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How to troubleshoot slow printing in Windows


  • It takes a long time to print a page.
  • It takes a long time before the printer start to print.
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Epson Stylus inkjets and All-In-Ones


Print speed may vary depending on system configuration, print mode, document complexity, software, type of paper used and connectivity. Print speed does not include processing time on the host computer.

Where printing is very slow, this can be caused by several factors including:

  • Settings in the printer driver.
  • The size of the data being sent to the printer (e.g. a large file such as a photo)
  • The Windows spooling system.

This article explains how to identify and troubleshoot the cause of slow printing.


Important notes before proceeding:
  • Clarification of Print Speed Specifications:

    • The default print quality setting is Text.

    • The published print speed (in pages per minute) is when printed on A4 plain paper in the fastest mode (Draft or Economy mode).

  • Stylus 'D', 'DX', 'Photo R', 'Photo RX', and 'Photo 1400' printers:
    (Not 'D120', 'Color', 'C', 'CX', 'Photo', or 'Stylus Scan')

    • Epson considers an average of three pages per minute (3 ppm) as normal for a document printed on plain paper and Text quality.

    • The 10x15 cm photo print speed quoted is when printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper in Draft, borderless mode.

  • In rare cases, such as if you print continuously for an extended period, the paper may temporarily stop feeding or the ink cartridge holder may pause for a while. This is to slow down the printing speed and prevent the printer mechanism from overheating and being damaged.

  • If this happens, you can continue to print, but we recommend stopping and leaving the printer for about thirty minutes with the power ON. (The printer does not recover with the power off.) After you restart, the printer will print at normal speed.

  1. Close any unnecessary applications and try printing again.

    • If printing is normal then the problem is related to your system resources. In this case, when printing try doing so without non-essential applications being open.

    • If printing remains slow, move to Step 2.

  2. Perform a printer operation check.

    In order to determine whether the problem is related to the printer or to the computer, perform a printer operation check. See Related Article How to perform a Printer Operation Check for instructions. A reasonable amount of time must be allowed for the printer to process the printer operation check request and feed the paper prior to starting the actual print. The printer operation check sheet should be printed in less than a minute.

    • Printing is normal:

      If the time taken from when the paper is first fed into the  printer to been completed seems normal and it printed correctly, then this rules out a mechanical fault with the printer. Move to Step 3.

    • Printing is very slow:

      If the printing is very slow during the printer operation check, this may be caused by the following:

      • An obstruction to the paper feed path or print head.

      • Incorrect position of the paper thickness lever (on printers with a lever).

    If printing is slow, follow the steps below to resolve this issue:

    1. Power off the printer and check for obstructions to the paper feed path or print head.

      1. Turn off the printer and wait until there are no lights displayed on the printer control panel.

      2. Check that the printer is on a level surface.

      3. Lift up the printer cover and ensure that the ink cartridges are seated correctly and there is nothing obstructing the ink cartridge holder or print head.

      4. Check the paper exit tray at the front of the printer for debris or blockages and clear if necessary.

    2. Check the paper / CD lever position (where applicable).

      1. Some printers have a paper thickness lever for thick paper/envelopes. If your printer has a lever, check that this lever is in the normal paper position when using plain paper.

      2. If printing is still slow, see Related Article Stylus Inkjets - Troubleshooting Paper Feed Problems to ensure that the correct paper and paper feed conditions are in place and then perform another printer operation check.

    If after following this guidance, the printer operation check printing is still slow contact Epson for support.

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  3. Check that the data cable is less than 1.8 metres in length and is connected directly to the computer. Long cables and connecting through a third party device, e.g. a USB Hub, can cause communication and printing delays.

    • Check that the data cable (Parallel, USB, or for Windows ME, 2000 & XP only - FireWire) is firmly secured at both ends, at the printer and at the port on the computer.

    • The printer is designed to be connected directly to the computer and any other configuration can render further tests invalid.

    • Epson recommend using a cable no longer than 1.8 metres and connecting the Epson device to a port native to the motherboard.

      Epson do not support the use of 'Serial to USB', 'Parallel to USB' adaptor cables, or USB extension cables to connect your device as such cables lack the consistency of a standard connection.

  4. Check that the paper type selection in the printer driver matches the paper loaded in the printer and the print quality selection is appropriate.

      The higher the print quality setting, the longer the print job will take to print. Selecting incorrect printer or printer driver settings can also cause print quality problems.

      For example, printing a text document will be slower if 'Premium Glossy Photo Paper' has been selected when 'Plain Paper' is loaded in the printer. Similarly, printing would be slow if 'Best Photo' quality has been selected when only a lower print quality such as 'Text' is required.

      1. Open the Printers folder (Start > Settings > Printers, or Start > Control Panel > Printers / Printers & Faxes / Printers and Other Hardware / Devices and Printers).

      2. Right-click on the Epson printer icon and left-click Properties (Windows 98, ME) or Printing Preferences (Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8).

      3. Click the Main tab.

      4. Click on the Reset Defaults button, or change the settings as appropriate. Click OK to save the settings.

        • 'Plain papers' and 'Text' quality settings are recommended for general printing.

