Photoshop: Error Message: “Could not print because of a disk error.”

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  • Updated 6 years ago
  • (Edited)
My headline is that I have fixed my printing problem. I am distressed to realize that it’s likely to recur (v.i.). Without researching how to reach responsible persons at Adobe, I’m resorting to this route to make my thoughts known. I appeal to you to pass them on to whoever is in charge. I’ll take the risk that you will just close my case and trash my comments. After all, why should you care? The answer is: because Adobe is going “down the tubes” and your job will go with it. I’ll try to post this also in a forum.

In an attempt to salvage my self respect after spending too much money and time on PS CS5, I have spent many hours searching for a solution to this error-message problem. I finally hit upon three threads in the “Community Help” forum. There I discovered many other users who have suffered with the same problem. The threads were found by going to http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop.html and searching for: “Error Message: Could not print because of a disk error.”

Those who were able to fix the problem did so by changing one or another print-dialog settings, but at least one by changing temporarily to 32-bit mode. Empirically, I changed such settings until I successfully got printing going again. Although I was pleased to get CS5 working, the “work-around” was not at all satisfying because it suggests that the software is alarmingly fragile; and, as one user observed, it will recur because the fix is at best temporary.

With all due respect to Chris Cox’s persistent assertions that the problem is in the print drivers or the OS, I am convinced that there’s at least one bug in the PS CS5 program. My guess is that there is a flag bit that when set invokes the error message and that normal use of PS CS5 causes that bit to be changed accidentally; and altering print-dialog settings causes a cleanup that returns the bit to its innocuous state. I can imagine, for example, that there is a status word in which a bit is allocated to the disk error condition, with other bits coding print settings so that when the latter are changed the status word is rewritten, thereby repairing the errant bit. A reasonable strategy might be to find in the software the flag for the offending error message and then determine what parts of the code address the flag (or status word), intentionally or otherwise.

The bug has been troublesome since at least October of 2010. The fact that it has not been found and fixed in over 18 months should be a major embarrassment to Adobe, unless Adobe doesn’t care. I suppose it’s cheaper to arm customer-support clerks with a cookbook and let them flail around while maintaining the illusion that they are capable of solving the problem. That’s a business model doomed to fail as it further decays Adobe’s reputation. If the program were robust it might be worth what you charge for it, but I suspect what has happened is that Adobe started out with good software but then let it deteriorate into “spaghetti code” that is no longer maintainable. As a predictable result, you can anticipate that Adobe’s dominance of the image-processing field will be lost. New start-ups are beginning to capitalize on Photoshop's unreliability and will likely take over – sic transit gloria mundi. I have been a loyal Photoshop user for many years but my current exasperation motivates me to take a serious look at Gimp/Gimpshop, Pixelmator, Photoline, and possibly Pixel Image Editor. It may be time for me to move on.
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Lewis Thomas

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Posted 6 years ago

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Chris Cox

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There is no such "flag bit", and the problems keep getting traced to missing files in the printer drivers, or obvious bugs in the printer drivers (when they request files in the wrong location). The error is returned by the OS when Photoshop calls it to process print commands. We've looked for such errors in Photoshop, and found none.

We have yet to reproduce this problem when there was not a clearly identifiable problem with the printer driver. And yes, the printer drivers can have different code (and DLLs, so files) for 32 and 64 bit, so they can have problems in 64 bit that don't show up in 32 bit.

In short: this a lot of evidenced that this is a driver problem, and no evidence that this could be a Photoshop problem.

Your next step should be to completely uninstall the driver for your printer, reboot, then reinstall it to make sure it is installed correctly. If the problem continues, then you need to work with the printer vendor to determine why the driver is looking for a missing file or returning an incorrect error.
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Derek Greczyn

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I was receiving this same error message on a user's computer at my company. Started by running software updates and applejack to repair permissions - no luck. Reinstalled all printer drivers - no luck. Tried changing print settings within print dialogue box in photoshop - no luck. Tried launching PS is 32 bit mode - no luck.

I ended up having to trash the Photoshop preferences (psp) file located here:

user\library\preferences\adobe photoshop cs5 settings\adobe photoshop cs5 prefs.psp

Deleting this file and letting PS rebuild it solved the issue. Every adobe message board I looked at in reference to this issue suggested that it was a problem with the print drivers. This is incorrect. This had nothing to do with print drivers, it was the Photoshop preferences.
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Lewis Thomas

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It might help if Chris Cox would share with us and the printer-driver authors what are the "clearly identifiable problem[s] with the printer driver[s]." Given that the problem is manifest with so many different printers, the printer-driver diagnosis seems improbable. Moreover, most of us have tried uninstalling and reinstalling up-to-date printer drivers to no avail whereas resetting the preferences one way or another always seems to heal the problem.

Because this problem is degrading Adobe's reputation, and as Adobe seems so confident that the fault is with the printer drivers, it would seem prudent for Adobe to work with the printer-driver authors to get it right and distribute corrected drivers. As it is, Adobe and their users seem to be talking past each other.
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Chris Cox

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We can only share the non-public details with the vendors responsible, and we have been sharing that information with the printer vendors.

The problem only known to happen with a few models of printer.

And some users have already documented missing color profiles, missing DLLs, and missing configuration files that resulted in the error.
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Derek Greczyn

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That's all well and good, but my problem had nothing to do with missing color profiles, missing DLLs, missing configuration files, printer drivers, or printers at all for that matter.

Would you care to elaborate on why that might be?
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Lewis Thomas

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According to Chris Cox's last message, Adobe knows what the problem is and has notified the printer vendors; but I have checked with HP and they offer no updates to fix the problem. Am I to conclude that a solution to the problem is known (according to Chris Cox) but the vendors refuse to correct it? If so, please let me know who to contact at HP so I can appeal for a fix. Actually, both Derek and I are suspicious of Chris's insistence that it's the printer drivers that are at fault. Note that Chris has not responded to Derek's 19-day-old appeal. So far, Chris has been of no help beyond his perseverations about drivers. He might just as well say, "It's all Bush's fault." What we need is action by someone in authority at Adobe who knows what they are doing.
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Chris Cox

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We've notified the vendors of the problems - but we cannot fix bugs in third party printer drivers. There's not even a way for us to work around the problems we've seen. The "solution" is for the printer vendor to supply all the files, or correctly specify the printer profiles to the OS.

There is no action for us to take (beyond fussing at printer vendors again).
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Lewis Thomas

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OK, then can you tell us which printer vendors have complete and robust drivers so I can replace mine before the warranty runs out?
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Derek Greczyn

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Again, I will reiterate, this is not a problem with any print drivers.
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Karyn Pei

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I suddenly had this problem TWICE in the last week. The first time I fixed the problem after reading on a blog to trash preferences. The second time, all I did was change some printer settings when the menu opens after hitting "print".
If it happens again, I'll send another comment.

It's strange that it suddenly happens after not banking any changes in either printer driver or the application, or to my computer in any way whatsoever.