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Installation and Troubleshooting Printers with Legacy RDPDOS

Last Modified 6/20/2005 - Article ID#  K000048

Topics covered in this document

Almost all printers work with RDPWin, our Windows based system.  RDP supports both local and Windows shared printers.  A  local printer is defined as a printer connected directly to an LPT or USB port on a workstation.  A Windows shared printer can be connected directly to the network hub or to an LPT port on a workstation.

All reports are designed to print on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.  Laser printers are recommended for all locations because of their speed and high-quality output.  Plain paper can be used for folios, registration cards, and statements to groups, travel agents, owners, and other entities.   However, many customers prefer the higher quality look of preprinted forms.  RDP has a wide selection of forms that can be ordered through our forms division, RDP Paper at 800/RDP-PAPR.  (1-800-737-7277). 

Customers still using our legacy DOS system should be aware that not all printers will print with DOS.  This document describes installation and troubleshooting legacy RDPDOS printers. 

Overview of Printing with Legacy RDP-DOS System (5/1/2002)

The following only applies to our Legacy DOS system, not our current RDPWin Windows based system.

In the early days of RDP printing was relatively simple.  A customer could purchase pretty much any printer, connect it to LPT1 and it would print.  Unfortunately as more features have been added to printers, printing has become a very complex topic.  All printers no longer work with RDP.  Since there are over 1,000 printers on the market it is not possible for RDP to create a list of all printers that will work.  However, this document provides some guidelines for testing and installing printers.  

Printing Type Overview
Legacy Printing with RDPDOS Applications  The RDP system started over 20 years ago in 1981 as a MS-DOS program.  This core system still uses DOS technology to print.  As a result a printer must be capable of printing from the Command Prompt (DOS Prompt) to work with the RDP DOS system.   This document provides the steps for testing, installation, and using DOS printers.  Note: The issues related to DOS printing will be phased out as RDP is converting all DOS program features to RDPWin Windows based Features.  RDPWin will be released at the customer conference June 9th, 2003. 
Crystal Reports Most RDP reports now use Crystal Reports.  Any printer that works with Windows will work with Crystal Reports.  
Internet Reservation Module (IRM) Customers who make reservations using RDP's Internet Reservation Module (IRM) can print confirmations directly to their printer from their browser.  No special configuration is required by RDP.  
RDPWin  RDPWin is RDP's new Windows system designed to replace the DOS system.  RDPWin will primarily use Crystal Reports for printing.  Any printer that works with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x will work with RDPWin.
Terminal Services For details on printing with Terminal services, click here.
Carbon Copy 32 For details on printing with Carbon Copy 32,  click here.

Novell Print Queues No Longer Supported

Resort Data Processing has been in business over twenty years. Our original software was installed exclusively on Novell Networks, and printing was to either a local printer or a Novell Bindery print queue. Unfortunately both Novell and Microsoft have made changes that now make it impossible to print to a Novell print Queue with RDP software running on a Windows 2000 or Windows XP workstation. As a result, it is no longer possible to use Novell Print queues with RDP software. 

RDP customers running Novell may be able to set up Windows Shared printers. However, some workstations may not be able to print to a windows shared printer, depending on the version of Novell, which Novell Client software is installed, and what client operating systems are in use. Results will be unpredictable. 

RDP suggests that all current customers with a Novell Server convert to a Windows 2000 data server as soon as possible. With Windows 2000 there are no problems printing to local printers or windows shared printers. Additionally, RDPWin will only function on a Windows 2000 data server. There is no charge from RDP for conversion from Novell to Windows 2000

Testing Local Printers Outside the RDP System

The key to setting up printers in the RDP-DOS system is to test the printer from the "command prompt" (DOS Prompt), independent of the RDP-DOS system.  If the printer works with the steps below, then it can be added to the RDP-DOS system with option 096 on menu 98.   

A local printer is defined as connected directly to an LPT port, using a a parallel printer cable, on a Windows based workstation. It must be  connected to LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, or LPT4. Printers connected to infrared ports, COM ports, or USB ports will not work as "local" printers. However
a USB printer may work if it configured as a shared printers. See "USB Printers" at the end of this document for details. 
To test a local printer, go to a command prompt and type the following:

       DIR >LPT1:  (or LPT2 if connected to LPT2, etc)

This command may have to be repeated several times to send enough lines to a laser printer to eject a page.

