asked Oct 29, 2013 at 12:46am
Hp HP LaserJet 4100

Laserjet 4100tn PCL6 print speed issues with 7x64

Hey everyone,

First post here so hopefully I can articulate this well. I'm a student with a Laserjet 4100tn with duplexer without the 3rd tray with 256MB of memory, connected with a Jetdirect 600N to a wireless-N router.

Under Windows 7x64, the default driver installed is the Laserjet 4100 PCL6 driver. This driver causes TERRIBLY slow printing - a 52MB document will spool up to 51MB and stop...for a few minutes, before printing. It will hang for every page printed, unless it's a word document (problems are with word docs with pics, or pdf docs).

The solution so far: Change driver to the "HP Laserjet 4100 PCL5" driver from the change-driver-wizard using Windows Update. This driver improves print speed to normal or near-normal (no idea how fast it is supposed to print), but apparently there is a flaw when changing any HP drivers for this printer using the change-driver wizard - the registry key "HPTrayCount" must be changed from 0 (to 12, according to forums), or else I cannot access the "Printer Properties" menu. It simply prompts over and over again to install the driver because it is "not installed" (though printing works great).

This is a problem, because it means that for every computer added to this printer, the driver must be manually changed (a 10-minute process) and the registry key must be changed to enable the Properties menu.

Oddly, when going to HP's site and using their HP Generic Drivers (far more full-featured than the Windows Update drivers, ironically), printing speed sucks no matter whether it's PCL5 or PCL6.

I've tried comparing the settings in both drivers and they're essentially identical. I cannot figure out why the PCL6 driver refuses to finish spooling for a few long minutes, when the PCL5 driver works fine. I want to come up with a solution that requires as few steps as possible to add and utilize this printer. I would also prefer to be using PCL6 because it's "supposed" to be a better/newer/more supported driver.

Any thoughts? Change the Jetdirect card to a newer one? Some magical setting I'm missing? This is driving me mad!
Not sure but the pcl6 driver has a lot of overhead and I rarely use it. One thing you can try is to not change the driver but load another instance of the printer using the same port in the drop down and using the pcl5 driver for that printer load and then just make the new load the default printer. This should negate the registry issue you are having since both drivers will now be loaded.
by dmzcompute on Oct 29, 2013 at 5:21am Add comment
The 4100 series has a print speed of 25 ppm.
We have several 4100TN's in use and the PCL5e driver is the one that actually performs the best on the network printers - the PCL6 gave us nothing but headaches for the ones connected to the network.
We had the same trouble with our 4100's and pdf's or Word docs with images and what we finally came up with was that the network was sending information faster than the printer could process it so it would stall even though they had max memory (none had a hard drive which may have helped).

One was connected wireless and it seemed to do ok if it was not a large document or a simple picture (like a b&w .bmp but would hiccup on color because it had to convert the colors to different shades). The solution we ended up with on that printer was loading both the 32bit and 64bit drivers. Here is an article that explains how to do it. "http://h30499.www3.hp.com /t5/Printers-LaserJet/Add-32-bit-driver-to-64-bit-server/m-p/5578867#M 201713

The only thing I can think of that you may want check is the connection settings for the printer to make sure the timeout isn't too short and stopping job receipt (that helped on one of them we were having trouble with).
by Ocicat on Oct 29, 2013 at 9:38am Add comment
dmzcompute, what do you mean by overhead? All I know about PCL5 vs PCL6 is that they are very dissimilar, in spite of the iterative naming scheme. Is PCL5 just "better" for most uses?

Ocicat, what problems did you have with PCL6? And what do you think would solve the problem of data transferring "too fast"? Could it be anything to do with the particular Jetdirect card I'm using?
by mikefitzvw on Oct 29, 2013 at 1:00pm Add comment
The way I understand it some of the rendering is performed by the computer because of the complexity of the driver. The driver has been optimized for better graphic printing but I think because of the complexity it takes more resources and also more time to complete print jobs. I have yet to find a print job that I could not complete with pcl5 and since it is less complex it takes less time. Also keep in mind the 4100 is a older printer so the processor on the formatter is not as robust as current printers whose processors are faster and handle pcl commands faster.
by dmzcompute on Oct 29, 2013 at 4:40pm Add comment
What I don't understand, though, is why PCL6 should be causing such a problem when that's the default driver that the printer came with when it was new! Or was it? Perhaps there was additional driver support when it was new for Windows 9x and NT/2k/XP, but I don't know. Should I stick with my PCL5 solution, or is there something else I can try to force that additional 1MB of data to transfer and print under PCL6?
by mikefitzvw on Oct 29, 2013 at 5:02pm Add comment
To be honest I do not think pcl6 was around when the 4100 came out.
by dmzcompute on Oct 29, 2013 at 7:12pm Add comment
Supposedly it came out with the Laserjet 4000 series in the mid-late '90s.

Should I try turning off print spooling for this particular printer? What would that affect? It seems like the problem is the last MB just sits in the damn spooler for too long.
by mikefitzvw on Oct 29, 2013 at 9:33pm Add comment
To be honest I do not remember pcl6 when the 4000 was introduced. The drivers that were built into windows in those days were plain pcl which at that time was pcl5 not even the 5c or 5e. When hp came out with their universal drivers there were all sorts of issues with the 4000 series where it was the driver that loaded automatically when detected by xp and just did not work right on most systems. If what you print works fine with pcl5 and 99\% of items do, I would stick with the pcl5 as a lot less issues.
by dmzcompute on Oct 30, 2013 at 5:17am Add comment
Alright thanks! Is there any way to install the PCL5 driver when adding the printer, versus spending 20 minutes changing it and fixing the registry?

For some reason Windows 7 automatically installs PCL5 with the Laserjet 2300 and 2100 (2 other printers I have), but PCL6 with the 4100 (which is the oldest of the 3, oddly). It doesn't let me choose PCL5 when adding it - it assumes a driver and requires me to fix it later.
by mikefitzvw on Oct 30, 2013 at 9:28am Add comment
Not that I know of, since the os determines which driver it wants to load. As I said in a previous post, just leave the driver it loads and then add a second instance of the printer loaded manually using the pcl5 or ps driver. Make the second load the default and you should not have to edit the registry.
by dmzcompute on Oct 30, 2013 at 7:32pm Add comment
Alright thanks!
by mikefitzvw on Oct 30, 2013 at 7:56pm Add comment
Get the HP printer drivers, you need download from here: https://www.driverdr.com
by Aimeelin on May 12, 2015 at 11:54pm Add comment