How Does Hardware Page Count Affect Printing Speed?
on 10 August 2020 10:59 PM
PaperCut provides accurate tracking of printer usage by analyzing the printer spool file on the server. Before the job is sent to the printer, PaperCut determines the job attributes including the page count, color/grayscale, duplex, paper-size, etc. There are some cases where the pages printed can differ from PaperCut’s up-front analysis. Hardware Page Count can be used to confirm with the printer how many pages were printed.
Hardware Page Count can improve log accuracy, but it does slow down printing a little by causing a delay between print jobs. To explain why this is the case we first explain how Hardware Page Count works.
The Printer SNMP standard allows querying of printer status and page count information over SNMP. PaperCut makes use of this information to verify the number of pages printed for each print job. This works as follows:
Hardware Page Count affects printing speed by introducing a delay between print jobs while it is waiting for the previous job to complete printing (Step 3 above). PaperCut detects a job has completed by querying the SNMP status and waiting for the device to go into an “idle” state. PaperCut waits to see a few seconds of consistent idle state before taking a snapshot of the page counts and releasing the next job. We wait this time because some printers briefly indicate they are idle whilst still printing a job. PaperCut needs to be 100% sure the previous job has finished before continuing.
This process of waiting for the printer to become idle introduces 2 types of delays:
Enabling Hardware Page Count will slow down printing to a degree. So there is a compromise between improved logging accuracy and the speed of printing. Each site needs to evaluate this compromise to determine if Hardware Page Count meets their needs. Hardware Page Count can be disabled if printing speed is a priority.
Some sites choose to enable Hardware Page Count to more closely match PaperCut logs with the devices meter/billing counters. If this is the only reason, we generally recommend against this as there will always be some level of discrepancy between these counters as discussed here.
There is an advanced method to fine-tune the PaperCut’s Hardware Page Count. We’ve documented how this feature can be modified so that you can understand how it works, but in almost all cases the PaperCut Support team recommends staying with the default options.
WARNING: Tampering with these settings can cause major problems like print jobs not being released, or pages not being counted correctly. If you decide to modify these settings, make small changes at a time and test each one thoroughly.
When Hardware Page Count is enabled, PaperCut waits for the printer to report an “idle” state before releasing the next job from the print queue. When the job is released, the printer state changes to “printing” until the job is done, then will return to an “idle” state.
You can adjust this behavior by modifying two values in the Print Provider configuration file.
To adjust these values, open the print-provider.conf file on your print server where the PaperCut Print Provider is installed. This is stored in
In this file you can add up to 5 custom lines to specific unique Hardware Page Count settings for specific printer models or manufacturers. Each of these lines starts with HWCheckModel1, HWCheckModel2, up to HWCheckModel5.
In this example you can see a rule set for a model “HP Laserjet 4100” and a manufacturer “Brother”. This string is matched with what the device self-reports using SNMP.