Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Troubleshooting printing issues with Microsoft Dynamics GP

Just lately, I have seen a number of inquiries over the various forums on printer support for Microsoft Dynamics GP (usually, versions 10.0 and 2010). If you have been in the channel as an ISV, partner, or customer since the days of the former Great Plains Software, you probably still remember that in the past testing of Microsoft Dynamics GP included exhaustive testing of a number of printers for compatibility.

In fact, leading up to the release of version 10.0, it was not uncommon to see the now infamous Printer Compatibility List, which would outline an extensive list of printers tested for all sort of "maneuvers" including large print jobs, paper handling, character blurriness, and so on. There are still some reminiscent KB articles from back in the days when printers were tested - go grab them now before they disappear!

KB article 870301 - Compatibility of Dynamics With the HP LaserJet 6L or HP LaserJet 6L SE Printer
KB article 865797 - HP OfficeJet 520 Printers
KB article 865796 - HP 6LXI Printers
KB article 865782 - HP Laserjet 5000, 5M and checks
KB article 865399 - Okidata ML 320 printing checks

Starting with version 10.0, Microsoft decided that "enough is enough!", well, not exactly in those terms, but the point being that printer manufacturers had sorted out most of the issues revolving around standards that plagued the 90's and 00's. Printer compatibility was mostly an issue during the transition from impact printers to laser printers -- for those of you out there too young to remember, this is what a dot matrix or impact printer looked like. This one in particular, happens to be an Epson (and yes, I owned one myself!).

Epson dot matrix printer

Another main reason was, they were simply too many printers to be tested! You can find the official word from Microsoft on printer testing with Microsoft Dynamics GP by using the following links:

Printer compatibility for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 - click here
Printer Compatibility for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 - click here

Then what are you supposed to do if you suspect a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics GP and a printer in your organization? Here is my list of suggestions/questions you should ask yourself to fight the printing battle:

1. Are you in a Terminal Server environment? Terminal Server environments are notoriously known for printing issues when printer driver versions on workstations do not match the Terminal Server's (or viceversa) during the printer re-direction process. I strongly suggest you consider downloading the Terminal Server Printer Redirection Wizard Tool, which will help you troubleshoot and replace print drivers that were unsuccessfully redirected.

2. Are you using Named Printers? There are a couple known issues with Named Printers "acting up" and not saving certain settings, thus causing erratic behaviors when printing. However, if you are using Named Printers on a Terminal Server environment, my good friend, David Musgrave has written what I consider to be the ultimate guide to Using Named Printers with Terminal Server.

3. Are all the printer driver versions the same on every machine? Different printer driver versions, even for the same printer, can produce unexpected behaviors, for example, if bugs have been fixed in the latest version of the driver. So always ensure you are running the same printer driver version on all workstations - oh, and make sure you obtain the drivers directly from the manufacturer's website, not the one shipped to Microsoft by the manufacturer. Many times, printer drivers are updated by the manufacturer after a version of Windows have been released.

4. Other common troubleshooting guidelines...does the problem happen to all users or one user in particular? You know you will be asked this question if you contact Microsoft Support, so do your homework and save yourself some time. This will allow you to establish whether there's a method to the madness you are experiencing. By asking this question, Microsoft Support will attempt to establish whether there's an issue with that particular user profile in your environment.

5. Does the problem happen with one machine in particular or does it happen across all machines? The objective here is to establish whether the behavior is consistent at the machine level, regardless of the user signed into the machine. If the problem can be replicated regardless of the user, then you can begin to establish a pattern. Working your way through several computers will help establish if there's a bigger issue at play.

For additional information on troubleshooting printing issues:

KB article 959033 - Frequently asked questions about printer issues in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 or in Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC


Steve Chapman said...

Impact printers still make me wince. As a user I really liked the Okidata printers. As a consultant they nauseated me.

Steve Chapman

Mariano Gomez said...

Hey Steve,

Good to see you around here. I think the ringing in my ear (doctors now call it tinnitus) stem from those long hours I spent as a young developer in freezing computer rooms with wide impact printers going all day long, printing extensive reports on the all too forgetable green papers.


Mariano Gomez, MVP

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