Printer memory is important for the printer to work faster and smoother. But printer memory is not exactly like computer memory.
In this article, we will cover 9 important points that you should know about printer memory.
We will explain do printers have memory? If yes then is it possible for you to access it or not? Additionally, why do they need memory, how much do they need, how you can clear it and more.
Do Printers Have Memory?
Yes, printers have memory. Printers have three kinds of memory.
The first one is like RAM (Random Access Memory) that we use in computers. But in printers, it is known as volatile memory.
This type of memory provides the printer with high speed and makes it capable to perform various tasks with ease.
In this memory, the printing jobs are stored in the queue format so that the computer is free for other tasks. But they do not store any memory and you don’t have to worry about these types of printer memory.
The second one is non-volatile memory. It is very similar to PC hard drives.
And this type of printer memory you should care about but this function is not found in a regular small home or office printer. Because they are not necessary for limited uses and adding this type of feature will raise the printer price.
You will find this type of memory in a large office printer where offices are connected with a network and every person uses that single printer for their printing job.
You can imagine a printer that carries that type of heavy workload needs storage space to maintain the systematic workflow.
The hard drive stores the printing jobs in a queue according to the order received. The hard drive feeds the printer as fast as the printer can print.
But there is one very interesting thing that it doesn’t delete the previously performed jobs just overwrites the old jobs when a new job comes in. It works as an endless loop that keeps recording and always has free space for new jobs.
So, that’s why you need to erase this type of printer memory by yourself if you are decommissioning the printer from his work.
And the third type of memory is located on a microprocessor chip that you don’t need to bother about.
Your printer is very similar to a computer which is operated by a processor to run all its different functions systematically and smoothly.
And the code by which you can control these functions is stored on a non-erasable and non-readable memory normally located on a microprocessor chip.
The printer uses the printer driver and the print queue of the computer to get the printing job directly to the printer processor as a serial set of instructions that’s why these printers do not have any additional memory.
After the job is done the queue gets empty until the processor receives the next job order. So, there is nothing like storing old printing data.
Why Do Printers Need Memory?
Printers need memory and storage to work faster. The printer uses this memory to store and process printing jobs after receiving it from the computer. After completing the printing job it clears the memory to make space for the next job.
Printer memory is very important for two main reasons first Speed and second is printing quality.
More the memory the printer has it will work faster and be capable of printing high-quality large size printouts.
How Much Memory Should A Printer Have?
Usually, maximum printers use SIMMs (inline memory modules) which are generally between 2 MB to 16 MB or maybe 32 MB depending on your brand and model.
But now they are upgradable to 544 MB to 1 GB by applying third party SIMMs if your printers allow or by installing SO-DIMMs (Dual inline memory modules).
But black & white laser printers should have at least between 32 MB to 64 MB of memory and colour laser printers required 128 MB memory.
How To Check Printer Memory (RAM)?
It is very easy to check printer memory or RAM. Just follow the following steps:
- First, go to the start button then move to settings and click Devices and Printers.
- Choose the correct printer icon and go to properties.
- Press the Device option tab.
- And now in the Printer Memory list, you can check RAM.
From this section, you can increase or decrease your printer memory as per your requirement. It is one of the solutions that you can apply if your printer shows insufficient memory.
But remember there are many reasons for the printer to show a memory error.
How Much Memory Do You Need?
The requirement of printer memory depends on the type of printing job. In simple words, you need that much MB of printer memory as much MB of printing job you want to do at a time.
Suppose you want to print or scan a document of 10 MB in one go then you at least require 10 MB or more printer memory.
What If the Printer Doesn’t Have Enough Memory?
Generally, the printer shows memory problems when the printer is unable to store the data on its RAM. If your printer has 4 MB memory and the document that you want to print is 20 MB then it cannot store in its RAM and shows an error.
The easy solution is to increase the printer memory if the option is available. Otherwise, you can reduce the DPI of the print job. Reducing DPI lowers the quality of the print and takes less space.
You can also upgrade the printer memory for that you have to check the manual to find if the printer has upgradable memory and the maximum RAM the printer can support.
How the Printer Uses Memory?
The printer uses the memory to store the multiple printing jobs so that you don’t need to send them separately.
If you are required to print 30 documents separately you can select all and give a printing command after that the computer will transfer the job by wired or wireless to your printer.
And the printer will store them in RAM. After that, it warms up the ink or toner and begins reading and printing the files from the RAM.
Whereas if this does not happen with your printer then for sure it doesn’t have a memory and you have to print all the documents separately one by one.
And also the printer scanner uses the RAM to store the scan documents in its memory to perform the next task.
Can You Access Printer Memory?
Generally, printer memory is not accessible, specifically volatile memory (like RAM). But you can have access to non-volatile memory (like PC hard drives) but it is too technical and you have to be an expert.
According to our expert, you don’t need to have access to volatile memory as it is not important.
But if you have a large printer that uses hard drives to store printing data, it can be accessed by connecting the drive to a computer and using it as an auxiliary drive.
To do this you need a few tools and you have to be an expert. Whereas if you try you can have this level of expertise easily.
How To Clear Printer Memory?
It is very important if you decommissioned any printer or want to sell it to someone then it important to clear its memory.
Volatile memory gets clear easily when you turn off the printer after work.
Generally, All-in-one printers may have stored what you have printed or scanned. To clear the memory you have to do a basic reset.
Turn on the printer and unplug it for 15 to 20 seconds and then plug it back in again. It will reset and clear all your memory.
Printers with non-volatile memory are a little bit difficult to clear. These printer memories are called circular buffers. When data reaches the end of the memory it starts again. And runs in a circular way.
Think if you have printed some confidential documents now and want to remove those from the memory. Then you have to print enough non-confidential documents so that it gets out of the loop.
There is another way of clearing the memory is by connecting the drive with the PC. But you should know that large multifunction printers memory take sufficient time to clear.
These are the few things which are important if you use a printer on a regular basis or if you are going to buy a new printer for a specific purpose. If you need to know or have any other questions regarding printer memory you can ask in the comment section below.
Tanmoy Misra found his love for tech early in life when he got his first Nintendo (NES) console. He spent many hours blowing into cartridges to no avail until inspiration struck and he started taking apart and rebuilding anything that didn’t work. After dropping console gaming at the end of high school, Tanmoy entered the world of PC online gaming. His love of gaming and problem-solving soon led him to build his computers. As per expertise, he is an ISF-certified video calibrator and covering AV for a number of publications since 2018.