back to article Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

Microsoft's latest batch of software updates for Windows has been blamed for a mysterious ailment befalling some poor old Epson dot-matrix printers. Reg readers let us know that, after installing this week's Patch Tuesday payload from Redmond, their Windows boxes no longer work with Epson's dot matrix printers (which are still …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    FAIL

    backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

    pretty much what it says in the title.

    Their response is likely to be "upgrade your hardware to go along with our forced-update software"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

      " It is not unusual for Patch Tuesday releases to cause unintended stability problems"

      Well it is really. This isn't a stability problem and bugs that are stability problems are very rare versus quantity of patches...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        "This isn't a stability problem"

        I doubt the owners of these systems are too bothered about splitting hairs. Spitting feathers, maybe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "I doubt the owners of these systems are too bothered about splitting hairs. "

          A printer not working is not in anyway an OS "stability problem". It might be annoying if you are impacted but it's hardly splitting hairs to realise that.

          Not to mention that anyone in any sort of managed environment should still be testing this month's patches and not yet deploying to production....

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            "A printer not working is not in anyway an OS "stability problem"."

            Anything that causes the OS to stop doing what it should be doing and previously did do is a stability problem at one level or another.

            It worked.

            It's fallen over.

    2. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

      Upgrade your hardware..... Exactly what we were told to do years ago when MS Vista failed to support a large format A0 design office printer. I don't know what these cost today, but back then they cost about £3000.

      Then we discovered that Ubuntu/CUPS did support the printer, so we updated our software instead, and have not looked back since.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        Yep, I recall at the time I was looking for a new PC, but MS and the all the hardware manufacturers had colluded and decided that Vista = new hardware all round. For example my perfectly good scanner that worked fine with XP would be deliberately not supported in Vista due to a lack of drivers.

        So in the end I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner. I too have not looked back. Every now an again I fire up Win10 in a VM to see what's going on, and am reminded that I made the right choice.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          I bought a brand new office printer 6 months before Win7 came out - and found I could only use all its features if I had XP installed; the Win7 driver was the generic M$ job, and the Vista driver was a pile of steaming dung that BSOD'ed anything but a basic print job.

          I am now off to dig out my ancient Pana dot matrix, to see if it still works.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner"

          I've seen Canon recently scrambling at each release of macOS because Apple changed something and its scanners/printersa and even camera software stopped working.

          See for example: https://www.canon-europe.com/support/consumer_products/operating_system_information/?=j+e

          Anyway drivers are up to the HW maker, you can't really expect an OS deliver drivers for each and every device ever produced. Especially complex ones like scanners or printers which may have very specific functions.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: "I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner"

            "Anyway drivers are up to the HW maker, you can't really expect an OS deliver drivers for each and every device ever produced. Especially complex ones like scanners or printers which may have "

            You can expect an OS not to dick around with the HAL to such an extent that new drivers are ever needed. Indeed, beyond the occasional "big shift" there is SFA reason for hardware drivers to break. Not that FOSS is always much better (looking at Firefox, that recently fucked over useful API's) but you are not so much at other's mercy if it does change...

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "You can expect an OS not to dick around with the HAL"

              The HAL (whish is Windows specific) has nothing to do with drivers, it looks you have no knowledge of drivers development. It's also funny that one reason for the new hardware model was to simplify it, being the older one much more complex - and now some drivers can be implemented in user space.

              Sometimes, changes are inevitable, because hardware evolves as well, and kernel has to cope. Or people would complain the OS is outdated.

              Apple changes its driver model as it see fits as well - just look on forums for the issues Canon had with the latest releases of macOS. Just Canon worked to fix the issues (and had no issues with Windows, meanwhile). Reputable hardware provider do update their drivers. Others are just happy to force you to buy a new device.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner"

            "Anyway drivers are up to the HW maker, you can't really expect an OS deliver drivers for each and every device ever produced. Especially complex ones like scanners or printers which may have very specific functions."

            What you can do is ensure that the driver interface is stable. If a new driver interface has to be provided then ensure that some means is available - a shim or the old module - to enable the old one to be used even if it's not the standard.

            The functions of an update shouldn't include breaking things that are working legitimately.

            Unfortunately this has become forgotten in the IT industry to the extent of various comments here to the effect of "so-what". Then there are complaints, maybe even from the same commentards, that essential medical diagnostics of whatever are still running on XP. And, no, you can't reasonably expect that the customer will just go out and buy the latest whatever the chunk of hardware is. The old one may not yet have performed the body of work for which its purchase was originally justified.

          3. dbayly

            Re: "I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner"

            <quote>you can't really expect an OS deliver drivers for each and every device ever produced. Especially complex ones like scanners or printers which may have very specific functions.</quote>

            I suspect more and more people do really expect just that. I certainly do. And especially for complex ones (i.e expensive ones) like scanners or printers with very specific functions. An OS choice doesn't give the manufacturer a licence to determine what hardware you should choose. The ever onward strategy of the OS companies is a business choice, they want to generate more revenue. It's worked well for them; I see no problem with requiring some of that revenue to be dedicated to maintaining functionality.

            Keeping security patches entirely separate from feature patches might be a good start.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "For example my perfectly good scanner that worked fine with XP would be deliberately not supported in Vista due to a lack of drivers."

          I picked up a very nice scanner for free back then through FreeCycle because the user "upgraded" to Vista. It worked very nicely on the current FreeBSD of the time and still does now on the latest FreeBSD 11.

        4. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "So in the end I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner"

          Jesus, how expensive was the scanner that made the cost benefit swing in the direction of buying a mac?

        5. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "So in the end I got myself a Mac and could still use my scanner. I too have not looked back. "

          Just another comment to make mention of the fact that I know a good number of people so pissed off with apple switching to intel and forcing them to upgrade a shit tonne of really expensive software that they jumped to cheaper PCs when their old powerPC kit needed replaced.

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        It's hardly colluding between MS and the driver creators. MS gave manufacturers a huge amount of notice the driver model was changing, the manufacturers decided it wasn't economic to create new drivers. In a minority of cases MS realised the hardware was so widespread that drivers simply had to be available.

        For a 3K printer, which you'd normally still be paying a service charge on, it's unforgivable the manufacturer wouldn't support it. I don't see why MS should code a driver for what would be an extremely small market, and the manufacturer probably wouldn't appreciate them doing so either, if they're taking the foolish line on pushing new hardware.

        Also, saying 'Anything that causes the OS to stop doing what it should be doing' is an error is far too simplistic. Windows 10, 8.1 with certain patches, and possibly 7 too(?) no longer run certain games with specific copy protection. This is because the copy protection made the whole system less stable and secure, so stopping certain games running was deemed better than affecting the entire system.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        I'm still using the scanner (under OpenSuSE) that was ditched because it wasn't supported by WXP.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          I'd note I have all manner of Old Shite that isn't supported by modern Windows (i.e. the serial Wacom tablet is attached to an SGI O2 that rarely turns on, running Photoshop 1.0 Irix). In some cases I've been dragged kicking and screaming to use new hardware - I still have CRT monitors and 4:3 TFTs and can tell you these are now poorly supported , even open source is much less accommodating than in their heyday. In other cases, such as old hardware, I'll use converters to get new hardware working on old.

          All you can do is look at a manufacturer's behaviour, and decide whether to support them in future or not.

          Sometimes AMD graphics cards are cheap, but history shows they will drop support before Nvidia does for their cards. However, their open source documentation is (unfortunately) better than Nvidia's .

          Intel kit can be quite solid, but don't expect them to make it as expandable as possible.

          1. Andy A

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            I have a Lenovo Thinkpad with AMD video hardware. The latest Windows drivers were for Vista, and they worked fine with Windows 10.

            Until the "Fall Creators Update", that is. It looks OK until you unplug the charger. It then immediately blue screens. You can't start it up on battery - it blue screens about half way through the boot. The latest Win10 appears to demand that the video driver support some weird API to enable "low power mode".

            Luckily, I could back out to the previous build, and use WSUS, so it won't reinstall.

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

              "I have a Lenovo Thinkpad with AMD video hardware. The latest Windows drivers were for Vista, and they worked fine with Windows 10.

              Until the "Fall Creators Update", that is."

              So there's more compatibility between Vista, 7, 8, and 10 up through the original "Creator's Update" than there is between "Creator's Update" and "Fall Creator's Update," at least as far as the driver is concerned.

