What to Do If a Printer Takes a Long Time to Begin Printing in Windows XP

I once worked at an office that had about thirteen printers, but not one of them seemed to work properly. Either they wouldn’t print in color, they wouldn’t print at all, or they’re print garbled text or something like that. There was one printer that everyone waited to use–it printed perfectly. Beautifully, in fact. There was one problem. It took about a minute to start printing each document. This made it the most annoying printer of all. One day, I decided enough was enough.

Here’s how to fix a Windows XP printer that takes too long to begin printing. You may need an Administrator account to fix this issue; note that if your printing issues are only occurring with a single program, it’s a problem with that program, and this tutorial probably won’t help you too much.

1. First, open up your control panel. Go to the Printers and Faxes panel and look at the installed printers; if there’s more printers in this window than there are attached to your computer, you’ve got a pretty clear indication of the problem. The computer will look for all printers that are displayed here before printing each document, so if there are some network printers installed, it’ll cause the printing to take a long time to start. Uninstall all printers except the one you want to use and try printing again.

2. If the problem’s not fixed, uninstall every printer. The problem is most likely a driver issue if you don’t have multiple printers installed, so you’ll need to uninstall the printer in question and then reinstall it. Search the printer manufacturer’s website to find the newest drivers for your model of printer. Most of the time, you’ll simply need to download an executable program and run it to reinstall the printer, and the problem will be resolved, but the file you have to download might be huge, so don’t actually uninstall the printer until you’ve got the drivers re-dowloaded. Restart the computer and the problem should be resolved.

3. If the problem’s persistent, check for driver conflicts. If any other piece of hardware isn’t working with your computer, it may be conflicting with the printer’s driver, leading to the long delay before printing. Try taking all unnecessary hardware, especially external devices, off of the computer and attempt to print a test page.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with a printer that takes a long time to start up? Post in our comments section below.