Microsoft KB Archive/105249

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Knowledge Base

Serial Printers May Print Garbage During Windows NT Startup

Article ID: 105249

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

This article was previously published under Q105249


If a printer is attached to the serial port (COMx) of a system running Windows NT, the printer may eject blank pages or print garbage during the startup of Windows NT.


When you start Windows NT, NTDETECT gathers information on the hardware that is installed in the system. One of the functions that NTDETECT performs is a search for the pointing device (usually a mouse). In the course of this process, data is sent to the serial ports. This data may be interpreted by the printer as incoming information upon which to act. Depending on the baud rate setting and the particular printer attached, this may result in the ejection of printed pages with random characters or unprinted pages.


To work around this problem, make sure that the power is off on the printer before you start Windows NT. After Windows NT is loaded, then turn the printer back on.

You can also specify "/noserialmice:com(n)" on the BOOT.INI file.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Windows NT version 3.1 and Windows NT Advanced Server version 3.1. This problem has been corrected in the latest U.S. Service Pack for Windows NT and Windows NT Advanced Server version 3.1. For information on obtaining the Service Pack, query on the following word in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (without the spaces):


Additional query words: prodnt garbage junk

Keywords: kbbug kbfix kbsetup KB105249