              That's what's wrong with 10 and "WaaS" in a nutshell. Stability means more than a PC that won't bluescreen or otherwise malfunction in a spectacular way. It also means that what worked in 10 before should work in 10 now... code or platform stability as well as day-to-day operational stability.

              When the original Creator's Update landed, it broke some Atom laptop drivers that had, until then, worked fine. When the owners of these machines decided to upgrade to 10, their machines had fully-functioning Windows 10 drivers, so one potential issue that could squelch the upgrade was a non-issue, or so they had thought.

              These users hadn't planned on "Windows as a Service." Part of that seems to mean that Microsoft gives itself permission to change everything just because every few months, and in this case break Windows 10 compatibility with Windows 10 drivers. It's annoying that owners of these machines were not able to count on a hardware OEM to supply new drivers (apparently it had to do with the vendor of the onboard GPU Intel had used or built under license on those Atoms), but those machines already had drivers designed for Windows 10.

              After receiving much backlash for that breakage, MS agreed to keep supporting those machines with security updates for Creator's Update (the first one) until 2023, when the Windows 8.x the machines had come with would have expired. While better than the deal before, it still was not what the owners of those machines thought they were going to get when they looked and saw that their machines had a full set of Windows 10 drivers. They thought they would be getting mainstream support until 2020 (but then, Windows 8.x buyers also thought they would be getting mainstream support until 2018, but the reality is that it ended July 29, 2015). People and especially businesses need to be able to plan for the future, but MS doesn't care about that, obviously.

              In the very next release, the Fall Creator's Update, it hit the news that Razer was advising its users to avoid that version of 10 as it was incompatible with every one of their laptops. Once again, it was a driver issue; Windows 10 was no longer compatible with the Windows 10 drivers on those machines. Another version, another bunch of drivers broken. In this case, it was expected that new drivers would soon be available, but it could just as easily have been another situation like with the Atom laptops.

              It's an interesting way to reinstate planned obsolescence in an era where hardware remains viable longer than ever before in terms of performance. If the drivers that worked can be "convinced" to not work, formerly Win 10 compatible hardware becomes obsolete overnight. Wow, that's great! More opportunities for us to spend our money replacing perfectly viable hardware. Gee, thanks, Microsoft, what would we do without you?

              1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                "More opportunities for us to spend our money replacing perfectly viable hardware."

                In some cases there is nothing to replace with.

                But MS doesn't give a sh*t. Seems consumers just love being spanked. You'll see some of them here defending MS.

          2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            All the Windows hate is quite amusing. Yes, it's true that in some cases Unix supports printers better than Windows - because someone has made the effort to actively maintain the drivers, whilst the manufacturer decided it wasn't worth it.

            It doesn't necessarily mean Unix's driver architecture is universally better - check out how many times the Xorg driver model has changed in the last fifteen years, it's more than Windows. However, because the drivers and various other software (window managers, etc) have been re-written or improved again, and again, the compatibility is supposedly 'better' than Windows. Compatibility is supporting v1.x driver software on v4.x of your OS, not running the extensively re-written v4 of driver software on v4 of the OS, but no-one cares because 'it still works'.

            Someone could have done the same under Windows, but obviously no-one could be bothered.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

              Someone could have done the same under Windows, but obviously no-one could be bothered.

              Which is why some of us can't be bothered with Windows any more.

            2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

              I think the issue many have with Windows is that they change something that doesn't need to be changed, hence break stuff -typically hardrware compatibility. When your expensive hardware suddenly won't work, people get angry. Not having source code of any kind doesn't then help.

              1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                Usually the people that think things don't need to be change, are exactly the ones who have hardware that doesn't survive the interface break. People with hardware that does survive the change, and may work faster/better, remarkably are happy with the change..

                I haven't moved to Windows 10 for most of my (non work) systems, but I can't deny it has technical improvements under the hood.

                A lot of the driver model moved out of the kernel with Vista (display drivers, printer drivers), and Vista SP2/Windows 7 (bluetooth profiles). It led to improved stability and manageability. Later releases improved multithreading and other items.

                Go look at the WDDM page on Wikipedia, and then say with a straight face that MS is wasting their time enhancing the display driver model with each release.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Linux

                  Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                  Usually the people that think things don't need to be change, are exactly the ones who have hardware that doesn't survive the interface break.

                  There may be something in that for ya..

                  People with hardware that does survive the change, and may work faster/better, remarkably are happy with the change..

                  Actually most probably never notice. And a lot of speed increases in one area are swallowed by slow downs in others. Most obvious example : the machine I have today is easily more than a thousand times faster than my original 286, and has 8GB of ram vs 2MB. Yet to get Windows booted and Wordpad loaded takes LONGER than it used to with the 286. (may've been notepad on the 286, not sure if Wordpad was in with 3.11)

                  This is for 7. Given the experience I've had with broken 8+ machines, I'd be doing everything I can to turn the fast boot etc options off - the time I save booting (which usually happens while I am making breakfast or a coffee or something) isn't worth the hassle of fighting things when it breaks and the disk is in an "unsafe" state.

                  I haven't moved to Windows 10 for most of my (non work) systems, but I can't deny it has technical improvements under the hood.

                  I expect it has had many as well. But the other stuff stopped me moving on - the changes to the UI, telemetry, unstoppable updates (well, at least you used to be able to flag your connection as costly, don't know if that still works or not) - all of the improvements combined are not worth the price of even one item of the bad stuff.

                  Go look at the WDDM page on Wikipedia, and then say with a straight face that MS is wasting their time enhancing the display driver model with each release.

                  They wasted their time. Go look at the 10 UI and tell me with a straight face that there is anything there worth improving the background display processes for. (Actually i wonder if that's why they did away with all the eye candy, to remove even the chance of having "processor intensive"1 3d effects, thus making the system appear faster (while it also appears uglier and makes Win1 a step UP in usability - or so we're told)

                  1 No, not really.

                  1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                    Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                    Windows 3.1 was still using Write, Wordpad didn't arrive until Windows 95. I'm not sure which is faster, I've had few problems with fast boot in 8 onwards. Windows 3.x wasn't always that fast, especially if DOS was doing various setup before Windows even started. My slowest computer at home is a 486 for retro gaming, 286s weren't speed demons when I was using them.

                    As to 10, I'm very unhappy with the fact it's a moving target. I'm not a fan of the flat UI, but the built in virtual desktops are a great improvement, better than the sysinternals option I was using previously.

                    Personally my main (home) environment is BSD Unix on top of a Linux based Xen environment (I'd rather be using a FreeBSD dom0, but functionality isn't there yet). I'm hoping to move off most Windows functionality, leaving it only for games, so there's another five years before being forced to upgrade to W10 or newer. I don't hold out much hope of Unix gaming becoming a seriously viable thing (although it's better than it was) and Wine compatibility is spotty and not as fast as Windows (people giving Platinum ratings on the Wine AppDB clearly haven't compared with real Windows; when the app runs 'perfectly' but is noticeably slower or less smooth than in real Windows, that's not perfect).

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

      Not since Nadella decided MS has to shove down your throat whatever he likes... today you have to print from the cloud, not with locally connected printers.

      Anyway, how they could have borked the simplest printers I don't know - some millennial developer who never saw one, probably.

    4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

      Unfortunately, dot matrix printers are still current hardware. Many processes still use multi-part forms that require impact printing to carbon copy them.

      However the epson ones are probably older so it may be a driver issue. I think the most likely upgrade path would be a brand new OKI dot matrix printer (they are cheaper). In my experience the current OKI model is supported with drivers supplied in windows 10.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        Unfortunately, dot matrix printers are still current hardware. Many processes still use multi-part forms that require impact printing to carbon copy them.

        That's because stubborn bastards in Finance and accounting departments refuse to join the 21st century. They find their core duties of "adding up " and "taking away" too difficult , partly due to the ridiculous language of accounting they have developed , and now that they've managed to translate that to SAGE et al , they are damned if they're going trough all that setting up again. Probably because theres no one there anymore who understands the adding up and taking away - thy've all retired , what are left are drones who only know specific tasks like "I take this piece of paper out of this printer and put it this pile here , then billy presses this icon on his desktop and it makes this other printer print out.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          > That's because stubborn bastards in Finance and accounting departments refuse to join the 21st century.

