Jump to content

Configuring the Parallel Port to Communicate with the All-in-One

  • PrintPrint

Introduction

Many HP all-in-one products that use a parallel port connection require that the parallel port be set to Enhanced Capabilities Port (ECP) mode before they will work correctly. ECP is a Parallel Port mode that is available on most computers to increase the speed at which data is transmitted and is set in the computer's BIOS settings.
The BIOS is a set of computer instructions that are loaded into a memory chip on the computer's motherboard. The instructions in the BIOS coordinate communication between the operating system and the computer hardware. The BIOS is independent of the version of Windows that you use. The BIOS software can be updated by downloading newer software from the manufacturer of the computer or motherboard.
NOTE: Changing the version of Windows installed on the computer does not affect the BIOS of the computer. In Microsoft (R) Windows XP and 2000, the Parallel Port settings must be set in the Parallel Port properties to establish two-way communication. The Port settings are changed back to the default value every time the Parallel Port mode is changed in the BIOS and must be changed to correct the settings. Refer to the information below to set the port settings. Verify that the version of Windows operating system installed on the computer is supported by the all-in-one software you have. Do not install HP all-in-one software that is designed for another Windows operating system. If you have the wrong software, visit the HP all-in-one support Web site and download or obtain the correct HP all-in-one software drivers. If you encounter problems while using ECP mode or if ECP mode is not available, use standard bidirectional, SPP, PS2, or AT-compatible mode, depending on which options are available in the BIOS.

Checking if ECP is enabled

The only way to verify that the parallel port is set to ECP mode is to look in the computers BIOS settings. The parallel port mode can also be checked in the parallel port properties of the Device Manager, but the Device Manager information is not always accurate. You must check the BIOS on computers that run Windows NT 4.0 because there is no Device Manager in NT 4.0.
Once the Parallel Port settings are changed to ECP mode, Windows and the HP all-in-one product software will use ECP automatically. ECP may not work on some systems, particularly portable computers. To find out if a system is in ECP mode and to change the settings for the parallel port in the computer's BIOS settings, complete the following steps:
  1. Open the Device Manager .
    Windows 95, 98, and Me
    Right-click MyComputer from the Windows desktop, and then click Properties .
    Click the Device Manager tab.
    Windows 2000 and XP
    Right-click MyComputer from the Windows desktop, and then click Properties (in Windows XP, click Start , and then click Properties ).
    Click the Hardware tab.
    Click the Device Manager button in the middle of the Hardware tab.
  2. Double-click Ports in the list, and then select the reference to LPT1 . You may not see “ECP” next to the reference for LPT1.
  3. Double-click the parallel port entry that the all-in-one is installed on, usually the LPT1Parallel Port entry, to open the Parallel Port properties.
  4. Click the Resources tab. If the parallel port is in ECP mode, two I/O ranges will be listed. If there are not two I/O ranges listed, then the parallel port is not in ECP mode.
  5. One input/output range should start at 0378 for LPT1 or 0278 for LPT2. This is the system address range reserved for those ports. If an input/output range is not 0378 for LPT1 or 0278 for LPT2, the setting must be changed or the HP all-in-one will not work correctly. Contact the manufacturer of the computer for assistance changing the resource setting.
    NOTE: Even if the parallel port entry is "ECP Printer Port" and has two input output ranges, the mode may be "ECP and EPP." “ECP and EPP” mode may not work correctly. The only way to verify that the mode is accurate is to check in the BIOS of the computer.

Check interrupts and DMA channels before setting ECP mode

Before changing the parallel port mode, check the interrupt request and the available Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels. When changing the parallel port mode to the ECP setting, the BIOS may require that the interrupt request and DMA channels be set also.
  1. In the Device Manager, do one of the following:
    • Windows 95, 98, and Me: Double-click Computer , and then click the View Resources tab. Write down the interrupt used.
    • Windows 2000 and XP: Select ResourcesbyConnection from the View menu. Write down the interrupt used for the parallel port.
  2. Select the DMA section. Review the DMA channels already used. Write down the channels that have been used.
  3. Exit the DeviceManager .
    NOTE: Windows manages this specific DMA request. The HP all-in-one product does not make specific DMA requests.