If the printer successfully prints from the command Prompt with the command above, then use 096, option "P" to add the printer.  Enter the data requested as below:

Parallel Port:     For LPT1, enter "1", for LPT2, enter "2".
Output Type:    Enter "Local".  "NONE" turns of this printer.
RDP Printer Name:  Any name will work, such as "My Laser Printer"
Lines per page Enter 66 (the default)
Laser/Sheet Feed: Enter "Y" if a laser or sheet feed printer
Esc Codes:     Leave the Esc Codes blank, which uses RDP defaults.

Warning: Microsoft made a change that delays all DOS print jobs on Windows 2000 and Windows XP to DOS printers by 15 seconds. This delay can be eliminated.  See the section in troubleshooting on "Win2000/XP Slow Printing".  This change must be made for all local printers AND SHARED PRINTERS that are connected to a LPT port on a Windows 2000 or Windows XP workstation.

Testing Shared Printers from the Command Prompt

It is possible to print to a printer that is not connected to your workstation, provided the printer is set up to use the "NET" command from Microsoft.  It is critical to test the printer with the steps below from a command prompt before attempting to define the printer in the RDP system with 096 on menu 98.

  1. The printer must first be shared using either Microsoft Printer Sharing, or Novell Netware Print Queues. The printer can be physically connected to a workstation or using "JET Direct" technology to connect to the network directly.  The process for setting up a shared printer is well documented by both Microsoft and Novell and is beyond the scope of this document.  The key is to test the printer with the steps below from a command prompt.
  2. Shared printing with Novell networks is much better and faster when using Novell Print Queues, using the Novell Client for Netware, not the Microsoft Client for Novell Networks.  Please read the section at the end in troubleshooting: "Novell Networks Work Best with Novell Print Queues"
  3. After setting up the Windows Shared Printer or the Novell Print Queue, to test the printer, go to a workstation other than the one where the printer is connected and open a command prompt and type:

           NET VIEW

This Microsoft command should display all servers in your default workgroup or Domain.  Microsoft uses the term "Server Name", but the names listed may be the name of a Novell Server, a Windows 2000 Server, a Windows NT 4.0 server or a Win95/98/ME/XP workstation that has one or more shared printers or folders. 

The options available with the Microsoft "Net" command are different for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, XP, and 2000. For a list of valid options for your operating system, type

        NET VIEW /?.

After using "Net View" to display all servers, use the following command to view the shared printers on one computer:

        Net View \\Servername

For example, to view all shared resources on a Windows 2000 workstation with the name "MyWin2000", type:

        Net View \\MyWin2000

Novell Warning: The Net View does not always work with Novell, depending on the version of Novell and the operating system on the workstation.  With Windows 2000 and Windows XP workstations, local security must be correctly established on each workstation to allow other users to share printers.

If there are any shared printers already set up on the server name selected, they will be displayed.  For example, you may see:   Shared resources at \\MyWin2000

Type    Share Name
Print   HP1100a
Disk  MySharedFolder
Disk MyWordFolder
Print HP4M

In this example the \\MyWin2000 machine has two printers that are shared, named "HP1100a" and "HP4M". 

After finding the print server name and shared printer name, test to see if the printer will print, as follows;

        NET USE LPT1: \\servername\sharedPrinterName
        Dir > Lpt1:
        Net Use LPT1: /Delete

  1. In our example, the computer name is "MyWin2000" and the shared printer name is "HP1100a".  Therefore, to test we have:

        NET USE LPT1: \\MyWin2000\HP1100a
        DIR > LPT1:
        NET USE LPT1:   /DELETE

Note: You must put a one space after the the ":" in LPT1: for this command to work.
Note: You may have to repeat the "DIR > LPT1:" command to send at least 66 lines to the printer to "fill the page" and  cause a laser printer to eject a page.
Note: The Net Use command should complete within one or two seconds. If it takes more than 5 seconds, but eventually completes, printing will work with RDP but you will see the same delay.  See the troubleshooting section under "Net Use Command Slow".
Note: If a prompt for a "login name" or "Password" appears, this must be eliminated.  See "Troubleshooting" below under "Net Use Prompts for Password".
  1. If the command sequence in step 5 works, add the shared printer to RDP using 096, option "W'.  If it does not work, check the troubleshooting tips below.