          It is nothing to do with 'Finance and Accounting". The dot matrix printers are in the warehouses to print out the legally required 4 part Hazardous materials forms, delivery dockets, manifests, customs forms and other necessary paperwork.

          1. Nifty

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            It's a Brexit conspiracy then!

          2. Tom Samplonius

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            >> That's because stubborn bastards in Finance and accounting departments refuse to join the 21st century.

            > It is nothing to do with 'Finance and Accounting". The dot matrix printers are in the warehouses to print out the legally required 4 part Hazardous materials forms, delivery dockets, manifests, customs forms and other necessary paperwork.

            Hardly. There is nothing in legislation that requires impact printing multi part forms. You can just laser print multiple copies. I import a lot of stuff, and I've never seen customs paperwork printed on a dot matrix printer in the last 3 years.

            The legislation and regulations are quite dated generally. For instance, three copies of a commercial invoice must be provided for shipments from US to Canada. A long time ago, this due to the fact that Canada Customs would take one, the customs broker would take another, and the final one would be for the recipient. However, Canada Customs and the brokers are all digital now (after all, who is really going to file millions of pieces of paper?), and the three copies are just left in the pouch. But they are still required to be there. Any everyone just laser prints them.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

              "Hardly. There is nothing in legislation that requires impact printing multi part forms. You can just laser print multiple copies."

              No, because you can't trust the copy to be identical unless it's made simultaneously (think sneaky hackers or insiders). There's only one physical way you can ensure that: using copying paper (either carbon copy sheets or chemically-treated carbonless paper).

              1. david 12 Bronze badge

                Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                >No, because you can't trust the copy to be identical unless it's made simultaneously<

                Like a book? Laser printer page copies can be made by electrically-refreshing the print drum, or by redrawing the print drum from memory. Secure printers are a specialised type of device, but available.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

                  Memory can be hacked, and most drums don't have enough circumference to electrically store an entire page. Plus it's essentially a black box since you can't actually see this in action (the drum is photo-sensitive so can't be exposed to ambient light when in use).

                  As I recall, most secure laser printers aren't intended for copying but to produce legally-significant documents and things like checks which require special materials to protect against forgery.

      2. J. Cook Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        That was going to be my response as well; get an Okidata 320SuperMegaUltraTurbo (or whatever the hell the current iteration of the 320 model is), and just run with it. bloody things are tanks, and simple enough to rebuild when they do finally wear out after running through a pallet or three of three-part paper.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

        > driver issue

        You know a dot matrix printer driver has only one job. To output ASCII characters at the correct speed over a parallel or serial port. All it needs to know is if the paper is 80 or 132 columns wide. It does not need to convert anything to any particular printer language like Postscript or PCL, just plain ASCII. How this single task could be buggered up is beyond me.

        1. swampdog

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          Too right. My citizen 120D harks from when it was attached to an atari st. It's been flashing "out of paper" for over a decade. I just realised. It's about two years older than my marriage.

          All hail the 120D, best way to tell the power has gone. 120D head sweeps! :-)

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "How this single task could be buggered up is beyond me."

          If there is one thing MS knows how to do, it's that ---^

        3. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          Dot matrix printers are not always operated in text output mode. They do bitmapped graphics too!

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            "Dot matrix printers are not always operated in text output mode. They do bitmapped graphics too!"

            Look up the Epson Standard Code for Printers or ESC/P. Because of the LX-80, it's become the standard control language for impact and other line printers (whereas PCL and PostScript are the standards for page printers). A derivative, ESC/POS, has become the standard for receipt printers.

          2. 40k slimez

            Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

            But they are God awful SL o o o o w when doing that.... And noisier too

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          "How this single task could be buggered up is beyond me."

          You clearly do not have the talents to write printer drivers for Windows.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "It does not need to convert anything to any particular printer language"

          Evidently, you never programmed dot matrix printer... they still have their printer language as well.

        6. david 12 Bronze badge

          Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

          >To output ASCII characters at the correct speed over a parallel or serial port<

          "Dot matrix" is not the same as "Daisy wheel".

          The problem is, of course, somewhere with the connection between the Printer Drivers and the OS: the printers didn't suddenly stop working because of an electrical fault.

          There are 3 ways to do printer control: (1) Send Windows print script direct to the printer as text. (2) Translate the Windows print script language to Postscript, and send the Postscript script to the printer as text. (3) Translate the Win print script to PCL (hp) or ESC/P (epson), and send the print language to the printer as a series of 7 or 8 bit bytes.

          All three methods are used for dot matrix impact printers, dot matrix inkjet printers, and (dot matrix) laser printers.

          All three methods commonly send blocks of characters as text (ascii) if the characters will be represented by a native printer font, and as bit-mapped images if the characters will not be represented by a native printer font.

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

      Backward compatibility with drivers should not be a problem. Over the years I have seen devices that worked on version of Bloat not work on the next version. Apparently with every release Slurp likes to fiddle with the device driver model. However these devices worked fine a various current edition Linux distros.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dot Matrix ?

    Wasn't she a character in one of Mel Brooks's films?

    Beats our own R2D2 and her consort R4ASCII hands down.

    1. Colonel Mad

      Re: Dot Matrix ?

      Max Headroom was my fav......

    2. earl grey Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Dot Matrix ?

      Part of Spaceballs (1987). Played by Joan Rivers.

      I'm more of a Barf fan myself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dot Matrix ?

        Not in here mister, this is a Mercedes!

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: Dot Matrix ?

      Wasn't she a character in one of Mel Brooks's films?

      Duuude, not that one, please!

      Will the real Dot Matrix Please sing out!

  3. G2

    dot matrix

    in some places these printers are preferred because of their ability to print on practically endless kilometers-long continuous-style paper.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_stationery

    such use cases are: transaction / financial logs, emergency services call detail records, EV/DV certificate issuance by a certification authority or any other case where you need to have some sort of minimal auditable paper trail in case that the electronics go tits up.

    Continuous paper is the VERY literal definition of the term "paper trail".

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: dot matrix

      "in some places these printers are preferred because of their ability to print on practically endless kilometers-long continuous-style paper."

      Being impact printers, they can do multipart copies (carbon or NCR - No Carbon Required) as well.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        NCR

        There was a time you would not have had to explain NCR.

        Time before that it was a large electronics company

        Time even before that there was actual carbon paper. Believe I kept half a boxful somewhere "just in case".

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: NCR

          I bought carbon paper lately. It has uses other than typewriters. Tracing can be sometimes more useful than photo/scanning.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: NCR

          > Time even before that there was actual carbon paper.

          I wonder if anyone remembers decollators and bursters. My earliest time working with computers nearly 50 years ago included running these to separate the carbon paper from the multipart forms and then turning the invoices and statements from continuous paper into individual forms at the rate of hundreds per minute.

          Some one else ran the envelope stuffer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NCR

            "I wonder if anyone remembers decollators and bursters."

            My first job was a junior operator in a computer bureau running customer jobs. One customer supplied their own multi-part paper that had four layers plus three carbons sandwiched in between. It was extremely flimsy and we had to be very, very careful setting the print impact pressure.

            The job didn't spool the printing - so an unrecoverable print error meant a rerun. The printing impact at high speed could cause some of the perforations at the top of the page to burst - and the paper would jump off the tractors on one side. The result was a pile-up of several pages of crumpled paper and carbons - fragments of which then had to be carefully cleaned from the platen.

            It gave rise to a saying: "Someone had a nice salesman's lunch out of buying that paper".

            IT was quite physical in those days:

            magnetic tapes spinning across the room because their hub hadn't been locked;

            magnetic tape stretched to a filament due to a balancing servo malfunction;

            accidentally cleaning (disintegrating) tape heads with the acetone rather than the isopropyl alcohol from identical large brown bottles;

            painful finger fine cuts from paper tape;

            trying to rewind a large paper tape that had been lazily despooled by letting it fall off its core;

            80 column cards concertinaed by a misfeed jam;

            cards flying through the air because the receiving hopper weight was not in place.

            Binary bootstrap cards were like lace - mostly holes held together by a fine lattice of cardboard. Every so often the working copy was shredded by the reader. Then it was not unusual to find some lazy sod had committed the cardinal sin of using all the supposedly inviolate submaster/master ones - rather than producing copies. Then you had to iron flat the shredded one and manually copy the intricate pattern with a hand punch.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: NCR

              IT was quite physical in those days:

              I am so glad I missed most of that!