Viewing and editing the BIOS settings

The method for entering the BIOS will vary depending on the computer or motherboard manufacturer and model. Some portable computers have a configuration utility that can be used to make BIOS changes but normally the BIOS is entered while the computer is starting up. Restart the computer and watch the screen for the message, “Press (Key) To Enter Setup” or similar message. Press the key indicated while the message is on the screen to enter the BIOS.
The following table lists some of the most common keyboard keys and methods used to enter the BIOS for various computer manufacturers. If the computer manufacturer or the model is not listed, or you cannot enter or navigate in the BIOS, contact the manufacturer and ask for assistance and information on BIOS updates.
Computer make or modelPress this key to enter the BIOS
Compaq Presario Press the F10 key at the red Compaq logo as the computer starts.
Dell Dimension Press the DELETE key as the computer starts.
Dell OptiPlex Press the F2 key or CTRL + ALT + ENTER keys as the computer starts.
Dell Latitude (except LM) Press the FN + F1 keys simultaneously at any time.
Dell Inspiron and Latitude LM Press the F2 key as the computer starts.
Emachines Press the DELETE key as the computer starts.
Gateway Press the F1 key as the computer starts.
HP Pavilion (most models) Press the F1 key at the blue HP screen as the computer starts.
HP Vectra and Kayak Press the F2 key at the blue HP screen as the computer starts.
IBM ThinkPad Press the FN + F1 keys simultaneously at any time.
IBM Aptiva Press the F1 key at the blue IBM screen as the computer starts.

Locating the Parallel Port settings

CAUTION: Change only the settings listed below. Changing the wrong option may cause computer problems. Consult the manufacturer of the computer if you have any questions about making changes in the BIOS. If you think you have changed the wrong setting, do not save the changes when you exit from the BIOS. If you do not save the changes, you will retain the original settings.

Newer AMI, Award and Phoenix BIOS

There are three main companies that supply the BIOS for computers: AMI, Award, and Phoenix. The name of the company should be listed near the top of the BIOS screen. Complete the following steps to locate the Parallel Port settings for the newer versions of BIOS provided by AMI, Award, and Phoenix. Please note that these steps may not work for an older BIOS version or for BIOS provided by a different company.
  • Newer Phoenix and AMI BIOS:
    1. From the Main menu, go to AdvancedPeripheralConfiguration .
    2. Select ParallelPortMode .
    3. Use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys to change the settings.
  • Award BIOS:
    1. From the Main menu, go to IntegratedPeripherals , and Configure I/O or Integrated I/O Ports .
    2. Select Parallel Port Mode .
    3. Use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys to change the settings.

Generic BIOS instructions

If you cannot change the BIOS with the steps above, read the following information:
The method used to navigate within the BIOS varies, depending on the manufacturer and version of the BIOS. The arrow keys or the mouse are usually used to move around within the BIOS settings. You normally make changes by using the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys or F7 and F8 keys.
Use the Help feature of the BIOS, when available, to learn how to navigate and make changes. The parallel port settings may be located in the Peripheral Configuration, Advanced, Communication, or BIOS setup menus. There may also be a submenu called I ntegrated Peripherals, Integrated I/O ports, Ports, or Communications. You may need to scroll through all of the options under the main BIOS settings page.

Changing the Parallel Port settings

When the parallel port settings have been located, complete the following steps:
  1. Look above the port mode to see if there is an option to configure the parallel port. The configuration for the parallel port should be set to Enabled or Auto . If the parallel port is set to be configured by the operating system or OS-controlled, change this setting to Enabled .
  2. Change the port mode from the current setting (if not ECP already) to ECP. If ECP is not an available choice, select ECP/EPP, PS/2, AT-compatible, BiDi, or SPP in descending order of preference.
  3. If the BIOS requires that an Interrupt request and/or DMA channel be set for the port, use the original interrupt request as determined above and/or a free DMA channel.
  4. Select the option to save the settings and then exit the BIOS.
  5. The computer will restart. After Windows restarts, open the Device Manager to check that the Parallel port is set to ECP mode.

The Windows 2000 and XP Port Settings tab

Windows 2000 and XP have an additional tab in the Parallel Port properties for Port settings. These settings must be changed after altering the BIOS settings or the computer and the HP all-in-one will not be able to communicate with each other.
  1. Right-click MyComputer from the Windows desktop and then click Properties (click Start first in Windows XP).
  2. Click the Hardware tab.
  3. Click Device Manager .
  4. Double-click Ports in the list, and double-click the parallel port reference to open the PortProperties screen.
  5. Click the Port Settings tab.
  6. Select the option Use any interrupt assigned to the port and select Enable legacy Plug and Play detection .
  7. Click OK to save the changes, and then close the Device Manager .