Adding the Shared Printer with 096 after it works from DOS

  1. Make sure the printer prints outside RDP as defined above
  2. From RDP menu 98, use option 096
  3. Select "W" - for Windows/Novell Shared Printer
  4. Enter a RDP Printer Number from 5-99
  5. Enter the printer server name that was seen with the "net view" command.  In our example, this was MyWin2000.
  6. Enter the Printer Share name from step 3.  In our example this was HP1100a.  Complete the printer definition:
RDP Printer Number Any number from 5-99
Print Server Computer Name In our example MYWIN2000  (no spaces allowed)
Printer Share Name  In our example this is HP1100a  (no spaces allowed)
RDP Printer Name:  Any name will work, such as "HP1100a on Tom's Desk"
Lines per page Enter 66 (the default)
Laser/Sheet Feed: Enter "Y" if a laser or sheet feed printer
Fence Level Control who is allowed to use the printer. Any number from 0 -999 is allowed.  If a given user has a power level set in table PW that is higher than the Fence Level for the printer, this user will see the printer as a choice.  
Local LPT Port Enter the LPT port the printer is physically connected to.  Usually this is "1", but valid answers are 1,2,3,4.  f the printer is connected via HP Jet Direct, enter "1". 
Printer Group Printers can be set in groups.  For example, you may have 3 printers in Group Sales as group "A" and two printers in reservations as group "B".  A workstation assigned to group "A" will only see printers in group "A".  Printer groups are assigned to workstations with menu 98, option 094, field "21" - Printer Group.
Esc Codes for Compressed     Leave the Esc Codes blank, which uses RDP defaults.
Esc Codes to Reset Printer Leave the Esc Codes blank, which uses RDP defaults.
  1. Once the printer is filed away, press F2-Print to print the screen and choose the printer just entered.  In theory, if the test page works from one workstation, any other workstation should be able to print to this shared printer.  However, this often is not the case for a wide variety of reasons.  Complete the testing by going to every workstation and logging into the RDP System and pressing F2-Print and selecting the shared printer.  If a given workstation cannot print, test that station from a command prompt using the "Net Use" commands as described above.  See Troubleshooting for a  list of some possible problems. 

TROUBLESHOOTING - Net Use Command is Slow

In some situations the "Net Use LPT1:" command completes after a 10-20 second delay.  This can occur when the Novell Client for Windows 2000/XP is used to capture a Windows Shared Printer.  This delay can be eliminated by replacing the Novell Client with the Microsoft Client for Novell Netware that comes with Windows 2000/XP. The Net Use command will complete quickly.  However, the Microsoft Client can cause other problems on your Novell Network.  The ideal solution is to eliminate the Novell Server and convert to a Windows 2000 data server, which will eliminate all printing problems.

Note: If the printer is physically connected to a Windows 2000 or Windows XP workstation, the slow printing issue may still have to be fixed with REGEDT32 as described above.

TROUBLESHOOTING - Net Use Command Displays "Invalid Command"

The "NET VIEW" or "NET USE" may display:

   Invalid Command


   "NET" is not recognized as an internal or external command

This means the workstation cannot find the Net.EXE program.  Net.exe is provided by Microsoft on Windows 95/98/ME in the \Windows folder.  On Windows 2000 the program is in the \WINNT\System32 folder and on Windows XP it resides in the \Windows\System32 folder.  If Net.exe does not exist, put a copy of NET.EXE and NET.HLP in the correct folder.

It is also possible that NET.EXE exists in the correct folder, but the workstation has lost the path to this folder.  For example, if at the F:\RDP prompt, a path must exist to C:\Windows on Win95/98/ME computers, C:\WINNT\System32 on Win2000 and C:\Windows\System32 on Windows XP. 

