Configuring Parallel Port Hardware

How you configure a parallel port may significantly impact performance and overall capabilities. Even on new systems that include capable parallel port hardware, the parallel port mode is often set to SPP by default. Many people unintentionally cripple the performance of their parallel ports simply because they don’t know that better choices than the default are available.

The first step to configure a parallel port for optimum performance is to determine the capabilities of the port hardware. Examining the documentation may help, but documentation is often cursory, misleading, or missing entirely. Without detailed documentation, the easiest way to determine the capabilities of the parallel port hardware is to download and run Parallel.exe, which is available from many Internet file repository sites.

On older motherboards and expansion cards, you may have to set the mode by using a jumper. On newer systems, you can usually set the mode using the BIOS Setup program. The parallel port modes available are determined first by the capabilities of the port hardware itself. Even if the hardware supports all modes, however, the BIOS may not, so you may be limited in the choices you can make. In general, use the following guidelines when selecting a parallel port mode:

SPP Mode

SPP Mode, which the BIOS may also call Standard Mode , Basic Mode , 4-bit Mode , or Unidirectional Mode , is the least-common-denominator choice, and corresponds to the original ...

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