Windows Update Borks Old Epson Dot Matrix Printers

DooKey

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Microsoft's latest batch of software updates for Windows has been blamed for a mysterious ailment befalling some poor old Epson dot-matrix printers. I know most of the [H] readership always has top of the line equipment, but this PSA is for those that still need to use old equipment for one reason or another. Beware of the latest updates if you have an Epson dot-matrix printer.

Other folks have suggested the problem can be traced back to the KB4048954 update on Windows 10, KB4048958 on Windows 8.1 and KB2952664 on Windows 7. Some users have reported that removing those updates fixes the problem.
 
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When you are reading code or doing code reviews, there is no substitute for a wide band fan fold printout.
925446758_tp.jpg
 

katanaD

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one place i worked at a couple years back had a very old wide paper dot matrix. it was soo old in fact that it required to keep a win NT 4.0 box running as that was the only OS/ driver that would work for the machine.
 

griffinhart

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one place i worked at a couple years back had a very old wide paper dot matrix. it was soo old in fact that it required to keep a win NT 4.0 box running as that was the only OS/ driver that would work for the machine.
Pretty much every car dealership still use dot matrix printers. Any business that needs to use carbon(less) copies for purchase contracts/agreements need them. The only other option is to laser print multiple copies of each document and have you sign each copy.
 
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Dead Parrot

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A feed store I visit still uses a dot matrix printer and multi-part/multi-color forms. One for the counter records, one for the guys loading your purchase and one for you. And the new ribbon costs are generally in the $10 range. If it works, why change?
 

vegeta535

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Pretty much every car dealership still use dot matrix printers. Any business that needs to use carbon(less) copies for purchase contracts/agreements need them. The only other option is to laser print multiple copies of each document and have you sign each copy.
Yep a bunch of companies still use dot matrix. I get at least on a day when I do the receiving.
 

THRESHIN

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I see plenty of dot matrix printers at work. It's an old nuclear plant, several computer systems output to dot matrix.

Mostly it's because these are part of original design and just won't die. Why bother replacing very reliable old machines with newer ones that are more prone to failure? We don't use much ink jet and laser printers seems to die constantly, probably due to how dry the air gets.

Thankfully the systems that use dot matrix don't run on windows. These are more specialized computers, like the control computers.

It's amazing how old these things are. Your cell phone is far more powerful than the computers that control a nuclear reactor.
 

cyberguyz

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Wow. And Epson was the de-facto standard by which almost all dot matrix printers emulated. They were the HP of the dot matrix world.
There are very few cheap printing technologies left that can do carbon(less) copies in one pass.

Bad Microsoft!

When you are reading code or doing code reviews, there is no substitute for a wide band fan fold printout.
925446758_tp.jpg

LOL I used to pore over thousands of sheets of fanfold printed listings of IBM 4700 FCL when working as an ATM controller programmer. Using separate sheets for each page of code would have been a huge pain in the backside.
 
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pgaster

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Crap. We have inventory coming up and our inventory tags are printed on some Epson dot matrix printers.
I just sent the link to our IT guys at corporate.
 

fuzzylogik

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Closest thing I have to this is a shirt that reads "bring back the dot-matrix" ... written in dot-matrix text of course.
 

Madoc

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Where I work, dot-matrix printers are used to keep a running hard copy of events that occur on certain fire systems. The print-out is fed directly into a box where it is stored for future reference. If that got borked, then the fire department isn't going to be very happy about it.
 
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Some folks are wondering why dot matrix at all?

For one, you can feed (semi)endless paper into a dot matrix printer because it can feed it in on a reel.
Secondly, you can get instant carbon copies, given the proper paper. The needles have enough down force to do that. Even if the ink on the band runs low, your carbon copies will always be good.

Many good reasons to have those in production environments.
 

Shmee

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^^ Okidata too. I remember a lot of Okidata. But, you're right, even the Okidata's emulated Epson command sets IIRC.

