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Office 2007 and Printing Envelopes as Gibberish
Monday, 23 February 2009 21:56

We experienced some issues with printing envelopes at the office under our freshly installed Office 2007. When printing an envelope for an old/existing document, it printed the address as gibberish on our Laserjet 4300 printers. When you go into the envelopes function, and go into the font option, it defaults to "+Headings", which is really defaulting to the "Headings" font in Word 2007, which is Cambria. Selecting the document and re-picking the "Times New Roman" font, even though its already TNR, fixes the problem. All that does is get Word to not use the Cambria font, which is one workaround. Why this happens in Word is beyond me, and if it defaulted to the proper font, we wouldn't have this problem.

My workstation happens to work ok and doesn't reproduce the problem, so I know there's some difference I need to find.

In comparing the two, I found my workstation's Cambria font file was created 8:12pm, vs 9:12pm on the user's workstation. Why this is I don't know, and copying my font file over didn't help the problem.

I then went into the font viewer under the control panel, and did a test print of the font on the user's workstation. This produced the same gibberish, ruling out Office 2007/Word 2007 as the culprit.

Lastly, I printed to a different printer, which printed fine. That points me at the printer or printer driver.

I did a "printer test page" on both my worksation and the user's, to compare the versions of files the driver is using. The printer driver is the exact same version between mine and her's, however, I noticed that unires.dll, uniresgui.dll, and unidrv.dll are all newer on mine. AHA! Finally something definitive.

I believe I loaded some update on mine that she didn't get yet, thus causing the version discrepancy. The scary part is - what other printing problems will creep up if I update her workstation to a newer unidrv package.

 Anyhow, I found lots of posts on this and the typical hacks like "send truetype fonts as bitmaps", which does work, but in my mind is a hack. Obviously there's a bug with unidrv not generating the Cambria font properly - whether its the cambria font or the unidrv thats the problem, who knows, but at least this article dives deeper into this problem for whoever may be interested. I'll post an update when/if I get her workstation updated to a newer unidrv package.

How to fix a disabled VGASAV system (Part 1)
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 02:39

Man I really hopes this helps just one person. I spent HOURS figuring this out trying to save an XP Install...

I was working on a small touch-screen computer trying to get its drivers up and running correctly. One thing that was giving me problems was the video driver. The computer has a built in Chips & Tech 69000 video card/chip, however loading the driver wouldn't work. When I go to the properties of the display adapter, it gives me "VGASAV".

What is VGASAV? Apparently it is the default Windows driver that functions when the video card driver does not. It is called VGASAVE.


Apparently, in some cases, without the chipset inf file being loaded, Windows XP mistakes one of the motherboard chips as being the video card, and as such, the video driver fails to load, hence, the VGASAV driver.


Disabling the VGASAV device essentially disables your only working display driver. As such, Windows will still boot fine, that is if you like a blank screen! Guess what - this goes for safe mode too! I mistakengly did this because I figured the VGASAV driver was stopping the real driver from working. In poking around Google, apparently I'm not the only one! (I felt a little better)

How to fix:

First off, I'm going to assume the computer still boots normally to the desktop, with no windows popping up for these instructions. With any luck, if your computer does open something, you're familiar enough with it that you can work around it blindly. If the injured computer is on a network and can still be browsed/referenced by computer name, even better! Secondly, I'm also assuming you have access to a second computer with internet access to download a utility from Microsoft. If not, try to find someone who can help you out.

1. Download a utility from Microsoft called Devcon, available here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311272
(Devcon is a command-line version of the device manager in Windows)

2. Expand the archive file and get devcon.exe out. Copy it to a USB drive, or simpler, a floppy drive if one is available on the injured PC.

3. Boot the injured PC up and let it completely boot (hard drive light calms down). Once its done, insert the floppy into the drive. If using a USB drive, hopefully you can guess which drive letter it is. Follow these instructions very carefully to a T to restore display functionality. This will walk you through using the computer blindly without the monitor:

  • Press CTRL-ESC (brings up start menu)
  • Press R (for "Run")
  • type cmd (takes you to a command prompt)
  • type a: (substitute the usb key drive letter here if you know it)
  • type devcon enable @root\legacy_vgasave\0000   (hopefully enables VGASAVE)
  • type exit (closes command prompt)
  • Press CTRL-ESC (brings up start menu again)
  • Press U, then R.  (selects Shutdown (u), then Reboot (R))

Hopefully now you should see some hard drive activity, and the system should reboot. With any luck, the computer should come back as normal. Stay tuned for an update when I get the actual video driver to work, and not VGASAVE.

Here's a couple good reference I used to learn how to use Devcon (especiall the @ symbol!):





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