              I don't think I've ever seen a card reader. Or a punch card for that matter (though I can understand the concept easily enough). Nor paper tape (aside from ticker-tape used in high school to measure speeds and/or acceleration). FTR though I've seen a large tape reader in a very large wardrobe-size cabinet, I'm not sure I've seen a data tape. I have seen some of the old HDD platters - the ones about the size of a washing machine.

              Semi-fortunate to have missed some of that era!

              1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: NCR

                "I am so glad I missed most of that!"

                Can't see why?

                t was a pretty cool time in the history of computing!

    2. Mark York 3 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: dot matrix

      "such use cases are: transaction / financial logs, emergency services call detail records, EV/DV certificate issuance by a certification authority or any other case where you need to have some sort of minimal auditable paper trail in case that the electronics go tits up."

      Or indeed minute by minute readings in a (Pharma) lab.

      1. gotes

        Re: dot matrix

        They can also operate reliably in dusty environments and have relatively few parts to go wrong (apart from requiring a drop of oil once in a while).

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: dot matrix

          They can also operate reliably in dusty environments

          They bloody well create their own dusty environment. Ever looked inside a well-used one?

          1. J. Cook Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: dot matrix

            My first job was with a credit union that used two part NCR paper for their receipts, printed on an Okidata 320 printer. those things were (and still are!) tanks.

            In the time I was at that job (~two years) I learned how to do a complete tear down and rebuild of the original model (in all of it's iterations) and the (new at the time) 320 turbo model.

            The most common thing to fail on those were the print heads and that finicky white gear clipped to the stepper that turned the main feed roller- on the really well used models, there was a visible line where the stepper gear engaged the white gear, with the teeth of the white gear getting all chewed up. Fortunately, those were cheap parts, so we bought a bunch of them and as we got the older ones in for repair that turned into a standard step in the process. the reason why it was finicky was because the gear was held on to it's shaft by three fingers, and if you were careful with an exacto, you could get the old one off without breaking them. (had to do that for the occasion where the printer had a total failure in one of the controller boards and we broke them down for spare parts.)

            That was twenty years ago. even though the credit union's turned over all the customer facing hardware and use thermal paper for receipts like the rest of the world, I'm sure there's a handful of the buggers still chugging away in a back office somewhere...

            Beer, because I feel old now. :)

            1. Andy A

              Re: dot matrix

              The 320 was OK-ish. We had to use them when we could no longer source enough working 192 boxes.

              The 192 was hugely out of date when I started at a railway engineering works. They stood a ridiculous amount of misuse. We would cannibalise the broken ones to keep a department going. Frame from one, PSU from another, buttons from a third.

              One 192 famously would run for a few seconds after power up, then slow down and stop. I thought the guide rod might be dirty, so the spray cleaner was used, and it ran longer. The lightbulb came on, and I went to get a can of WD40. Sprayed the rod and the 192 was serviceable again!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: dot matrix

      But aren't those systems still on XP, anyway?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: dot matrix

      Dot matrix will probably be the last printer technology to die when the paperless office really does arrive.

  4. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    "when the dot-matrix printers are connected to their Windows 10 PCs via USB"

    Surely not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I just had a look on Epson's UK website and was surprised by the number of dot matrix printers they produce.

      https://www.epson.co.uk/productfinder/gb/en/content/open/productfinder/index.php?path=printer%2Fdotmatrix

      All the ones I checked supported USB.

      1. jabuzz

        Yeah, but they have loads of models that support a wired ethernet connection. Seems kind of odd to have a dot matrix plugged into the network, but my view if is if it's not networked it's not a printer.

      2. doug_bostrom

        Nothing else does carbons and carbons are a pretty efficient way to spew copies.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          More importantly they are a verifiable way of doing copies.

          So you are sure that the copies of the invoice were the same, or that the safety sheet for that load actually matched .

    2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Why wouldn't you use USB? Or wireless, there must be wireless dot matrix printers.

      As opposed to a USB to parallel, or a USB to serial adaptor, and then a cable? My personal kit isn't exactly up to date but the D975XBX2 from 2006 was the last mainstream pieces of kit I've seen to have a parallel port (apart from a few workstations from HP in 2007). It wasn't on a server board I have from 2007, IDE had gone, and a floppy connector was only just surviving. For a 2012 server board serial survives (still very useful for console redirection), but PS/2 is no longer a given (looks entirely absent in modern server boards).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "My personal kit isn't exactly up to date but the D975XBX2 from 2006 was the last mainstream pieces of kit I've seen to have a parallel port "

        Not sure if they are still being made, but we were selling PCs with MSI motherboards in them which still had serial and parallel ports on them as recently as a couple of years ago. Still get them "as new" for warranty replacements. I can't remember the last time I saw anything plugged into either of those ports at a clients site though.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Surely not?

      If, for instance, the printer is connected to a workstation at a warehouse loading dock, used for printing routing slips and loading manifests, then why not? No need for a separate network connection, just share (if needed) via that PC.

  5. steamnut

    The are still used!

    Yes, we still use lots of Epson dot matrix printers for one very god reason - we need three part delivery documents and, after the top two are removed, the last sheet is the audit trail. The Epson supports up to five parts I am told. Ink jet and laser printers cannot do multipart - seemples.

    And yes we do use USB connectors as the Epson LX310 supports USB, serial and parallel interfaces.

    I don't know why Windows makes driving them so difficult; under Linux they are almost too easy; but, as a sUSE user, I am a little biased I guess....

    1. TReko

      Re: The are still used!

      They are widely used, anywhere you need an impact printer to print through to multiple pages at once.

      I loved the "Facepalm Friday" comment.

      Microsoft seems to have stopped testing its Windows updates and relies on their users to do the work now...

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: The are still used!

        Microsoft seems to have stopped testing its Windows updates and relies on their users to do the work now...

        Not just updates, it seems standard for all of Windows now. See the Windows 10 "continuous beta" model.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The are still used!

          See the Windows 10 "continuous beta" model.

          Beta? What are you on about?

          Beta is when you provide unpolished and poorly tested software, and listen to feedback.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The are still used!

          "See the Windows 10 "continuous beta" model."

          It's called Windows Insider. And obviously is optional.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: The are still used!

            It's called Windows Insider. And obviously is optional.

            And I'm not signed up to it. I'm using the "released" Windows 10, and believe me it's Beta quality. I'd still be on Windows 7 if some lowlife hadn't stolen my laptop, and the new (company-supplied) one won't run W7.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: The are still used!

            "It's called Windows Insider."

            Isn't that the continuous alpha?

            1. Alumoi

              Re: The are still used!

              Isn't that the continuous alpha?

              Nope, that's what they sell to the public. Windows insider is the unpolished turd.

          3. Captain DaFt

            Re: The are still used!

            "See the Windows 10 "continuous beta" model."

            It's called Windows Insider. And obviously is optional.

            No, Windows Insiders get to test the Alpha grade, everybody else gets the Beta.

            Up until Win10, once the Beta was nearly production ready, MS scraped it and started all over again.

            Win10 is perpetual Beta, because they keep throwing in (or deleting) code to see what breaks.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        @TReko -- Re: The are still used!

        Microsoft seems to have stopped testing its Windows updates and relies on their users to do the work now...

        Now?!? Thus has it ever been!

      3. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: The are still used!

        "Microsoft seems to have stopped testing its Windows updates and relies on their users to do the work now..."

        You may have meant that in a sarcastic way, but it is exactly what is happening, quite literally.

        Nadella fired the testers to save money, with the excuse that the programmers will test their own code instead. How this would save money is a mystery, if you suppose that the same amount of testing that was done previously will still be done now, just by someone else. If x lines of code require y man-hours of testing, assigning that testing duty to a programmer won't reduce the number of hours required to test it adequately. It would only seem to cost them more money, as programmers probably cost more than testers per man-hour.

        It only makes sense if the testing department was let go because they found someone else who was cheaper to do the testing rather that someone who was more expensive. The insiders obviously aren't enough, judging by the quality of code we receive, and I doubt MS ever thought they would be. Their role is probably to allow a semi-plausible explanation about how MS expects to get away with not having their paid testers anymore, and to give MS cover to do what they're doing, which is to use consumers as beta testers. They've all but admitted this in plain language that it's what they're doing. It's probably why they won't let consumers turn off telemetry and updates in 10; they need the telemetry to make sure they get the beta test data, and the updates make sure their testers are testing the right patch.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: The are still used!

