than Win 8 concerning printers?

    Monday, October 28, 2013 2:17 PM

All replies

  • Not much in the spooler has changed regarding the printer when using a Version 3 print driver.  

    Printing is different for Modern applications compared to Desktop applications but that mainly how the data gets from point A - application to point B print sub system.

    In previous OS versions Lexmark has produced a utility to remove their installed components since some of their setup tasks perfrom work without ever calling into the spooler service.  The spooler will never know about these other components thus the need for Lexmark to produce software that performs the component uninstall.


    Alan Morris Windows Printing Team


    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 9:18 PM
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the reply... I'll see if I can find that tool...

    I guess what I am wondering is how this became a problem just by upgrading from Win 8 with a working printer...

    I'm going to try upgrading a different Win 8 Image that doesn't have the printer installed, and see if I can get it to work that way...

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:00 PM
  • I have the exact same problem with my Lexmark Z515 USB printer.

    I didn't find anything on Lexmark's website about such a tool, and they haven't yet updated their information for Win 8.1.

    The printer troubleshooter cannot find any problem. This may be why slance310's reloading the drivers had no effect - they aren't the problem. 

    However, I notice that the printer is not recognized when plugged into any USB port - even though other items are quickly recognized for the same port. Prior to upgrading to Win 8.1, I always got a notice when I connected/unconnected the printer. Looking at the printer Properties, I see the port is listed as:

    Port: USB001
    Description: Virtual printer port for...
    Printer: Lexmark Z500-Z600 Series

    No other information is available, and the port cannot be configured or deleted. Perhaps deleting all references to the printer in the Directory (dangerous business), would force Windows to establish a new port.

    It appears there was something in the Win 8.1 upgrade that changed the port characteristics so the printer and/or Windows printing won't recognize the port any more.

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:25 AM
  • Hi,

    I checked on that tool, and it is only for certain models... It's called something like "Clean Utility" or "Clean Tool", and appears to be model specific.

    I reinstalled an Image of Win 8 that was made before my Lexmark was ever installed... I didn't use it to start with because I will need to reinstall a ton of stuff...

    The Lexmark did install without a problem though... I had to use XP SP3 Compatibility Mode...

    At the moment it doesn't have it's printing indicator or voice prompt, which probably will need some compatibility settings on a number of it's program files... Everything else works though...

    BTW... Bidirectional Printing is already enabled either by default before I installed the printer, or the installation enabled it... Win 8.1 Upgrade Disabled it for some reason....

    My printer is also on USB001 Port... That is where it was in Win 7 also.

    Also... I forgot to mention that this is all from the Desktop.

    • Edited by slance310 Wednesday, October 30, 2013 3:01 AM
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 2:58 AM
  • Hi,

    Just a little update on the printer status... As I mentioned, it installed without a problem on a upgraded Win 8 image on which the printer had never been installed using Vista Compatibility Mode....

    I've not been able to get the Voice Prompts to work, and the ink level\printing progress window doesn't show up, but this condition existed in Win 8 also.

    One unusual thing I found is that if Bi-Directional Support is disabled, the Voice Prompts work ! Unfortunately, it won't print this way. 

    Friday, November 01, 2013 4:25 PM
  • Bi-Directional in spooler context, applies to any print driver that uses a Language Monitor.

    Alan Morris Windows Printing Team

    Friday, November 01, 2013 6:12 PM
  • Hi,

    I wanted to let you know that I've stumbled upon a way to get the Lexmark software\drivers to reinstall on the Win 8 to 8.1 Upgrade...

    It has to do with the Print Spooler interfering with the uninstall\reinstall process. I had read about a recommendation to turn off the Print Spooler before uninstalling the software quite some time ago, and I had tried that, but it didn't work. Here are the tricks to get it to work if it isn't too late for you.

    Note: Bidirectional Support is needed, and for some reason the upgrade process turns it off. This may also be related to the Print Spooler....

    1) Turn on and hook up your printer... This needs to be done just this one time to get it to show up in Devices and Printers.... Otherwise, all I get with my machine is the Lexmark Fax, and as a result, you can't "Remove" the printer.

    2)  Once the printer is visible in Devices and Printers, unhook it..

    3)  "REMOVE" the Lexmark Printer and Lexmark Fax (if you have one) in Devices and Printers.

    4)  Stop the Print Spooler in "Services"

    5)  Uninstall the software\drivers... In the process of doing this, I got a popup Security message from Windows Firewall concerning "Allowing" Printer Communication... I selected "Allow".

    6) At the prompt from the Lexmark uninstaller, Reboot.

    7)  After rebooting, stop the Print Spooler again.

    8)  Reinstall software\drivers... I used both XP SP3 and Vista Compatibility Mode on different attempts, and both worked... Hook the printer back up when prompted by the installer.

    9)  Unhook the printer again and reboot. Bidirectional Support must be Enabled, and the setting won't stick if the printer is hooked up.. You need to reboot to clear things up before the next step.

    10)  Enable Bidirectional Support and Reboot.   To do this, go to Devices and Printers and select "Printer Properties" and then the "PORTS" tab... The check box is near the bottom.

