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Macintosh OS X 10.4 printing problem
Friday, March 23, 2007
I must admit that I am not a big Mac user, so I was vexed for an hour or so by the following problem which presented itself on a colleague's Macintosh laptop:

He had recently upgraded his laptop OS from v10.3.9 to v10.4.x and most things were working, but he could not find his printer in the list of printers. The printer is an HP LaserJet 1320n, connected directly to the building ethernet network, with its own static IP address.

This seemed like a small problem, and I helped him download a new OS X driver from the HP Support web site. We installed it in the normal manner, using "Easy Install", then ran the "Printer Setup Utility" to "Add" the printer to his list of printers. The printer was found quickly when we typed in its IP address, and we made it the default printer.

The problem

All seemed well so far, but when he tried to print an email message as a test, the Mail application crashed with an error message. We tried printing a web page from Safari, but that program crashed as well the moment he selected Print from the menu.

We tried various things, such as removing the HP printer from the Printer Setup list, adding it back, downloading the driver from HP again and reinstalling it, trying to specify a different printer type, etc. but nothing was making much difference.

The solution

Finally, a solution was found after some web searching, as follows:

  • Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
  • Choose Go to Folder from the Go menu.
  • Type: /Library/Printers/
  • Click Go.
  • Drag the "hp" folder to the Trash.
  • Download the latest printer drivers from the HP website, then install them as instructed.

The above instructions are from http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107296 which claims to apply only to OS X v10.2.x, and then only for shared printers, but the symptoms were close enough to ours, and in fact this did solve the problem.

I believe that the upgrade from OS X 10.3.9 to 10.4.x leaves traces of the old HP drivers in place, and when the new driver is installed, it does not entirely replace the old files, so you end up with an incompatible mix of printer driver files, leading to the mystery crash. Not sure whether the fault lies with Apple or HP (they might even call it a "feature"!) but hope they get it fixed, and I hope this helped you in the meantime.

Comments
(in order from older to newest)

"Thanks, I've been pulling my hair out on this one. Followed your advice and it worked."

Aug. 2, 2007, 7:09 PM by Bob K.

"...This worked on my OS X v.10.4 when all else failed..."

Sep. 13, 2007, 1:27 PM by Krishna G.

"This worked for me too!!!! Same exact problem from an upgrade from 10.3.9!"

Oct. 10, 2007, 10:09 AM by Mr. Guy

"Excellent! Worked perfectly, and it was a lifesaver after a frustrating day where everything I tried to print crashed the app. I was also upgrading from 10.3.9."

Nov. 29, 2007, 8:53 AM by Jo.

"I have been using 10.4 for many months without a problem, but recently I sporadically experience a problem with printing out emails...only emails. It will print the header (to and from whom the letter sent) but not the body of the message. I have an older HP laser printer 4050N with no trouble in the past. Any suggestions?"

Dec. 11, 2007, 8:43 AM by Michael

"Tiger printing from any application was resulting in a crash. This tip solved the problem. Thanks."

Jan. 11, 2008, 3:38 AM by Sudarshan.

"I had in my mac 10.4 tiger, but i install since 6 months, a premium package of adobe, include some applications, and others also, like photoshop cs3, illustrator cs3, acrobat professional, quark 7, well, I'm a graphic editor. Everything fine, until last week, i had problems, like slow persformance, i cant reach and see printer, I can't print, and when i need to open a document, its to slow, of any simple thing. I need your advice please......"

June 13, 2008, 1:11 PM by Edgar.

"Nice info, thank you for sharing."

Nov. 6, 2008, 5:43 AM by printer

"Thanks. Great article!"

Nov. 14, 2008, 8:20 PM by L.S.

"This fixed my printing problem. OS 10.4.11. Print Que would get stuck 'waiting for device' or would stop. Now it works like new. Many thanks."

Dec. 7, 2008, 5:36 PM by Luke J.

"Wonderful advice! It solved our exact same problem (all applications crash when you click print) on a laptop that had just been upgraded from Mac OS 10.3 to 10.4. I have added it to our knowledgebase for the next time we encounter this problem.

A similar problem we have seen in the past after upgrading or migrating from Mac OS 10.3 to 10.4 is when the print and preview buttons do absolutely nothing. In this case, the solution was to delete the Xerox plugins found in /Library/Printers/PPD Plugins. We don't even have any Xerox printers, but this has solved the problem in more than once instance, and they also appear to be leftover files from Mac OS 10.3."

Feb. 17, 2009, 2:13 PM by Steve

"Very happy to find this page. I had found another hint earlier today about resetting printing (option in Printer Setup Utility), but that didn't solve this problem. Same scenario here, upgraded from 10.3.9 essentially directly to 10.4.11 on some G4 and G5 iMacs. Appears most suffered from this problem (not all as I can think of at least one exception), and it was resolved by this solution. Note that if you are using Laserjet printers you only need remove the Laserjet folder inside the HP folder."

Apr. 16, 2009, 11:15 PM by Greg

"This seems to fix a similar problem on 10.5, too. We had a fully upgraded install (as of 5-Jun-2009), and whenever an application tried to print, it crashed. I got rider of the subfolder in /Library/Printers for the printer in question (in my case an Epson), and reinstalled the drivers. No more app crashing."

June 5, 2009, 11:59 AM by Chris

"A similar problem we have seen in the past after upgrading or migrating from Mac OS 10.3 to 10.4 is when the print and preview buttons do absolutely nothing. In this case, the solution was to delete the Xerox plugins found in /Library/Printers/PPD Plugins. We don't even have any Xerox printers, but this has solved the problem in more than once instance, and they also appear to be leftover files from Mac OS 10.3."

Mar. 14, 2010, 8:01 AM by robert

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