          @Updraft102 - There two very solid reasons to have a separate testing group (I speak as developer). First, you have a team experienced at testing and trying to find the edge cases that break the code. This is a skill that developers normally have not honed to degree. Second, there is another set of eyes looking at the specifications and looking at the actual output. Often they will catch something that developer screwed up. As one tester commented, the more complex the code the more likely the developer made a mistake somewhere even if it is a trivial one.

          By firing their testers Slurp is at the mercy of the people who not skilled at testing to find errors and fix them before release. Whether it is the developers or end users, neither are doing proper systematic testing nor should they be expected to do so.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: The are still used!

            @ a_yank_lurker,

            Absolutely, I would have presumed that testers would be better at testing than those who were not normally tasked with testing. Even if the programmers were exactly as efficient during testing as the previous dedicated testers, though, it still would not result in a cost savings to fire the testers and shift that duty to programmers if the same level of testing was taking place.

            The idea that approximately the same number of programmers who used to only write code will be enough to do that AND sufficiently test their own code, at a time when the flagship operating system is in a rapid-release mode and more code than ever is needed, is just insanity. So is the idea that a bunch of amateur hobbyists in the "insider" program are going to be able to provide anything approaching adequate testing. It's quite evident, considering this and the statements that MS has made, that the real intent is to cynically use the consumers as beta testers (whether they wish to or not). If you can get rid of the beta testers that you have to pay and replace them with testers who pay you, then you can obviously save money (so long as you don't care about the reputation for releasing unreliable code and for betraying your consumer customers you're going to earn).

            1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

              Re: The are still used!

              @Updraft102 - Where I work, the testers like to tease us developers when one of us make a really dumb one. But we take as what it is, as good-natured teasing. In our case, we literally share cubes with each other so it is not like our code is being tested by someone we never really talk to or do not know. So with us there is a unity of purpose rather than one of opposition. They respect us and respect them.

              The problem with amateur testers is they have no idea how to test something properly, necessarily even think to test something, or even have all the necessary equipment. For example the relative infrequency I print something means I do not check the printer with every OS update of any OS. Plus for this bug, I do not have specific type or brand of printer and no need to buy one. So even if I where to test my printer I could never find this particular bug. And this assumes I have a good idea how to test printing (color, black and white, paper sizes, are a few of the variables I can think of).

              The long term damage to Slurp is a lack of a total confidence when 'Broke Tuesday' rolls around every month. (Askwoody.com has updating at 'Defcon 2' - do not do it if at possible). Constantly trying to figure what is the culprit and how to mitigate the problem is not something users will have much long term patience for. Especially when there these things called Chromebooks and Macs available and this geeky OS called Linux available. Users may not yet realize they might have numerous viable options to ditch Slurp. As their friends and family get more familiar with the other options they will pay attention.

              1. Updraft102 Silver badge

                Re: The are still used!

                @a_yank_lurker:

                "Constantly trying to figure what is the culprit and how to mitigate the problem is not something users will have much long term patience for."

                Indeed. I doubt that Mr. Nadella is so blind that he cannot see this, which is why I have trouble believing that MS wants to stay in the general-purpose OS business going forward. Using consumers as beta testers is just one of a series of abusive practices MS has engaged in since the debut of Windows 10, and while enterprise customers are spared some of this (no GWX, no forced upgrades, ability to "defer" updates longer) for enterprise , they're still saddled with the need to perform Windows rollouts every six months rather than every three years, a six-times increase in frequency.

                These policies seem custom-designed to add to the cost and burden of running Windows, and to make it such a hassle that people begin to leave the platform. It will take a while to overcome the tremendous lock-in MS has long worked to build, and in that interim period, MS can continue to monetize its customers without concern for the long-term damage that causes (since that is in fact the desired effect).

                Getting rid of the beta testers and having consumers perform that duty is one form of monetization. Replacing paid beta testers with people who pay MS means that all of that money they saved on the testers is "found" money, so to speak. That's just the beginning, of course; MS is surely continuing to try out other ways to monetize its Windows customers. They tried ads in the start menu and unrequested installations of a gaming app, but the backlash was so strong (enough to where it would be nearly impossible for MS to sell that ad space) that they undoubtedly decided to shelve those ideas for now.

                This is the only scenario that makes sense to me. I'm not 100% convinced of the idea, but every time I try to come up with a more reasonable explanation, I end up making the same conclusion as before. The idea that MS really wants to keep the Windows platform alive and viable, and that they think what they're doing now advances that goal, just doesn't compute.

              2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: The are still used!

                "For example the relative infrequency I print something means I do not check the printer with every OS update of any OS"

                This points to another big problem with Windows 10. If you discover an issue with something you don't use regularly, you really have no idea what to try to roll back to to fix the issue!

                Before Windows 10 at least you knew if you had switched from Vista to Windows 7, for example. Also, after OS upgrades one could test what worked and didn't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The are still used!

      "I don't know why Windows makes driving them so difficult"

      Quite. In this respect, many Windows sub-systems seem to be astonishingly fragile.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The are still used!

        "many Windows sub-systems seem to be astonishingly fragile."

        There don't seem to be any issues with Windows subsystems here. Only with a single specific vendor driver.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KB2952664

    KB2952664 is supposed to be an update to the W7 Windows Update client, to make it nag you to install WX. I had to block and revert it so many times, that number is now burned into my retina.

    Why would it even try to mess with the printing subsystem? Of course, as Winnie the Pooh once wisely said, with bees you never know. With microsoft these days you know even less.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: KB2952664

      Why would it even try to mess with the printing subsystem?

      Is it because Windows is a curate's egg?

      Who the hell knows what affects what any more. Certainly not MS who put out the patches.

      1. Scroticus Canis
        Holmes

        Re: KB2952664 - "Is it because Windows is a curate's egg?"

        Hum... No, the curate's egg was 'good in parts'.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: KB2952664 - "Is it because Windows is a curate's egg?"

          I'm feeling generous today.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: KB2952664 - "Is it because Windows is a curate's egg?"

          "Hum... No, the curate's egg was 'good in parts'."

          The real meaning of the idiom is that something has some good points, but that the bad points are so overwhelmingly bad that the entire thing is ruined. While it may in fact be "good in parts," an honest appraisal (which the curate was too cowardly to provide) would necessitate an overall judgment that the whole thing in question is bad.

          The way the term is used today, it's often taken to mean something that's a mixed bag, in roughly equal parts good and bad, so that the whole cannot be judged to be good overall or bad overall.

          In my estimation, older versions of Windows fit that latter definition very well, while XP and 7 were mostly good. Windows 8.x as released is the original Curate's egg, though it can be much improved, all the way to the "mostly good" mark. Windows 10 is the Curate's egg without qualification. It does actually have some good parts, but the bad bits completely negate their worth and make the whole thing bad.

          1. Solo Owl

            Re: KB2952664 - "Is it because Windows is a curate's egg?"

            Actually, a bad egg is bad through and through. It cannot have any good parts. The Curate was trying to be polite and subservient to his boss. Which was the point of the original 1895 cartoon. [Wikipedia]

            Nowadays, the curate would just say, "This egg is fucking bad. Get me another, will ya?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: KB2952664

      To the downvoter(s):

      I actually used to like Windows. I still think that it is the best choice available for some workloads and some users - however, I won't easily forget the months of my life wasted on counteracting the repeated, escalating attempts to sabotage my systems and my work during the GWX campaign.

      1. VinceH
        Pint

        Re: KB2952664

        What AC said. Oh so very much what AC said. I agree 100% - and have a pint for saying it for me.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: KB2952664

          "I agree 100% - and have a pint for saying it for me."
          I can't agree more than 100%, so how about two beers?

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: KB2952664

      No, it's not a Windows Update update, it's a telemetry update, and it no longer nags you to install Windows 10. I don't install any of them anyway.

      Yet bad telemetry may mess with the printing subsystems or the USB stack.

    4. PhilBuk

      Re: KB2952664

      Always hide this one. As AC says, I don't even need to look this one up.

      Phil.

    5. JWLong

      Re: KB2952664

      According to Epson, these are the updates you want to remove.

      Also, it is NOT a driver issue, it's the turd chasers (M$) fault.

      Windows.7 KB4048957, KB4048960

      Windows.8 There is no problem.

