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Monday, March 23, 2015

Multiple copies woes with HP laser printers

Printing multiple copies of the same document (without having to first print it and then copy it on a different machine, e.g. on a copier) or "mopying" has been a Microsoft Windows printing feature since at least version 3.1.  This ability has carried over into more modern versions of Windows.

Advanced Accounting 7i printer dialog box

In early 1997, HP released the HP LaserJet 5SI Mopier which was a network printer that provided users with both a copier and a printer, and which produced multiple original prints (mopies).  Then newly developed HP technology allowed the transmission of a single document which was stored on a large internal hard drive (it was a large unit overall) from which the additional copies were printed.

This technology was refined over the years to provide a "Mopier Mode" in lower end printers that stored the document to printer memory.  But the base 2300/4200/4300 series printers did not include this memory.   Without either the hard drive or additional printer memory, the base model printers were  unable to "store the job" and would print a single copy if the Mopier Mode was enabled regardless of the number specified; only by disabling Mopier Mode was the driver (and the therefore the Windows printing subsystem) allowed to again handle the print job as it otherwise normally does.

Computer users have increasingly struggled with this issue with a broad range of HP printers from the lower end 1022, 1200, 1200, 2035 and 2430 models up into the 4000 and 5000 series printers. This increasing problem seems to be tied to this mode having become a default setting with newer HP drivers (for reasons that are unclear; it is not something that the majority of end users need, nor does their printing hardware often support it).   This means that the "Number of copies" in the printer dialog box may then either be not visible or may be grayed out at the time of printing. Even if changed in printing preferences, only a single copy will be sent to the printer as long as Mopier Mode is enabled as explained above.

To regain control of this setting at the printer dialog level and for those printers that have it, disabling Mopier Mode may be the answer.  This option, if available, should be in the Device Settings tab of the printer's properties (accessible via standard Windows Settings under Printers and Faxes).

Example of Mopier Mode location, if it exists, for a given printer

Other causes of multiple copy printing woes could relate to collating (try unchecking if checked) or anything that relates to job storage, document storage or any settings relating to mopying.

This issue is largely unrelated to operating system type as computer users have reported problems in connection with trying to print multiple copies with HP laser printers in association with a long list of MS operating systems including 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

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