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gwideman
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Solved!

BUG: DesignJet Windows Print Properties dialog hang SOLVED

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Printer driver
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)

When printing from a Windows program (here Windows 7 and Microsoft Visio 2010) to an HP DesignJet T120, in the Print dialog the user must:

1. Select the installed HP DesignJet T120 from the drop-down "Name" list of printers.

2. Use the Properties button to visit the HP-provided "HP DesignJet T120 Properties" dialog, to set things like paper selection, drawing orientation on the paper, and so on.

We found that selecting the printer name in the dropdown incurred a 10-20 sec wait, and hitting the Properties button hung up for 10 minutes or more.

We had encountered this problem previously over a number of years and other DesignJets, and have colleagues who encounter this issue with entirely separate PCs, using different application software, on a different network talking to a different model DesignJet.

So this issue applies across a range of printers and application software, (and as later discovered, appears to stem from a problem in the installation or initial printer driver configuration).

We discovered we could avoid these delays if we ran the application in Administrator mode. (In the Start menu, Shift-right-click on the program, select Run as Administrator.) That, however, is not a general solution.

Investigating the problem led us to the discovery that Visio (running HP's Printer Properties dialog) was relentlessly attempting to get Read/Write access to a particular file in C:\Windows\Temp that had been placed there by some other HP step (perhaps install) with incompatible permissions. Deleting that file eliminated the delay.

Here are the discoveries of the investigation, which might differ in details on another machine experiencing the same difficulties:

  • Run Visio (or your stalling application) in non-Admin mode (hence subject to the lengthy delays).
  • Run and configure diagnostic program ProcMon appropriately to capture file activity.
  • Invoke the Print dialog; select DesignJet as printer.
  • Hit the Properties button... lengthy wait begins

ProcMon shows many many repetitions of Visio (running HP's dll for the dialog) attempting to get Read/Write access to file C:\Windows\Temp\74048001.vdf, but getting Denied due to permissions. Other attempts to read that file succeeded, but the large number of retries to get R/W permissions were causing the lengthy hang.

We deleted that file, and another nearby vdf file, and that fixed the hang!.

We noted that in subsequent tests of the same procedure, the dialog had changed to reading the same file at a different location: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Temp\74048001.vdf. Evidently permissions on this file or directory were more favorable.

The file 74048001.vdf provides data for the printer driver, and is copied by some process (maybe the installer?) from C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3\hpi29193.cab, inside of which the file is called mkAMP.vdf. That cab file and vdf file name are specified in file C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3\hpidpm4122.ini, which is one of the files that appears in Control Panel > Printers > [HP DesignJet T120] > Properties > About > Driver files list.

VDF files are SQLLite database files (contain the string "SQLite format 3" at beginning of file). "VDF" means they provide data for a printer driver called "Vayu", apparently. This seems to be the name of an HP software effort, centered on hpiuib4x.dll, which contains many symbols containing that string.

The point of all that detail being that this bug seems to belong fairly definitively to HP, and it would be nice if they would fix it, after all these years.

Graham

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gwideman
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gwideman
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Replying in hopes of being able to mark this topic as "solved".

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