      Windows.8.1 KB4048958

      Windows.10 RTM KB4048956 (Support end)

      Windows.10 1511 KB4048952

      Windows.10 1607 KB4048953

      Windows.10 1703 KB4048954

      Windows.10 1709 KB4048955

      Server.2008 KB4048970

      Server.2008R2 KB4048957

      Server.2012 KB4048959

      Server.2012R2 KB4048958

      Server.2016 KB4048953

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SatNad is really skimping on software testing, isn't he?

    Also, the auto update thing isn't such a good idea when your 'patches' are of such shoddy quality, is it?

    SatNad has his head so far up the cloud's arse, he longer has his feet grounded in reality. Or is it 'mixed' reality? So terribly confusing.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: SatNad is really skimping on software testing, isn't he?

      Augmented Reality? Just put on your VR goggles and see the dot-matrix printerer printering lots of animations at full colour... in glo-ri-ous silence

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: SatNad is really skimping on software testing, isn't he?

        Oh, I thought AR was Alternative Reality

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: SatNad is really skimping on software testing, isn't he?

          Oh, I thought AR was Alternative Reality

          Augmented Rubbish

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: SatNad is really skimping on software testing, isn't he?

          Oh, I thought AR was Alternative Reality

          It is if you're a Republican.

          Sorry! Sometimes I just can't help myself...

  8. Herby

    Of course, one wonders...

    If Apple still supports an Imagewriter (2). That would be telling..

    Sorry I just don't know.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Of course, one wonders...

      If Apple still supports an Imagewriter (2). That would be telling..

      No. The Imagewriter, the ImageWriter II, and the ImageWriter LQ (note spelling, the original Imagewriter didn't have a capital 'w' when originally released, it got the capital 'w' around the time that the Lisa got a sex change and became a Mac XL) were all serial/AppleTalk printers. Apple killed serial ports starting with the Blue & White G3s in 1999, 18 years ago. The original AppleTalk, renamed LocalTalk, depended on having RS-422 serial ports, and so had problems after the RS-422s were deleted. The AppleTalk protocols lived on until 2006, though they had to go over TCP/IP after LocalTalk was killed. Even worse, AppleTalk depended on OpenTransport protocols, and OpenTransport has been dead for 2-3 years now.

      The only way to use an Image(w/W)riter printer nowadays, either from Mac OS or Windows, would be to use an ancient version of either OS, or to connect using a USB-to-serial converter, or both. If using a USB-to-serial converter, you'd be working with the converter, not the printer. This would mean that the old Image(w/W)riter printer drivers could not be used, not that they'd work on a new OS anyway. You'd need drivers for the converter, and you'd need a converter which supported Image(w/W)riters. Good luck finding one.

      I had an original Imagewriter, purchased in 1984. It lasted until 2004 or so, mostly attached to a very old beige G3 which ran OS 9.x and OS X 10.2.x, or OSes old enough to still support AppleTalk and OpenTransport. It was very slow, it was very loud, it didn't have very good-looking output, and it was able to print anything I asked of it.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Of course, one wonders...

      "If Apple still supports an Imagewriter (2). That would be telling.."
      They stopped supporting my original Wacom digitiser (ADB) many years ago...

  9. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    And would it kill Microsoft to warn users that an update is queued? I arrived at work yesterday to find my PC had rebooted. A few applications attempted to reload themselves but one (vs2015 - there's a shocker) reloaded the solution I'd left open but was unable to render anything in the text editor (something of a limitation I feel). So I had to waste another couple of minutes 'bouncing' it.

    But back to the update - it also changes the background of the Cortana search box from grey to white. It's distracting and clashes with my desktop wallpaper. Perhaps Microsoft are trying to encourage more use of it. Failed with me though - it prompted me to work out how to hide the damn thing.

    Coming to an update soon - the ability to hide Cortana's search has been disabled :-/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And would it kill Microsoft to warn users that an update is queued? "

      It does. It gives you plenty of warning. And you can set active hours where it wont install. And there is an optional setting for additional warnings if some bs isn't enough for you...

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Mine doesn't. I have the active hours set so that it updates in the early hours but it never tells me when it's going to do it. I know my colleagues have fallen foul of this as well. All it would take is a simple 'Your machine is due to be updated within the next 24 hours' message.

      2. Captain DaFt

        "And would it kill Microsoft to warn users that an update is queued? "

        It does. It gives you plenty of warning. And you can set active hours where it wont install. And there is an optional setting for additional warnings if some bs isn't enough for you...

        Hey AC, why is it that when anyone points out the short comings of Win10, you're right there, with solutions or caveats that only seem to work on your system, and nobody else's?

        Could it be that you work for MS and are actually using Windows 9 ?

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Devil

      @AndrueC

      But back to the update - it also changes the background of the Cortana search box from grey to white.

      Yes...'cuz in the ADHD-addled minds of the Millennials currently "working" in Micros~1's Marketing Dept. the world must be separated into two groups: Black, and White.

  10. The Corner of Moron

    WRONG UPDATE NUMBERS

    For anyone with this issue reading this, the problem patches are actually KB4048954 for Windows 10 and KB4048957 for Windows 7.

    Now I have to get back to work............many, MANY updates to roll back today!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WRONG UPDATE NUMBERS

      "many, MANY updates to roll back today!"

      You deployed patches with < 3 days testing?!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WRONG UPDATE NUMBERS

        Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WRONG UPDATE NUMBERS

          ""many, MANY updates to roll back today!""

          "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

          # Error Found. Logic fail mismatch on Line 2....

          If you have "many many" things to patch then WSUS is free to install on a Windows Server box...

        2. leexgx

          Re: WRONG UPDATE NUMBERS

          same here i thought it was the printer that broke as it did not work on 2 other systems (going to have to give them a call up now and see if they bought the new epson lx350 as its likely going to have same issue)

          this is why there systems are still on windows 7 not 10 so not to brake stuff (or randomly uninstall so called unsupported software)

          at this rate i am going to have to setup a PC (as its only one PC) with windows update turned off (i cant stop the problem update individually as its a roll up update, so its a broken update or no updates at all

          MS needs to fix this problem right away as they have effectively disabled all dot matrix printers

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

          So just wait for others to test for you... unless there are big vulns actively exploited, you can wait a few days and see if no bad news arise.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

            "So just wait for others to test for you... unless there are big vulns actively exploited"

            Ah, there's the rub - "... unless ...".

            If your machines are on an Internet-connected / internet-visible network (and that's almost everyone these days), not applying MS patches is taking a risk that a previously-unpatched vulnerability or two will be revealed to those looking at the actual patches and promptly exploited.

            This is one of the cases where the delay in testing might have been worth the trouble, but that is a pretty risky call. My employer certainly wouldn't back the test-before-rolling-out strategy: all our Internet-facing networks auto-patch from MS as quick as we can get the patches down to our WSUS servers.

            BTW, if you want to know who else uses dot-matrix printers, try taking a commercial air flight - the 'zip zip zip' noise the dot-matrix printing off the passenger manifest is one of the surest signs that your flight will board Real Soon Now (tm).

            And why do airlines still use dot matrix printers?

            * they are dirt-cheap to buy and run

            * they almost never jam once they're set up right

            * a box of continuous 8x11 paper lasts soooo much longer than a ream of A4

            * ain't nobody going to want to steal the paper whereas a ream of A4 might just fit in the shoulder bag of a 'needy' terminal staff member

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

              "And why do airlines still use dot matrix printers?"

              No, I think the real reasons are that they fit on the podiatrist and don't draw a lot of power. Lasers a tally are a boon in the supply department because they're much easier to reload (open big enough tray, stick a stack of sheets in, and close) compared to the unthreading and rethreading involved with impact printers. Toner and drums aren't as bad as they used to be, either; they're usually now a simple pull and replace. But high capacity lasers are still bulky and can draw power spikes when warming up.

              1. elgarak1

                Re: "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

                No. Among other things, airlines need to print the boarding passes on cardboard stock of a certain size (~1/3 of letter size in height, with a stub detachable on the side). These cardboard things need to be able to go through scanners/printers to verify and document passing through security, boarding etc.

                Printing on forms, and cardboard, hundreds or thousands of boarding passes a day with other printers is FAR less reliable. You would need to change EVERYTHING. The sheets. The scanner where the passes go thorough. etc.

                And it needs to be standardized around the whole world.

                Changing any one thing in these chains is not easy, and likely to break the whole chain. You stick with it unless there's absolutely no other choice.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: "Not everyone has the £infrastructure to do that."

