Microsoft Word takes long time to start

Microsoft Word refuses to start if HP m1522nf is set as default printer.

Microsoft Word refuses to start if HP m1522nf is set as default printer.

If Microsoft Word 2007 takes a very long time to start-up on your computer, you maybe the victim of some bug in drivers of HP Laserjet Printers.

The problem does not manifest itself in all computers with similar configuration; even Microsoft Excel seems to work just fine while Word gets totally stuck. It seems to be a problem with Network Printers – in particular the HP m1522nf.

Don’t despair though, a quick & dirty solution is available.
To diagnose the problem, for starters:

  1. Start Microsoft Word
  2. Start “Task Manager” and check if WINWORD is listed in processes and it’s CPU usage is low.
  3. If Winword is listed as an active process but the Word window does not appear, you may have a problem where Word is expecting some status information from the Printer Driver but the printer driver is either not supplying it or supplying it erroneously.
  4. If the Word window does open, check in Status Bar if the message is about Word communicating with the printer. This should be a dead giveaway.

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To narrow the issue down-to printer drivers problem:

  1. Set the ‘Default Printer’ to another file based device such as Microsoft XPS Printer, PDF Creator etc. These drivers always instantly return ‘Printer Ready’ status when queries.
  2. If Winword process is still listed in Task Manager, terminate it by selecting the process and clicking the ‘End Process’ button.
  3. Restart Microsoft Word. If Word starts up, then you have temporarily resolved the issue.

This is a temporary fix. Why temporary? Because if the HP printer driver acts up so badly, then you may not be able to print to it from Word. Every time you select the HP Printer in Word, Word will appear to hang. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it will not.

There is another temporary solution to this debacle too. If it so happens that you are limited to only using this network printer for your print jobs, the installing an alternate driver will help.

  1. In Control Panel->Printers, Click ‘Add a printer’.
  2. Select ‘Local printer attached to this computer’ and de-select ‘Automatically detect and install my PnP printer’.
  3. If you are installing a network printer, determine the Printer’s IP address by going over to the printer and checking it’s network settings.
  4. On the computer in ‘Select a Printer Port’ window, click ‘Create a new port’ and select ‘Standard TCP/IP Port’.
  5. In ‘Add Port’ window, type the IP Address of the printer (for ex: my printer’s IP address is 192.168.1.44). The port-name is created automatically.
  6. If the IP address is correct, the Windows will communicate with the printer and determine the ‘Device Type’ correctly as ‘HP JetDirect’. If not, check if the IP address is correct. If Windows fails to determine the Device Type even with the correct IP Address, select a compatible one in ‘Additional Port Information Reqd.’ Window.
  7. You will be prompted to ‘Install Printer Software’. Select HP as the manufacturer and ‘Laserjet 6L’ as the device.
  8. Why Laserjet 6L? Because the m1522nf supports PCL6 printer language and the older Laserjet 6L supports PCL6 language too. So if you add the Laserjet 6L driver and install it with the same IP as the 1522, Windows creates print-jobs for the Laserjet 6L which are actually understood perfectly and printed well by the newer 1522. Neat!

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Why do I still term this as temporary? Because while the Laserjet 6L driver will print to the m1522nf printer just fine, it will be limited to printing. High end features such as scanning, fax, job monitoring, cover-pages etc. will not be available if not using the 1522’s original drivers.

Let me have your feedback if this solution worked for you or you found another solution.

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