    11) Set any Printer Preferences you use, if any, and it's ready to go.

    I just noticed that when I right click on the Lexmark Preferences, Properties, etc., it is showing two of them for some reason. I don't remember that happening the first time I tried this, but I might have missed it.

    I'll need to investigate that a bit.

    EDIT... It seems the second printer doesn't show up until after Enabling Bidirectional Support...

    I guess that makes a little bit of sense... two printers for two directions.

    Saturday, November 02, 2013 3:43 AM
  • Hi,

    I wanted to let you know that I've stumbled upon a way to get the Lexmark software\drivers to reinstall on the Win 8 to 8.1 Upgrade...

    It has to do with the Print Spooler interfering with the uninstall\reinstall process. I had read about a recommendation to turn off the Print Spooler before uninstalling the software quite some time ago, and I had tried that, but it didn't work. Here are the tricks to get it to work if it isn't too late for you.

    Note: Bidirectional Support is needed, and for some reason the upgrade process turns it off. This may also be related to the Print Spooler....

    1) Turn on and hook up your printer... This needs to be done just this one time to get it to show up in Devices and Printers.... Otherwise, all I get with my machine is the Lexmark Fax, and as a result, you can't "Remove" the printer.

    2)  Once the printer is visible in Devices and Printers, unhook it..

    3)  "REMOVE" the Lexmark Printer and Lexmark Fax (if you have one) in Devices and Printers.

    4)  Stop the Print Spooler in "Services"

    5)  Uninstall the software\drivers... In the process of doing this, I got a popup Security message from Windows Firewall concerning "Allowing" Printer Communication... I selected "Allow".

    6) At the prompt from the Lexmark uninstaller, Reboot.

    7)  After rebooting, stop the Print Spooler again.

    8)  Reinstall software\drivers... I used both XP SP3 and Vista Compatibility Mode on different attempts, and both worked... Hook the printer back up when prompted by the installer.

    9)  Unhook the printer again and reboot. Bidirectional Support must be Enabled, and the setting won't stick if the printer is hooked up.. You need to reboot to clear things up before the next step.

    10)  Enable Bidirectional Support and Reboot.   To do this, go to Devices and Printers and select "Printer Properties" and then the "PORTS" tab... The check box is near the bottom.

    11) Set any Printer Preferences you use, if any, and it's ready to go.

    I just noticed that when I right click on the Lexmark Preferences, Properties, etc., it is showing two of them for some reason. I don't remember that happening the first time I tried this, but I might have missed it.

    I'll need to investigate that a bit.

    EDIT... It seems the second printer doesn't show up until after Enabling Bidirectional Support...

    I guess that makes a little bit of sense... two printers for two directions.


    Thanks for the info.  I found it was necessary to change the print spooler.  You will also need to set another service that is used during printing that provides screen interaction for the print spooler.  Make both of them automatic.
    Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:53 PM
  • Re: Thanks for the info.  I found it was necessary to change the print spooler.  You will also need to set another service that is used during printing that provides screen interaction for the print spooler.  Make both of them automatic.

    Could you give a bit more detail on changing the print spooler?

    Sunday, February 16, 2014 6:14 AM
  • IEEE-1284.4 is the standard governing printers and communications

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1284



    This is not a technically accurate statement. If you'd actually read the article you'd linked to you'd realize that 1284 is an ancient standard and only applies to parallel post communication using either DB25 or centronics connectors. Most printers and most computers these day don't even have parallel port cables or connectors.
    Sunday, February 16, 2014 5:32 PM
  • Hi,

    I'm not real sure what WindowsEightNewbie was refering to, but I'm thinking the meaning is that it was necessary to change the default startup of the Print Spooler to Automatic...

    I'm just guessing here also, that the 2nd reference may be to the "Printer Extensions and Notifications" directly below the Print Spooler...

    Also a bit of an update for Step #5... It seems that I ended up with two printers listed because of the Security Popup... There were two, and I didn't realize it

    When I selected Allow for all on BOTH messages, I ended up with two Lexmark Printers when right clicking for Preferences, Properties, DeFault, etc. 

    The 2nd attempt, I unchecked "SHARED" on the 1st message and left the 2nd as is... Only one Printer this time.

    It has also been beneficial for some to Delete any old drivers for the printer in question, that are found in Administrative Tools... Print Management.. Drivers

    Sunday, February 16, 2014 9:32 PM
  • Vegan Fanatic & Paul Adare,

    Please delete your arguing and take it some place else.

    There are some who are actually trying to find a way to get their printers to work with Windows 8.1. This bantering between the two of you does nothing to help anyone and only makes this thread pretty useless.

    Monday, February 17, 2014 2:33 AM
  • Vegan Fanatic & Paul Adare,

    Please delete your arguing and take it some place else.

    There are some who are actually trying to find a way to get their printers to work with Windows 8.1. This bantering between the two of you does nothing to help anyone and only makes this thread pretty useless.


    You are correct and have my apology.
    Monday, February 17, 2014 2:59 AM