We still use Oki's for our pick tickets because truck drivers like the carbon copies. Though they print out of an IBM iSeries, so this hasn't been an issue.
 

ir0nw0lf

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I used to re-ink dot matrix ribbons like 10+ years ago, a bunch of places around here still had dot matrix printers and it was way cheaper to re-ink the ribbons. Most could re-use the same ribbons several times before falling apart. They still have their uses.
 

jcollett69

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I don't know if it still is the case but when I worked in logistics for a shipping company, all the multiple page forms like triplicates needed to use dot matrix to press the carbonless paper to make the copies. They had lots invested in the forms and many were required for customs, bills of lading for truck drivers, and other uses as well. The printers cost $400+. I hated having to work on them but they were essential for the business. If they still use these and they all went offline due to an update, I am very glad I'm not working there at the moment! :cool:
 

kledar586

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I've always wondered why some places still use dot matrix, the above posters cleared that up. In other news, a microsoft update borks something? shocker, that never happens
 
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otherweeb

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Bah humbug!
When I was a kid we had mimeograph machines left over from WW2! The teachers used the same stencil so much that the copies were barely legible. They used an ink specially formulated to induce student compliance when sniffed. AND WE LIKED IT!
 

Stoly

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I had a wide dot matrix printer. I ended up using it to print ASCII photographs. They looked kind of neat.
 
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Or in an editor like VS Code with a linter...... Why would you ever review code on paper in this day and age.....

Simple: Writing notes in margins for suggested corrections. Circling what's wrong, underlining what is unclear. Personal notes for reverse engineering. Aligning code blocks is easier as well.

The most advanced tool there is today (that I have seen) is team foundation server where you can request approval for changes. But it is 99% worthless for write-ups. I could do it myself but then I am not teaching the junior programmers anything.

I could print landscape on legal but it isn't as convenient as fan fold.
 
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jedijeb13

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Bah humbug!
When I was a kid we had mimeograph machines left over from WW2! The teachers used the same stencil so much that the copies were barely legible. They used an ink specially formulated to induce student compliance when sniffed. AND WE LIKED IT!

They used those in the schools here up until the late 80's when photocopiers finally became affordable. And yea, those things smelled great when they were fresh, if I remember the fluid was alcohol based :) We printed our elementary school paper on one, and I used to do the artwork by tracing what I drew onto a blank master, it was so cool.
 
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One thing that always killed me: in a lot of submarines in the US fleet they would use - this is long long ago of course - very large wide rule dot matrix printers and those fuckers were LOUD when they were banging out the characters, I mean really really loud. When I saw this mention of dot matrix printers the scene in the movie "The Hunt For Red October" came to mind where Jonesy (the Paganini loving radar/sonar tech on the submarine USS Dallas) was trying to classify the "magma displacement" sounds he noted and when he instructed the computer software to do the analysis on the signal data there was one of those large wide rule dot matrix printers beside him and it started banging out the data on the fan-fold paper and immediately - even when I saw this movie on the day of release long ago - my brain said "Damn that's loud, I thought submarines were supposed to be quiet." :D

I can only imagine what it would be like to be in one of those subs, rigged for quiet operation at any given time, then suddenly being detected all because a dot matrix printer started printing and providing enough audio to give a precise location for a torpedo to home in on.
 

cyclone3d

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Pretty much every car dealership still use dot matrix printers. Any business that needs to use carbon(less) copies for purchase contracts/agreements need them. The only other option is to laser print multiple copies of each document and have you sign each copy.

Or, you know, they could get a touch screen system when you sign on the screen and then they print the multiple copies... and then they also wouldn't have to deal with those crap copies that are barely legible and then fade into nothingness after a while.

And paper would be a lot cheaper as well.
 

tetris42

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For anyone knocking dot matrix printers, these things pre-date planned obsolescence in printers. That alone makes them valuable.
 
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Or, you know, they could get a touch screen system when you sign on the screen and then they print the multiple copies... and then they also wouldn't have to deal with those crap copies that are barely legible and then fade into nothingness after a while.

And paper would be a lot cheaper as well.

