Solving As/400 Printing Problems In A Snap}

Submitted by: John Andersen

After ten years I find that, other than dealing with job contention and working batch jobs through clogged subsystems, printing tends to be an issue that prompts a user to call for help. And of course sometimes the job system and printing go hand in hand, it all depends on the job though.

So let’s break down the printing aspects of the AS/400 to get a much better and more thorough understanding of it and where to look to troubleshoot common or routine printing types of issues related to output queues and device descriptions.

As I just eluded to, first up is your output queues. The output queues or outqs are the queues where all printable output is stored before it is printed to a physical printer. When a job on the system, any job, creates a report or something that can be printed that document, known as a spool file, is stored in an output queue. And you can virtually have an unlimited number of outqs on any given AS/400.


Documents within an outq can have different statuses as well. It can be ready to print, held so it won’t actually printed or in a save status which means that it has been printed but a copy is still retained in the output queue so the spool file can be reprinted. The save status is a good thing to know in case you have reports that can’t be regenerated you can set them to save just in case something goes wrong, like with checks if the printer jams up.

So commonly if someone is complaining about a printing issue the first place you will want to look is the output queue where there spool files reside. There could be a specific print job with a message waiting or the spool file could be on hold or the outq itself could be on hold. Simply release them using option six from the work with outq display and you should be good to go. If there is a message, then review the message and respond to it appropriately. I know this is rather vague but it would be nearly impossible to cover every possible message that can pop up for a spool file printing, typically though they will center around form types.

If you have checked the documents and everything seems to be in line then the issue may be with the printer itself. Now there are two ways printers are configured on the AS/400. The first, and original way was to use device descriptions and the second way is by using remote output queues.

Now there is a bit of a difference between the two. A device description will also have a matching output queue but a remote output queue does not have a device description. To work with the device description you can use the work with configuration status screen wrkcfgsts with the *dev parameter.

Sometimes it is necessary to vary a printers device description off and back on using this screen and then startup the writer. Nine times out of ten this will kick start the printer and get things flowing again provided all things are equal and there haven’t been any configuration changes.

When it comes to troubleshooting remote output queus there really isn’t much you can do, however to get one going again typically ending the writer using the endwtr command and then starting it back up again by using the start remote outq commandc strrmtoutq is enough to get the printer going again. If this fails be sure to ping the TCP/IP address of the outq to make sure that you have connectivity to the printer from the AS/400.

About the Author: John Andersen is a ten year veteran of the IT industry working with AS/400 and IBM i systems. Be sure to check out his site

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