Do Printers Have Memory of What Was Printed?

David printed some confidential papers with his printer last week, but recently he lost the source of the printed documents. How can he get the documents from the printer? Do printers have a memory of what was printed?

Regular printers have only volatile memory that deletes the documents when you turn off the printer for a while. But advanced ones can do a lot more than just printing page after page.

So, continue reading the article to find out the memory types of different printers and their data storing system.

Table of Contents

What Is Printer Memory?

Printers have their own dedicated memories, and it’s essential to avoid errors while printing. Printer memory is a built-in to the printer, and it separates from computer memory. Usually, a certain amount of installed memory comes with all printers, but most of them are upgradable for handling more printing jobs.

How does it work?

Computers typically give instructions to your printer to do the printing job. The printer has a temporary memory that contains information only at the time of printing. Computers send a high-level description of the page that is to be printed to the printer.

In the case of text, the computer sends information about the content, font, character size, and everything related to the text to the printer.

For pictures, computers send the color and brightness of each pixel. So the printer converts these to dots on a piece of paper. The computer makes the image and sends it to the printer’s memory for further procedures. This image may stay in the memory until you turn off the printer’s power.

Large printers often include a hard drive that stores many pages to print multiple copies of large documents. After collating the pages, the drive retains the image even after switching off the power.

Memory Types in Printers

A printer has a processor, which controls different functionalities regarding printing. Besides, another non-readable and non-erasable memory is on the microprocessor chip, which stores the codes that govern the printer’s functions.

Simple printers typically have no additional memories as they use the printer driver and the print queue to do the printing job as a set of instructions. In this case, the queue becomes empty when it completes printing.

Some high-speed printers use the type of memory that has multi-user capability. The printing task is dumped into the printer memory to free the computer for other jobs. This memory also works as a queue with a set of instructions and empties when the printing is done.

Large printers use printer memory as actual hardware in the printer. If several persons access the same printer in offices, they use this kind of printer. The hard drive works as an endless loop that records each and every instruction given to the printer.

Additionally, it also does the job of deleting unnecessary documents from the memory to make new space for the following tasks. It stores the set of instructions received and help sprint them as fast as possible.

Deleting the previously printed documents from memory is not its responsibility, but it usually overwrites the old tasks. For this reason, after decommissioning the printer, it erases the drive.

What Does Memory Do in Printers?

If you start printing multiple documents using your wireless printer, and after sometime, you disconnect your computer from the network, can it restore the work progress?

The printer will keep printing because it ‘sprinting from its own memory instead of from the computer directly. So, manufacturers added this feature to serve people with lousy Wi-Fi connections or for those who trip over their cords.

Moreover, Printer memories have some tasks to do after and before printing.

Faster Printing

Printer memory quickly accepts the documents from the computer that is to be printed. So, if the computer slows down later, it doesn’t interrupt the printing.

Color printing

Nowadays, modern color printers combine various colors and then do color printing in a complex way. In order to do so, printers need to run a sophisticated programming language in it. For that reason, it needs memory to run the whole program at once.

Business printers

Some high-quality business printers use multiple programming languages to support Adobe Postscript, a widely-used programming language.

Some Safety Issues Regarding Printer Memory

Printers have both volatile and non-volatile memories like computers. The volatile memory goes away when you switch off the printer, unlike the non-volatile memory.

But non-volatile memory can make you anxious if you print any confidential documents. Some printers use their memories which are known as a circular buffer among programmers. It starts from the beginning by writing sequential parts of the memory until it completes the cycle of instructions.

Imagine you printed some scanned copy of your credit cards, and then you have to sell your old printer on eBay. Then what will you do? To handle this situation, you have to print a lot of non-confidential documents on the printer so that the printer memory erases those copies of the confidential documents.

Business printers with non-volatile memories are in gigabytes, so you have to print many things to erase that confidential data. On the other side, home printers can do it more efficiently, just by printing 5 to 10 complex documents at once.

If you print something and then somehow delete or lose the source, how will you get back it? A specific program named preprinted can help you in this case which saves a copy of every instruction it is given.

Final Verdict

So, what do you think? Do printers have a memory of what was printed?Now, you know that they do have to some extent. But the volatile memories are not permanent, and it erases the data after a specific time. You can have a printer with a hard disk to save the later printings.

Printer memories are obviously helpful but sometimes risky. You have to use it carefully, especially if you plan to sell it to buy a new one.