But the TCO is not. Dot matrix printers are VERY low maintenance. Our printer maintenance contract is $0.20/sheet B&W $0.50/sheet color. (No joke) And those printers broke down a lot.
 

stormy1

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nothing like having to wear ear protection to walk into the printer room and feeling the pulses in your chest as row after row of printers churn away.
I know a company using a bunch today that were purchased in the early 90s and print almost continuously all day 6 days a week and still going strong.
Replace the ribbons as needed and put in a roller kit once a decade or so.
 

cyclone3d

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But the TCO is not. Dot matrix printers are VERY low maintenance. Our printer maintenance contract is $0.20/sheet B&W $0.50/sheet color. (No joke) And those printers broke down a lot.

Newer laser printers IF you have a maintenance contract are more like 1.5c B/W and about 8-12c Color. Yeah, they have come down that much unless you are with a rip-off company.

And really, laser printers are so cheap now that it is not a huge deal to just buy the printers out-right and get knock-off toner carts off of eBay for about 1/10th of the price you buy brand name carts for.

Last B/W laser printer I had I got for $7 at a thrift store. Bought a toner/drum for it after a few years and other than that I only ever used 1 out of 2 of the bottles of refill toner I bought before the printer finally wore out after 7 years.

New B/W laser printers can be had for around $100 and the toner carts are maybe $20 shipped.

Or you can get larger used ones for around $100 that have much higher yield toner and save even more in the long run.

And if you get a HP AIO color machine, you can get a full set of toners for less than $60. And they are pretty much bullet-proof machines as far as reliability goes.

Brother machines are also great.

Worth it alone in just the printing speed increase and especially print quality over a dot-matrix.
 
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Newer laser printers IF you have a maintenance contract are more like 1.5c B/W and about 8-12c Color. Yeah, they have come down that much unless you are with a rip-off company.

And really, laser printers are so cheap now that it is not a huge deal to just buy the printers out-right and get knock-off toner carts off of eBay for about 1/10th of the price you buy brand name carts for.

Last B/W laser printer I had I got for $7 at a thrift store. Bought a toner/drum for it after a few years and other than that I only ever used 1 out of 2 of the bottles of refill toner I bought before the printer finally wore out after 7 years.

New B/W laser printers can be had for around $100 and the toner carts are maybe $20 shipped.

Or you can get larger used ones for around $100 that have much higher yield toner and save even more in the long run.

And if you get a HP AIO color machine, you can get a full set of toners for less than $60. And they are pretty much bullet-proof machines as far as reliability goes.

Brother machines are also great.

Worth it alone in just the printing speed increase and especially print quality over a dot-matrix.

I seriously doubt your 1.2 cents per page claim. A ream of paper alone would eat that cost. Even the super cheap thin wide band sprocket feed fan fold paper was a penny a page last I checked.

And when doing markup work you don't need high quality. 24 pins was more than adequate enough.

Wide band prints did a page every 5 seconds which is fast enough. Some super streaming wide bands had an entire row of pins and printed 1 page a second.

Obviously they are superior at everything. But dot matrix printers are excellent for day to day non proof work.
 

cyclone3d

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I seriously doubt your 1.2 cents per page claim. A ream of paper alone would eat that cost. Even the super cheap thin wide band sprocket feed fan fold paper was a penny a page last I checked.

And when doing markup work you don't need high quality. 24 pins was more than adequate enough.

Wide band prints did a page every 5 seconds which is fast enough. Some super streaming wide bands had an entire row of pins and printed 1 page a second.

Obviously they are superior at everything. But dot matrix printers are excellent for day to day non proof work.

All our small Konica printers are 1.5c B/W. The big copiers are even less. This is for a maintenance contract, not including the paper cost.

If you don't have a maintenance contract, the final cost per page goes down even more.

I am talking about the smaller dot-matrix printers that some car dealerships still use/used. Those were pretty slow AND horrible quality for things like contracts and receipts.

And the cost of dot-matrix printers has gone up quite a bit last time I checked.
 

nilepez

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I think the last time I saw a dot matrix printer was in college 20 years ago and if you don't count that, then probably at least 22 years ago. I didn't realize anyone still used them.
 

kirbyrj

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Some types of printing need the ol' tractor fed Dot matrix printers. Some duplicate receipt paper (mechanical pressure needed for the duplicates), checks, even large scale reports for retails stores still use them (See DigitalGriffin's post above).
 
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