Get DOS applications to print in a timely manner

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A SearchWin2000.com member recently asked this question in the forums:
"I have a problem with printing from DOS applications in Windows 2000. For some reason, my dedicated printer will spool for 15 seconds before printing or will begin to print, stop, wait 15 seconds and then continue to print. How can I eliminate the 15-second wait? This problem occurs on standalone computers and networked."


I think the solution might be found in the VDM (Virtual DOS Machine) subsystem settings for printing. If the DOS application is 16-bit and not a Win32 console application, these setting affect printing.

Registry Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW

Value name: LPT_timeout

Type: REG_SZ

Data (default): 15

This tells you the number of seconds the spooler will wait after the last bit of data is streamed before sending the data to the printer. Try lowering the value to something like 5. I've had badly behaving DOS apps (CPU hogs) that needed this value set to 3 to get the data sent to the printer in a timely manner. This setting also affects DOS printing to a captured network printer (net use lpt1, etc.).

This was first published in April 2004

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