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Is it safe to edit the autoexec.bat file?

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 1999


Q. Is it safe to edit the autoexec.bat file and remove the lines that begin with C:\>REM? Also, is it safe to remove some or all the C: prompts that have nothing after them?

A. Anything with an REM prefix is not executing, so it would be safe to remove these lines. However, it is always a good idea to first make a copy of the autoexec.bat file before editing (copy autoexec.bat, Autoexec.sav). If you have C: prompts with nothing after them, it is safe to remove them. If you have blank lines at the end of your autoexec.bat, these will show as C:\ prompts during the boot. To remove these phantom prompts, you need to remove the blank lines. To do this, edit autoexec.bat in Notepad, positioning the cursor after the last line. Hold the Shift key while pressing the down arrow until it stops. This will highlight the blank space. Press the Delete key, then save the file.

Printing problems

Q. Does the printer operation involve a cache that may not get cleared when it should? I use a Hewlett-Packard 694C with Windows 95 and adequate hard drive space and memory. If I print something complicated, it may print the first three or four copies perfectly, then it may quit printing in the middle of a page, feed the rest of the paper through blank or cover it with weird characters. If I reboot the computer a few times, it generally recovers.

A. After making sure you have the most recent drivers (check HP's Web site), disable bi-directional communication (Start, Settings, Printers, right-click properties, select Ports tab). Also, make sure your cable is an IEEE 1284 Compliant Parallel Printer Cable.

More printing problems

Q. When printing, I find my printer stops printing and sends one of the following messages:

1. "There was an error writing to LPT1: for the printer (HP DeskJet 670C). There was a problem printing to the printer due to an unknown system error. Restart Windows and then try printing again." (I did this, but was not successful).

2. "The printer has lost communication with the printer. Cancel printing, turn the printer off, then back on and try printing again." (It did not work, either.)

3. "Two-way communication with the printer cannot be established." (I did the communication test and it worked fine.)

4. "There was an error writing to LPT1; for the printer. The parameter is incorrect."

I occasionally can print out an e-mail message.

A. To determine whether you have a spooling problem, print directly to the port. To disable spooling and print directly to the port:

1. In the Printers folder, right-click the printer's icon, click Properties and then click the Details tab.

2. Click Spool Settings.

You also may want to disable bi-directional printing support

1. In the Printers folder, right-click the printer's icon, click Properties and then click the Details tab.

2. Click Spool Settings.

Also make sure you have an IEEE 1284 compliant printer cable

Printing problems III

Q. Installation for my HP OfficeJet 710 printer went fine. However, when I bring up a file from Microsoft Worksheet or Word and clear it for another file, the following message comes up: "An error has occurred in your program. To keep working anyway click (ignore) and save your work in a new file. To quit this program click (close). You will lose the information since your last save." Clicking on "ignore" has no effect. When I click on "close," the following message comes up: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists contact your vendor." This window has a close option and a details option. If I click close, the screen clears and everything works fine again. If I click details, I get a full screen of numbers that mean absolutely nothing to me.

A. First check HP's Web site to make sure you have the latest drivers for your OfficeJet. Assuming you have the latest drivers, you also can try uninstalling then reinstalling Works. Apparently the OfficeJet drivers are overlaying a DLL (shared program file) with a version that is not compatible with Works. Reinstalling Works should correct this.

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