Troubleshooting -  Net Use Prompts for Password

There are many layers of security in Windows and Novell.  If they are not set up correctly, the Net Use command may prompt for a user name and/or password.  These prompts must be eliminated for the shared printer to function with RDP, since RDP does not pass user names or passwords to the Net Use command.  There are many possible places to eliminate the password:

  1. If the Printer is on a Windows 95/98/ME machine, make sure that "Require a password" is not checked when sharing the printer.
  2. If the printer is connected to a Windows 2000/XP machine, make sure the share permissions are set to "Everyone".  Also make sure that each user is in the same domain as the workstation with the printer.
  3. If the printer is connected to a Windows 2000 or XP machine, and if using a Novell Server without a Microsoft Domain Controller, the user name of each person that wishes to print to the printer must be added to the local user group of the Windows 2000 or XP machine where the printer is attached.

TROUBLESHOOTING - Netware Print Queue Not Set (Error 255)

Twenty years ago, RDP originally supported Novell print queues directly rather than using the current Net Use command.  These Novell printers were added to RDP-DOS with 096, option Q.  This option no longer works with Windows 2000 and Windows XP.  If printing to an old Novell print queue in RDP-DOS, a Win2000/XP workstation will display the following error:


To fix this problem:

  1. Use 096, option Q to delete all old Novell printers from RDP-DOS
  2. Use 096, option W to add the Novell printer using the instructions above
  3. Make sure to use the Microsoft client for Novell Networks.  The "Net Use" command that is integral to Windows shared printers will not work with the Novell Client. 
Note: RDP suggest that all customers come up with a plan to phase over to Windows 2000 data servers.  RDP's newest software, RDPWin, will not function with Novell. 


Many printers today have a USB interface (Universal Serial Bus) as well as a traditional LPT interface. RDP suggest using the LPT interface whenever possible. However, some printers only come with a USB interface. Also, some workstations today only have a USB port. USB printers can be used with RDP if the following conditions are met:

  • USB printers must be connected to a Windows 2000 or Windows XP machine.
  • USB printers will not work when connected to Win95/98/ME 
  • USB printers will not work with Novell Servers (or if Novell Client software is installed)
  • USB printer must be set up as a windows shared printer (ie, RDP printer # 5-99. See "Testing Shared printers from the command prompt" above for details.

The steps to installing a USB Printer are as follows:

  1. Connect the USB printer to a Windows 2000 or XP workstation
  2. Install the Windows driver software with the CD provided with the printer.
  3. Test the printer from Windows and make sure it prints.
  4. In Windows, share the printer (see the section above "Testing Shared printers from the command prompt" for details)
  5. On menu 98, use option 096 to configure the printer as a Windows Shared printer (RDP Printer # 5-99). Do NOT configure the printer in RDP as a "local" printer.
  6. Test printing with RDP, using F2-Print Screen. Make sure to choose the correct RDP Printer #, which has to be #5 to 99. You cannot use 1-4 with shared printers.

All workstations, including the workstation where the USB printer is physically connected should be able to print to the USB printer using RDP printer #5-99.

Troubleshooting - Windows XP Slow Printing

With Windows XP, Microsoft made a change that delays all DOS print jobs by 15 seconds. To accelerate printing, every computer using any version of Windows XP will need the changes described in the link below. This includes the Windows 2003 data server.  If using Citrix or terminal services, the changes must also be implemented on the Windows 2003 server running Citrix/Terminal Services, as well as each workstation that uses the Windows XP operating system.

Links to documents related to printing with RDP

Windows XP Users Must Be a Member of Local Administrator Group

Microsoft added significant local security to Windows XP.  A user with minimal rights does not have access to write files to the "C" drive or to re-direct printing to shared network printers, both of which are required for RDP software to function properly. 

To solve this problem, each user of a Windows 2000 or XP workstation must be a member of the administrator group on the workstation, which gives the user complete access and all rights for the local workstation.  

Note: network security is not compromised, since the user must only be a member of the local administrator group on Windows XP workstations.  All RDP users should not be a member of the domain administrator group.  To add a user to the local administrator group, see the link below:

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