                  At 1/3 letter height, it's easy to create a card stock three-high that can easily pass through a laser printer (business card blanks already exist for them, and they're thicker). You can also print your own now with home check-in. I've done that in the past and the scanners have no issue with them. Furthermore, the boarding passes can be done on thermal printers; commonly done for older terminals and for self-check-in kiosks in the airports.

                  It's not like the impact printers at the boarding podia are the bigger 24-pin jobbers. No, they're typically high-speed 9-pin jobs like say the Oki MICROLINE 320: high-speed, simple, and compact. Small enough to fit on the podium. They also maintain various interfaces to accommodate whatever terminal is also in use on the podium: from serial to Centronics to USB and even direct Ethernet (via JetDirect/raw port forwarding--POS printers do this as well and run on the same principles).

  11. Fihart

    Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

    When I first got a PC for work in 1985 (paid for by me !) I used a Daisywheel printer (which produced typewriter quality text). However this type of impact printer made a sound like a toy machine gun when running.

    Guys I shared an office with insisted that the printer was exiled to the toilet nearby -- with a cable through the windows between computer and printer.

    Inevitably, this raised the possibility of waiting for some hapless soul to point at the porcelain -- and me issue text to the printer. With predictable hit and miss outcome.

    Once dot matrix printers boasted "Letter Quality" printing (it wasn't as it turned out) their extra speed and compactness led me to upgrade. Instead of the daisywheel's machine gun fire, my colleagues were treated to a sort of nightmare giant mosquito whine.

    1. cat_mara

      Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

      "Instead of the daisywheel's machine gun fire, my colleagues were treated to a sort of nightmare giant mosquito whine."

      When I started work, dot matrix printers were still quite common and were often enclosed in foam-lined boxes in an attempt to cut down that mosquito whine. Within a few more years, though, they were replaced entirely by cheap laser printers and they vanished into the Great Skip in the Sky, baffle-boxes and all. Within a few more years, the laser printers had mutated into great eleventy-page-per-minute brutes that made a noise like a Concorde jet engine warming up. Should've hung onto those baffle-boxes...

      1. Paul Mitchell

        Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

        I do remember using hammer-bank metal band line printers in the 80s. They really did sound like a machine gun if you opened the foam lined box :-)

        They got superceded by full-width dot matrix line printers, which were nearly as loud.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

          "hammer-bank metal band line printers in the 80s. They really did sound like a machine gun if you opened the foam lined box "

          And if the band broke the box wouldn't present an obstacle.

        2. earl grey Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

          Chain printers and band printers back in theh 60s and 70s, but most of them were connected to mainframes (OF here). Even some stand alone solid drum types. Thankfully no windows software to deal with.

        3. Andytug

          Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

          I remember the line printer on the university mainframe back then (used for running particle collision simulations), it was kept in a foam lined box in a thoroughly soundproofed room, and you could still hear it some way down the corridor.

          Went through a crazy amount of (green lined) paper, too.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

            "Went through a crazy amount of (green lined) paper, too."

            And even more so if you got your FORTRAN control characters wrong and sent form feeds instead of line feeds. No, not me but I knew someone who did.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

          "They really did sound like a machine gun if you opened the foam lined box :-)"

          It horrifies me to remember that computer operators didn't have ear protectors in the 1960s. Cabinet cooling fans; exchangeable disk drives; tape decks; card and papertape readers; card and papertape punches. Especially line printers with the hood open as you set the alignment and hammers etc for the next set of stationery.

          It was quite interesting at the end of the Sunday overtime shift to hear how impressive silence was with everything powered down. Nowadays I have a permanent 8KHz tinnitus.

    2. My other car is an IAV Stryker
      Pint

      Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

      Not so far back, but I remember when I used an Epson 24-pin parallel-connected unit (2000-2003, but the unit was older). It was second-hand from the same nice church lady who snagged me a second-hand IBM PS/2 386 from the local elementary school that somehow had Windows 95 AND Office 95 on it. The printer and CPU got along great together even with an Iomega parallel ZIP drive in the way. The Epson did 180 dpi decently and 360 dpi if you didn't mind the slow speed and wet paper (took a LOT of ink, and came out a bit smudgy). But for senior year of college when it's all you have, beats paying the school IT for lab printing, and quality didn't matter: WIN!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

      "Daisywheel printer [...] made a sound like a toy machine gun when running."

      If it only sounded like a toy machine gun then it was one of the more quiet ones.

      For a real ear-splitting cacophony though, I doubt that there's much to compare with the old 'high-speed' mainframe drum and train printers, especially with the 'hood' open - they verged on the painful and disorientating.

  12. alain williams Silver badge

    Picture of man smashing printer ...

    surely it should be of a man smashing a computer showing a Windows logo?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Picture of man smashing printer ...

      Yes, but that would clearly be in breach of the El Reg Irrelevant Picture Policy (ERIPP)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    apparently 1600 doctor's perscription printers in Republic of Ireland affected

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dot Matrix printing from Win7, 8, 10

    apparently

    KB4048955 (Windows10 Version 1709)

    KB4048954 (Windows 10 Version 1703)

    KB4048953 (Windows 10 Version 1607)

    KB4048952 (Windows 10 Version 1511)

    KB4048956 (Windows 10 Version 1507)

    KB4048957 (Windows 7)

    KB4048958 (Windows 8 and 8.1)

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Some organisations like dot matrix printers because they will continue to print even when the ribbon has no ink on it what so ever unlike inkjet and laser printers which once their ink/toner has gone will stop printing until you replace the consumables. If your using carbon paper with a dot matrix it doesn't matter if the ink on the ribbon is dry as you will still get the print on the second layer

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Saving millions a year in ink!

  16. GoE

    They also just re-pushed one of the old Windows 10 updates for Windows 7/8.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3150513/latest-compatibility-definition-update-for-windows

  17. elgarak1

    As said, dot matrix printers are still very much in use in areas where a paper trail is required for evidence and documentation. Here in Germany that includes health care, and the public sector (administration, legal, and law enforcement).

    I hope the city of Munich takes a good look at all that. Their decision to switch from Linux to Windows 10 was very much substantiated by support of legacy soft- and hardware.

  18. Efros

    HP Synaptics touchpads too

    W10 keeps borking my perfectly functioning trackpad with its effing clickpad driver. Hate to inform you MS they're not the same effing thing! The clickpad has a lot fewer functions that are fixed and mess up my three finger sweeping to and fro on web pages. Cut it out already!

  19. brakepad

    Just won't die

    I'm not surprised dot matrix printers are still around. About 25 years ago my father 'rescued' an Epson FX-100 dot matrix printer from the tip. It must have been 10 years old back then and served me well through my GCSEs, and the thing is still going. It weighs a ton and would foreseeably continue to work even an Office Space-esque onslaught, and it literally costs pennies a year to run by re-solventing the ribbon, which as a Yorkshire family is enough to justify why it's still around :-)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Linux still supports dot-matrix printers

    But those new-fangled laser printers not so much!

  21. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Alas, I never really found a use for my Epson FX printer. It sits on a shelf collecting entropy.

    I should see if I can sell it.

  22. Updraft102 Silver badge

    "I have 40 computers in my firm with dot matrix," wrote user Saintneo. "My customers are upset I can't print invoices to them. This is outrageous."

    Good Lord, man. You're not using beta releases for something important, are you?

    Any updates from Microsoft are in beta, and are not to be trusted for at least two weeks following release. By then, any problems that may exist will have been made apparent by stories like this one, and if you don't hear them, you can cautiously go forward with one or a few PCs at a time. Be ready to roll them back; it's possible that none of the other beta testers end users have tried running your particular hardware/software combo yet.

    Expect to do this every month from now on. Welcome to Windows as a Service! Most people didn't realize it means you're providing the service to Microsoft, not the other way round. It's a shame that they've even had to infect Windows 7 and 8.1 with this stupidity, but when you shitcan your professional testers and don't hire anyone to replace them, what do you think the result is going to be? Looking at you, Satya...

    If you want your PCs to work reliably, let other people do the beta testing.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      See https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2017/07/27/waas-simplified-and-aligned/

      Microsoft's current position is that they have four versions of Windows on the go: Insider, Targetted, Semi-Annual and LTS. The last of these is only available if you are an enterprise customer and I'd be surprised if the average SME is so I'll ignore it.