Dell computers

Dells that use the XT and AT-compatible Parallel Port mode in BIOS

Many late 1990s Dell Precision and Optiplex computers use a different bidirectional parallel port mode. Windows may not be able to configure itself for this bidirectional parallel port mode. Instead of having the normal ECP, EPP or Standard bidirectional BIOS settings for the parallel port, the settings are labeled XT, AT, or PS-2 compatible.
The AT and PS-2-compatible settings are supposed to be the bidirectional settings, but may not be compatible with the industry standard ECP mode that some HP all-in-one products require. The result is that the computer and the HP all-in-one product cannot communicate. Check the Dell Web site for any motherboard BIOS updates. Contact Dell for assistance, if necessary.

Possible solution

  1. Enter the BIOS of the computer by pressing F2 while the computer is starting up. Contact Dell for assistance with this task if necessary.
  2. In the BIOS setup screen, press the Down Arrow key repeatedly until you have highlighted Integrated Devices . Press Enter.
  3. Press the Down Arrow key repeatedly until you have highlighted Parallel Port . Press Enter.
  4. Press the Right Arrow key repeatedly until you see AT or PS-2 mode.
  5. Press the Esc key three times to exit Setup. You should see the message "Save Changes and Exit."
  6. Press the Enter key to save the changes and restart the computer.

Dell 8100 series

Those using the Dell 8100 series should verify that they have BIOS version A09 or higher. The BIOS version should be displayed as the computer starts up, or press F2 as the computer starts to enter the computer's BIOS Setup program.
If a new BIOS is downloaded and does not correct the problem, enter the BIOS and make the changes listed below to make the parallel port fully functional in ECP mode:

Solution

  1. Enter the BIOS using the steps above and change the Parallel Port mode to ECP .
  2. While changing the port mode, set the DMA channel to 1 .
  3. If the problem is still not corrected, uninstall the all-in-one software and then reinstall it.

Alternative solution

If the problem still occurs, complete the following steps:
  1. Enter the BIOS by pressing F2 while the computer is starting up. Contact Dell for assistance if necessary.
  2. In the BIOS setup screen, press the Down Arrow key repeatedly until you have highlighted Integrated Devices . Press Enter.
  3. Press the Down Arrow key repeatedly until Parallel Port is highlighted. Press Enter.
  4. Press the Right Arrow key repeatedly until PS-2 mode appears. Change the I/O address to 3BCH .
  5. Press the Esc key three times to exit setup. The message "Save Changes and Exit" will appear.
  6. Press Enter to save the changes and then restart the computer.

Why ECP mode is beneficial

Review the transfer rate information below. ECP mode is approximately 24 times faster than other parallel port modes and even faster than the USB 1.0/1.1 standard that is on most existing computer motherboards. Future revisions of USB (USB 2.0 hi-speed) and IEEE1394 (Firewire) connections are or will become faster, but require motherboards (or add-in cards) and peripherals that support those standards.
Connection typeTransfer rate (Megabits per second)
Serial port 0.92 Mbps
Standard parallel port 0.92 Mbps
USB 1.0/1.1 low speed 12 Mbps
USB 1.1 full speed 12 Mbps
ECP parallel port 24 Mbps
IEEE1394 (Firewire) 400 Mbps
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 480 Mbps
The benefits of ECP mode vary from computer to computer. The greatest increase in speed occurs with older 486 and Pentium (R) systems. Some systems, particularly portable computers, may have an ECP setting in the BIOS, but the actual hardware may not use this setting correctly, especially if a docking station is used. If there is incompatibility with ECP mode, the following types of problems may occur:
  • The product may print but not scan.
  • The product may scan but not print.
  • The product may print and scan very slowly.
  • The product may scan inconsistently
  • Communication errors may occur.

Contacting HP if the problem recurs

To contact HP technical support by e-mail or phone and to review other customer support options, click the Contact HP link on this page or locate the customer support information in the HP product manual.

Related support links

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
HP on YouTube