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Determining Why Your Printer Won't Print From Family Roots

I've been told of a way to print using a USB printer - go to to download a "try-before-you-buy software" program to help. Thanks Bill (you know who you are) for the tip.

Every once in a while, someone will write saying they can no longer print from Family Roots on a PC. There are two possible reasons for this. I'll talk about the cheap solution first. The instructions are assuming you have Win95 and above. If you are still using prior to Win95, you will have to know how to shell to the dos prompt to do the test***.

Start > Programs > MS-Dos Prompt*** and then type:
dir *.dat >prn
and if that makes the directory of all your *.dat files print to the printer, then you know that the problem lies with your printer - and you should see the second possibility.

*** Go to dos by shelling, not rebooting into dos.

If that directory information does not show up on your printer, then your problem is almost certainly the printer cable. The dos part and the Windows part of a cable are seperate pieces. The dos part can fail without the Windows part failing. Buy a new printer cable. Every time I have had someone run this test, and it didn't print, and they got a new cable; the new cable has solved the problem.

The more expensive reason for FR no longer printing is because you got a new printer, and that new printer was not a Hewlett Packard and may not be *capable* of printing dos (all the HPs can, as far as I know). Canon has several of their Bubble Jets that will *not* print dos. I know that BJC-6000 is one, you might have to call Canon to find out if your model is also one.

I will mention here that you may get a tech support person (at Canon, or anywhere else for that matter) who is new enough that they don't know that dos programs are capable of printing direct to the printer without going through a driver. Just tell them that you need to talk to someone who has been around since the dos days because you have a unique situation. A Windows driver is NOT the problem, no matter what they say.

If you have a BJC-6000 or any other printer that will not print dos, then find an old cheap printer for printing FR. You can usually find older model Hewlett Packards on eBay pretty cheap.

A very rare solution (only one person that I'm aware of) is in the spooling. If your cable passes the test, and FR still won't work - even after you've re-selected the printer in FR, then try this:

MyComputer > Printers > right click on your printer > choose properties
Someplace in there you will find something about Spool Settings (for an HP it's in the details tab, it may be same place for Canon).
One person I know of had various printer problems solved by making sure that the settings are as below.
x Spool print jobs so program finished printing faster
x Start printing after first page is spooled
Spool data format: EMF

If you have tried all of these things, and you have the last version of FR (4.4d), and FR still won't print, I'm not sure what else to try, but you can write me and we can set up a phone consult (for which I charge), and I'll talk you through the tests again to see if you missed something, and we can talk about anything that might be unusual about your setup.