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  5. General Tips. Click on the show icon for general information on how to remedy slower printing.

    Just as printing at a high resolution requires more processing time than printing at a low resolution, printing in colour takes longer than printing in Black and White because the volume of data in a colour document is much larger. For this reason, it is important to be selective in your use of colour printing if you also require a fast print speed.

    However, even if your document requires the highest resolution and extensive use of colour, for example when you are printing a camera-ready composite that includes colour photographs, it may still be possible to optimize the print speed by adjusting other print settings and changing the operating environment. Keep in mind that some settings that increase the print speed may also lower print quality.

    The following table lists the factors that affect print speed and print quality.

    Print quality
    Print Speed
    Printer settings Paper & Quality options
    Print Quality
    Fast Economy,
    Economy, Draft,
    Fine, Super Fine,
    Best Photo,
    Photo RPM
    High Speed On Off
    Image Characteristics Image size Small Large
    Resolution Low High
    *Varies depending on the media type.

    The table below lists the factors affecting print speed only.

    Print Speed Faster Slower
    Printer settings Orientation Portrait Landscape
    Black Ink Only On Off
    Mirror Image* Off On
    Edge Smoothing* Off On
    PhotoEnhance Off On
    Collate* Off On
    Reverse Order* Off On
    Hardware resources System speed Faster Slower
    Free hard disk memory Large Small
    Available memory Large Small
    Software status Running applications One Many
    *Varies depending on the printer driver and application.

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  6. Check if High Speed is enabled in the printer driver. This setting may only be available on certain quality and paper selections, depending on the driver.

    1. Open the printer driver from the Printers, Printers and Faxes or Devices and Printers folder:

    2. The window will open on the Main tab. Click on the Advanced tab.

      For some drivers the Advanced section is accessed in a different way:

      1. Click on the Advanced button in the bottom-right of the Main tab. Click Continue if an information Note... window appears:

      2. For older drivers, locate the Mode section on the Main tab.

      3. Click the Custom radio button under Mode.

      4. Click the Advanced button.

    3. In Advanced, locate the High Speed setting on the left.

      • If a tick is in the box, High Speed printing is enabled. Move to Step 7.
      • If a tick is not in this box, High Speed printing is not enabled.

    4. Click into the box to place a tick by High Speed. This enables high speed printing.

    5. Click on OK to save the setting, and then print a document to check the print speed.

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  7. Open the printer driver from the Printers, Printers and Faxes or Devices and Printers folder and check if High Speed Copies is enabled in Speed & Progress.

    1. Open Start > Control Panel > Printers / Printers and Faxes Devices and Printers, then open the printer's properties:

      • Windows 95, 98 and ME: Right-click the icon for your Epson printer. Left-click on Properties from the menu.

      • Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8: Right-click on the icon for your Epson printer. Left-click on Printing Preferences from the menu.

    2. Click on the Maintenance tab (or the Utility tab if it is present):

    3. Click on Speed & Progress.

    4. In Speed & Progress, check that High Speed Copies is selected.

    5. If not selected, click into the box beside High Speed Copies to enable this setting then click on OK to save it. Re-open Speed & Progress for Step 8 below.

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  8. Check the other settings in Speed & Progress and compare them to the table below.

    The specific features available in the printer software vary depending on the printer model and the version of Windows that you are using. The table below lists the factors affecting print speed:

    Print Speed Faster Slower
    High Speed Copies On Off
    Always spool RAW datatype On Off
    Page rendering Mode On Off
    Print as Bitmap On Off

    If your printer has and is using a Parallel interface on Windows 95, 98, 98SE, or ME, we recommend the following:

    1. Some drivers have an option for EPSON Printer Port.

    2. For printers using the Parallel interface, select this check box to enable the EPSON Printer Port. Click OK.

      • This is optimised for EPSON printers, instead of the Windows default printer port. This speeds up the data transfer rate to EPSON printers.

      • Parallel interface users can further increase print speed by enabling DMA transfer on computers that support ECP mode.

      See Related Article Windows 95, 98, ME: Using the EPSON Printer Port and enabling DMA transfer for parallel printers for further information.

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  9. Create a new spool folder on the hard drive and point the driver to it.

  10. Print a Windows Test Page from the General tab of the Epson driver. See Related Article How to Print a Test Page in Windows for assistance.

    If the Test Page prints correctly, try printing a different document. If another document does not print properly, try reducing the size of the data sent to the printer sending a standard text document or smaller photo file.

  11. Summary:

    • Large photo files may not print quickly, this is normally due to the resources of the host system.

    • The Epson Stylus range is host-based and thus the print job is processed by the computer.

    • Factors such as installed RAM, virtual memory, free hard drive space, application can affect the printing time, especially with large files such as a large photo, banner or panoramic print.

    • A photo printed with EPSON Easy Photo Print may take longer than a photo printed using Windows' default, native photo viewer program.

    • If this does not print quickly, try reducing the size of the data sent to the printer.

  12. If the issue is still present:

    If printing is still slow after following the checks above, see one of the following Related Articles and follow the guidance from the beginning of the article:

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