Laser printer ejects blank page

Question: Whenever I print an e-mail message, my HP 4ML LaserJet printer prints the message, but also ejects a blank page. My setup includes Eudora version 1.4.4 in an IBM compatible Pentium 133, with 16 Megs of RAM and Windows ’95. I have had no problem with my previous setup: Compaq 50 DeskPro, Windows 3.1, and the same mail program, same printer. My Canon 4000 Bubble Jet printer prints e-mail messages without ejecting blank pages. I would appreciate any assistance. – W.J.S.

Answer: The most obvious answer is to update your printer drivers. In fact, everyone I checked with suggested this first. New drivers can be found at

If this doesn’t help, you should update a file called LPD.VXD in Windows 95. Typically, the problem you’ve described occurs if an HP printer (or a printer that emulates an HP printer) is connected to a computer using a PS/2-style parallel port.

Microsoft Technical Support offers the following as a first course of action: “Configure the port in your computer’s CMOS settings to a non-PS/2 mode (for example, use standard LPT mode, or ECP or EPP mode).” CMOS is a complementary metal oxide semiconductor and is a kind of battery-powered memory where your machine stores basic settings about itself. You can get at it when your machine boots up. It’s usually referred to as Settings, and is accessible on boot-up by one of your function keys or the Esc key.

In a human, the CMOS would be the part of your brain that never sleeps and stores information on basic survival mechanisms. As always, it’s a good idea to go to a qualified technician if computer brain surgery is not your forte.

With the standard warning out of the way, and the cat safely on the floor, here’s what to do: There is an updated LPT.VXD file on the Windows ’95CD-ROM that corrects the problem. To install the updated file, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Windows Explorer and rename the LPT.VXD file in the C:WindowsSystem folder to LPT.OLD.
  2. Copy the LPT.VXD file from the DriversPrinterLPT folder on the Windows 95 CD to the WindowsSystem folder on the hard disk.
  3. Restart Windows 95.

If you do not have the CD-ROM version of Windows 95, you can get the alternate LPT.VXD file from Microsoft Windows 95 Service Pack 1, which fixes a bunch of problems with the operating system. (In fact, it’s a good idea to install the service pack whether or not you’re having this particular problem. It’s available from Microsoft at this page.)

The LPT.VXD file from the Windows 95 CD is version 4.00.503. To check the version number of your LPT.VXD file in Windows Explorer, click the file, click Properties on the file menu, and in the File Properties dialog box, click the Version tab, said the folks at Microsoft Technical Support.

From a hardware perspective, the problem can also be caused by a printer switchbox. If you’re using one, you may want to disconnect it to see whether the problem persists.