Alphatronics, Inc.
Virtual Port Monitor Questions & Answers
What is the purpose of Virtual Port Monitor?
It produces raw printer output so that developers and end users can operate on the single feature most programs have; the ability to print. By capturing the printer output, several possibilities exist: And more...
I ran the installer. Now what?
Alternately, you may use the Add Printer Wizard, and when prompted for a port, select "Create a new port".
Are there any features missing in the unregistered version?
No. The evaluation period provides all functionality for 30 days.
How do I enter the registration code I recieved?
Using the dashboard application, enter the code on the "About" screen. You may also re-run the installer and enter the code when prompted. All settings will be retained.
I tried to import the printer output into a word processor and got garbage. Am I doing something wrong?

Most printer output is understood by printers only.

The exception to this rule is if the printer driver is designed to produce image data or text.

Standard Windows drivers do not produce image data, but the "Generic/Text Only" driver will produce text.

Also, graphic design programs allow placement of EPS files. This requires a Postscript printer driver with the Postscript Output Format set to Encapsulated Postscript (EPS).

This format does not produce a preview of the file and may not work as expected.

My software is "hard wired" to print to LPT1. Can I capture printer output from LPT1..LPT9?

Yes, but if the physical port actually exists, the Windows port monitor gets control of it before Virtual Port Monitor can, so you may need to disable the port in the BIOS setup.

To create a Virtual LPT1: port:

Windows still calls it a "Local Port" in the ports list, because it starts with "LPT".

I added a Virtual Port called LPT1..LPT9, but it's not working in DOS mode.

As of Version, LPT1..LPT9 devices are captured directly by the Alphatronics service so the port is available as long as the service is running. Previous versions routed the port through the Windows print spooler, which will close ports the subsystem deems idle or unused.

There are some DOS programs that will never work properly with Windows because they attempt to operate directly on the hardware, and the hardware does not exist.

Does Virtual Port Monitor alter the data emitted by the driver?

No. The resulting file is a binary copy of all data sent from the driver.

Some drivers change their output based on data collected from the printer (i.e.: choose not to download fonts installed in the printer).

Since a Virtual Port is not bi-directional, this query cannot be performed, so there may be a difference in the data output from the driver because of this.

Does Virtual Port Monitor run as a service?

Virtual Port Monitor is installed as an extension to the Print Spooler service and as a service.

The service is used to send print files to their output directory, run post-print applications, and to facilitate configuration.

My Print Spooler keeps crashing. They recommended removing all third party port monitors?

To troubleshoot a spooler problem you can use Virtual Port Dashboard (VirtualPortMonitor.exe) to de-activate Virtual Port Monitor for troubleshooting purposes.

Once the problem is isolated, you can re-activate Virtual Port Monitor using the same utility.

There are no known problems with Virtual Port Monitor crashing the Spooler Service.

If I install Virtual Port Monitor on a central server and share printers using Virtual Ports, do I have to purchase more licenses?

No. The software is installed on one computer.

If you need to install the software on more than one computer, then more licenses would be required. Our Site license allows you to install Virtual Port Monitor on every computer at a single location.

If I install Virtual Port Monitor on a cluster of servers do I have to purchase more licenses?
Yes. The software is installed on more than one computer.
Can Virtual Port Monitor receive jobs from the internet?

Yes. Enable and configure the TCP/IP Printing feature for the desired Virtual Port.

What is the Security page for?

If a security context is not entered on the Security Page:

If a security context is entered on the Security Page:

I entered a security context, but it isn't working properly.
Does Virtual Port Monitor work with Ghostscript?

Yes, and it's free! Install the Alphatronics PS driver (or some other Postscript driver) and browse for gswin32c.exe on the post-processing configuration tab, then add command-line switches as required.

For other types options, modify the command line in the post-print application edit box as required.

The following example will cause Ghostscript to emit a PDF file:

"C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.60\bin\gswin32c.exe" -r1152 -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sOutputFile="%AVPPath%%AVPBaseFileName%.pdf" %1

This example will create a 96 DPI TIFF file:

"C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.60\bin\gswin32c.exe" -r96 -sDEVICE=tiff24nc -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sOutputFile="%AVPPath%%AVPBaseFileName%-%02d.tif"

%1 is replaced at runtime by the output filename created by Virtual Port Monitor. The other environment variables, such as %AVPPath%, are also replaced at runtime.

How do I install an unsigned printer driver in Windows 8 and up?

Go to Change PC Settings\General\Restart Now\Troubleshoot\Advanced Options\Startup Settings\Restart and click Disable driver signature enforcement.

Once the compauter has been restarted, you can install using the add printer wizard.

How many Virtual Ports can be installed?

Virtual Port Monitor does not limit the number of ports based on the type of license.

The number of ports is limited only by system resources.

Can Virtual Port Monitor print to two ports at once?
Yes. The print spooler is multithreaded, so Virtual Port Monitor will simultaneously operate with as many threads as the spooler supports.
My batch file won't run on Windows 10 / Server 2016.

Cmd.exe no longer seems to work in session 0 in these Windows versions.

Virtual Port Monitor uses the CreateProcessAsUser() API function, which in previous versions of Windows, would not execute anything but exe files.

Now CreateProcessAsUser() seems to use a built-in command interpreter that uses the PATHEXT environment variable to execute batch files directly.

Instead of using "cmd.exe /c C:\MyFolder\MyBatchFile.bat", use "C:\MyFolder\MyBatchFile.bat".