No Time to Wait: How to Fix Slow Printing

Elie Vigile

slow printing

Printers do more than print stuff — they have a direct effect on the productivity of the employee. But, what happens if the printer in the office is on the slow side?

If working as it should, a printer can boost employee productivity. The opposite is also true; if it’s slow, your employee’s productivity will take a dip.

Slow printing issues can waste the whole office’s time and frustrate your people. Instead of doing business, your employees will have to find solutions to the issue.

It’s time to put an end to that; keep on reading to find out how you can fix slow printing.

1. Find the Cause of the Problem

The first step in fixing your slow printer is identifying the cause. Too many times, we blame the printer, but it isn’t always a hardware issue. It may be a software or network issue, as well.

Check out the most common causes of slow printing below.

Print Server Overload

Printer networks form the server; it’s a single point that processes all the print requests. All printers in a network send the print jobs to the server, which might cause a bottleneck scenario.

Plus, if there is even one inefficiency in the process, it affects the whole network. The print requests can pile up as the server works out that one inefficiency. It can lead to more issues that can further slow the printing down.

Network Traffic from Remote Offices

Each time someone prints, the file gets sent to the server over WAN and back. If users from different offices print at the same time, it can cause heavy network traffic. In turn, it causes slow printing for all the offices.

This is because companies with multiple offices sometimes have a central print server where all printers in all offices network to. This is a form of cost-cutting that leads to inefficient network printing jobs.

High-Resolution Images

Prints with high-res images contain a lot of data for the computer and printer to process. It can be the reason why your printer is slowing down.

Damaged Cables

Network cables are prone to damages even by small power surges. This can result in slower processing, hence, slower printing.

Outdated Printer Drivers

Sometimes, the cause of sluggish printing is an outdated driver. The software of the printer won’t work normally because it doesn’t have the updated drivers to work with.

Too Many Open Apps

Your computer also has to process the print job, so the printer isn’t always the only one at fault. If your printing is slowing down, your computer may have too many open applications it’s processing alongside the print request.

2. Consult the IT Department

For network issues, you may not have the capabilities to fix it yourself. Raise the issue to the IT team first, so they can see whether it’s indeed an issue with the network or print server.

If it is, they may be able to provide a fix. As we’ve explained above, however, many companies cut costs by using a central server.

If this is the issue, the IT department won’t be able to do much without overhauling the networks.

3. Fix Some Things on Your Computer

Try to see if adjusting some things on your computer first can help the issue. Here are some solutions that might help.

Check the Latest Software Update

In many cases, your computer downloads the update to the drivers on automatic. At the least, it informs you that an update is available for download.

To make sure you didn’t miss it, you can visit the manufacturer’s website. See if they have updated the drivers of your printer.

Make sure you get one that’s specific for your printer model. The model code is usually at the front of the printer for easy reference.

You can also open the app of the printer on your computer. It should tell you whether it’s downloaded a recent software update or if there’s one available.

Close the Other Apps on Your Computer

Try to help your computer by reducing the processes it has to do. Before you send a print job, close the apps you’re not using. Even the tabs on your browser can slow down your computer, so close them, too.

Choose Images with Lower Resolution

If the images aren’t that important, you can lower the resolution so your computer and printer don’t have as much data to process. You can instead select draft, standard, or normal mode in the settings to speed things up a little. If you need gallery-quality prints, then switch it back to high-quality.

4. Spool the Print Files

The word spooling refers to a process that organizes data before passing it onto a device. In printing, the spooler organizes the print jobs before sending them to the printer for the actual printing. It’s where the documents line up so that the printer doesn’t have to handle the data.

Spooling can be a solution because printing takes much slower when the files come directly from a program. This is because the program sends the print job to the printer and builds it at the same time. Doing two tasks simultaneously makes processing slower.

By spooling the documents, the program dumps the print job into the spooler. This only takes a few seconds. After which, the computer considers it done and frees up some memory.

How to Spool Print Jobs

In Windows, you can follow the instructions below to make sure your print jobs are spooling. First, go to the system settings and click the printer icon.

Select “Properties” and navigate to the “Advanced” tab. You’ll find the option to print faster among the available selections.

This ensures that small printing jobs don’t get stuck behind large ones, which take much longer to spool. The print jobs that have finished spooling can jump ahead of the ones that are still spooling.

Spooling also prevents splitting, which happens when the printer prints one or more pages of the first print job, then prints the first page(s) of the second one, then goes back to the first job, and so on. The computer program sends each page to printer one by one; spooling the print jobs as one prevents this.

In the case of a printer pool, you might even find yourself looking for the different parts of your document in different printers.

5. Look for Hardware Solutions

If the software is fine, then the problem might be the hardware. Here are some tips that might fix slow printing issues.

Check the Cables

See if there’s any damage to the network cables. You may have to replace them to speed up processes, including printing.

Your printer may be struggling with an old cable, too. Get rid of it and order a new one; it might help get your printer back to normal speed.

Get a Dedicated Hard Drive

Sometimes, having a dedicated hard drive for spooling will help, especially if your printer network gets a lot of use. If possible, use a solid-state drive (SSD), which is faster than traditional hard drives.

Upgrade Your RAM

If printing isn’t the only thing that’s slow on your computer, it may be time to give it more memory. This gives your computer more processing power for print jobs and other tasks. You may even upgrade your processor for heavier lifting.

6. Call a Printer Technician

Do this after making sure with the IT that the network isn’t the problem. It will save your company time and money. You’ll get your printer fixed faster, too, as you don’t have to wait for hours for the printer technician to arrive.

If a service call is the last option for you, though, then it’s worth a try. The technician might find a cause unknown to you and fix it accordingly.

7. Move to a Distributed Server Model

Like we said above, many companies rely on a centralized print server. This can be the root cause of all your problems.

A distributed server model is superior in this regard. It localizes network traffic and helps cut out printing challenges. Eliminating print servers can be the key to persisting issues.

Most of the solutions above are for short-term. Changing the model is a long-term solution to your woes that will also help remote offices.

However, a network overhaul is expensive. It’s something that your company may not be willing to consider.

Raise the problem each time it occurs to the IT department or whoever’s in charge. That way, they’ll have a record of the issues that a distributed server model may fix.

Fix Your Slow Printing Issues and More

There’s only so much you can do to solve slow printing issues until you can’t do anything other than fix or reform the network. While this is an expensive solution, it will help boost employee productivity.

Of course, slow printing is only one issue you can encounter. The good news is you don’t have to look high and low for further assistance when it comes to using your printers. Contact us today and let’s see how we can improve your network.

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