      The Semi-Annual was formerly known as Current Branch for Business and is what you ought to be running (even if you are a home user, IMO). *Someone* in your organisation should have a few machines on the Targetted channel, to try to flush out issues like this. (That said, where the issue is a cock-up rather than an intentional withdrawal of a feature, it isn't obvious whether the more stable channel is actually a safer bet.) Microsoft themselves also recommend that any developers in your organisation should have a few machines on the Insider channel, to get even more advance warning of crap to come.

      You *could* start looking at whether your software requirements could be met by a platform that wasn't so incredibly user-hostile, but I think we all know the issues there. The bottom line is that if you *have* to use Windows, then you *ought* to be jumping through the above hoops.

  23. bed

    Alternative options do exist

    Two scenarios for you: When paying for stuff at our local builders yard, I swipe through my account card and their the computer pretending to be a till, prints out multipart invoice/receipt thing on a dot matrix printer my part of which gets recycled (burnt) when I get home. When paying for stuff at a less local establishment, I swipe through my account card and their computer pretending to be a till, e-mails me the details which I keep in a folder.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Alternative options do exist

      Let's try another scenario: You buy something for work. The vendor's computer, pretending to be a till should print out a multipart invoice/receipt but fails because it's just been borked by and update. Your expenses sheet for reimbursement gets bounced by the bits of paper wallahs because you failed to provide a suitable bit of paper.

      Not everything bought over the counter is bought without the need for a receipt.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After the creators fall update borked 3d stereoscopic gaming on windows 10 I'm considering 'upgrading' to windows 7...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going back to Windows 7

    I've had enough! Deleting Windows 10! I need my Epson (EPP Parallel Port) to print code to check - it's cheap and clear, the ribbons last for ages, the printer itself is indestructible... we had a leak in the roof once and it was filled with water. After we dried it out on the radiator, it made a complete recovery and 30 years on, it still works! Windows 10 is an unmitigated plague on the world's computers. Nadella has ruined the good windows/bad windows cycle, now Windows is a like perpetual car crash which does not conform to any predictable laws of physics.

  26. swampdog

    Que?

    Am I going mad? Dot matrix don't have drivers. You fling stuff out of "the printer port". There may be some idiot who wrote a java app to map 7/8/9/24 pin onto (whatever) single/double/quad strike modes of various printers but it would be as useful as hens teeth in a bucket of sludge. Applications understood the nuances of various dot matrix, never the OS.

    1. Fihart

      Re: Que?

      As I recall DOS progs like Wordstar and WordPerfect contained printer drivers. As the Epson FX80 had been rebadged by IBM and sold as part of early PC systems, it was the default -- many other printers of that period emulated the Epson so most worked without needing drivers.

      The problem with finding printer drivers may have begun when Windows took over much of the heavy lifting for laser printers, allowing them to become dumber and, thus, cheaper. Fortunately, printer manufacturers have a relatively honourable record of supporting legacy products. I say relatively because the rest of the IT industry can be shockingly irresponsible.

      Dot matrix printers could be programmed via text files to do entertaining things like wind the (sprocket fed) paper up, print a line at the bottom, change text size, wind the paper down, print another line at the top of the page and so on.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Que?

      Dot matrix printers certainly had drivers when I last used one. The technology used to get the electronic data into hard-copy form doesn't negate the need for a driver. The only time they wouldn't need one would be if they all possessed exactly the same characteristics and abilities, and they certainly don't.

      In the DOS days, many or most dot matrix printers for the PC platform were Epson compatible, so that programs that supported the Epson family directly would also work with them. The same was true of graphics cards, sound cards, and other hardware at the time; if you wanted to use nonstandard SVGA graphic modes in a DOS program, you had to make sure it would support your video card before purchase. A lot of them had support for the standard types (CGA, EGA, VGA) and a few others (Hercules graphics, Tseng, Paradise, Trident, etc.). In these, the driver was built into the application, so to speak. (This was before the VESA BIOS extensions existed.)

      Sound was the same way. Some of the earliest mainstream programs with real sound (not using the PC speaker) expected an Adlib card. The original Soundblaster was Adlib compatible, but to operate it in that mode would limit it to a subset of its abilities. Soon Soundblaster itself became the standard.

      DOS word processors often had extensive lists of printers they supported, which you would choose from before printing the first time or during the program installation. They, in essence, were also printer drivers built into the application. If one of those didn't work, falling back on Epson compatibility would generally make most printers work, but often without all of their features.

  27. tempemeaty

    Another Botch, another Tuesday...

    Hopefully nothing worse comes from this latest " Botch Tuesday™ "

  28. cutterman

    Curious that Vuescan on Windows manages to support just about every scanner ever made, even the most obscure, and regularly adds new ones.

    Yet MS struggles to natively support only a handful of printers.

    Once you know the printer specs, printer drivers are trivial to write.

    Smells like disinterest on MS part to me

    Mac

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "Once you know the printer specs, printer drivers are trivial to write."
      Perhaps you'd like to write one for Linux then. The Lexmark C543dn driver provided by Lexmark generates an erroneous message when printing: "Warning: waste toner bottle full". Lexmark's solution is to replace the empty toner bottle with a new one! The Linux community response would be a deafening silence were it not for the plaintive emails I received asking if I'd solved the problem yet.

      FWIW the erroneous error message doesn't appear in Win 7 or 10. It appears in Linux Cinnamon Mint 17.2 and 18.0.

    2. Jeroen Braamhaar
      Holmes

      Because VueScan's business model relies on them supporting the hardware.

      MS's business model relies on locking people in and then pumping out as many useless brittle features people didn't ask for and can't control, all the while only caring that that the customer's computer supports the downloading of the latest version, and the customer's wallet supports paying for it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Curious that Vuescan"

      Last time I checked it was $90 - and that's just to support scanners. MS could write drivers for every device around (which are far more than printers and scanners) - but it would cost, and those money should come from the customers.... or you can buy Vuescan if you need it.

  29. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I've got an old colour dot matrix

    Its and old Brother (probably so old its a first born male) and just for interest I just plugged it in to an old linux box (parallel ports are a rarity these days!) and booted it into a Ubu 12 and it worked! Well I think it worked - I may have to make my own ribbons. I was intrigued to see maybe 20 other printers piled up in the corner that have infinitely less moving parts and yet have lived and died since I got the brother.

  30. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "I have 40 computers in my firm with dot matrix," wrote user Saintneo. "My customers are upset I can't print invoices to them. This is outrageous."

    These guys let MS do wholesale updates to all their mission critical PCs?

    OMG!!

    Who could have EVER foreseen that MS would fragg up the updates in its new and glorious "we own you rmachine" Windows 10 "paradigm"? It's not as if MS has ever before been arrogant about quality control!

  31. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    Small Business Users

    .....still use dot matrix printers for their economy and reliability. All I can say is .......Linux in some flavor give you both and control over the upgrade path.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Small Business Users

      But no SOFTWARE support. If your business-critical software is Windows-ONLY with no alternatives, as the saying goes, you're up the creek.

  32. CFtheNonPartisan

    Compatibility?

    I have an older Canon scanner. After XP Canon abandoned the drivers that Win7 refused to load, and arrogantly told me I needed a new scanner. Google discovered another model's scanner driver worked for my scan ner just fine on Win7 and now Win10 although I have to manually select-load it. What a great business IT has become. Microsoft is just one of the group.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you run Windows by choice now...

    ...then you're an idiot.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: IWindows by choice

      Odd concept. I thought it was forced.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: IWindows by choice

        Most are. It's called lack of alternatives.

  34. https://rainbowzoom.eu

    Windows Updates usually break something :)

  35. mika7367

    I have an old Dot Matrix printer (Canon) I just love the screaming noise when it prints :)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FIX for Dot Matrix problem

    MS issued a fix on 21 November - KB4055038

    "This update addresses an issue that prevents some Epson SIDM (Dot Matrix) and TM (POS) printers from printing on x86-based and x64-based systems."

    1. leexgx

      Re: FIX for Dot Matrix problem

      Does this replace the broken update and make it available (as I had to uninstall and hide the broke and update)

  37. PeterM42
    Facepalm

    As usual...

    It wasn't broke - so they fixed it.

  38. avalee

    Essay Help UK

    When paying for stuff at a less local establishment, I swipe through my account card and their computer pretending to be a till, e-mails me the details which I keep in a folder.

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