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Printer Grayed Out in an Hour Caused by Duplicate Workstation ID

Release Date: 11/22/22
Version: 7.5 & Up

Q - I’m using a laser form and selecting tray 3 and Preprinted from the Paper/Quality table of the HP laserjet printer. I'm having an issue on two computers where our custom configuration for a printer is grayed out. I have deleted the grayed-out configuration, added it back and it will work for an hour or so and then will be grayed out again. During this time, the computer has not been re-booted or exited from Elliott for that matter. This is causing us issues. Do you have any idea why this is suddenly happening? Where are the printer settings saved?

AThe printer setting data is saved in the PRINT*.BTR table. In this case, the PRINTDTL.BTR table is an  especially important one since that is where the “Printer Dev Mode” data is saved. Printer Dev Mode contains info specific to the printer like “selecting tray 3 info.”

When you delete the printer configuration and add it back, the “Printer Dev Mode” will be captured and saved in the PRINTDTL.BTR table. When you bring up the “Print Option” window later on, the system will attempt to connect to that printer with the “Printer Dev Mode” info. If it fails, then the printer configuration will be grayed out. So the issue is why is the connection from the workstation to the printer failing?

I have seen that Windows service pack updates can cause the Printer Dev Mode to mismatch. Printer driver info (like Post Script) updated in SP can affect the Printer Dev Mode. But since this is happening in an hour, that’s unlikely to be the reason.

The other potential issue is whether you have users sharing the same workstation ID. The data stored in PRINT*.BTR is based on the following two key values:
  • Workstation-ID
  • TaskName
Workstation-ID is controlled by you. The TaskName is the particular printing program, such as “CPINVPRT” for invoice printing. If you have two workstations sharing the same Workstation-ID, that could be problematic with printing. That means two physically different workstations with different printer drivers and OS environments can override each other’s printer settings as they print. I am not sure if that’s true in your case. This is just a wild guess. Prior to Elliott 8.5, we were depending on Elliott users to assign the unique workstation ID, but we did not detect that there were duplicate workstation IDs assigned, so this is a possible scenario that can cause printing issues.

In Elliott 8.5 and up, the Elliott user list will show the workstation ID used by each workstation and hence it is easy to detect if there’s a workstation ID duplication. See sample screen below:

If you do have duplicate workstation ID, please refer to following KB article on how to change workstation ID:

I hope the above explanation will help to resolve your issue.

Response from the user later:
Thank you for the detailed explanation. I found two duplicate workstation IDs. Those are the computers that are experiencing the issue. One of the computers was a spare that hasn’t been turned on since before COVID. I’m guessing that is why this hasn’t happened before. Hopefully that was it.


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