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What's with the HP Laserjet 5MP Memory Print Error?

Updated on November 8, 2015
Old Faithful
Old Faithful

"This job requires more memory than is available in this printer."

I’ve had my HP Laserjet 5MP printer for 12 years. And it has served me well…until now. And no, it’s not the printer going bad. It is just not compatible with today’s technology. Here is the error I get:

This job requires more memory than is available in this printer.
Try one or more of the following , and then print again:
For the output format, choose Optimize for Portability.
In the Device Settings page, make sure Available PostScript Memory is accurate.
Reduce the number of fonts in the document.
Print the document in parts.

While these options, and a few other suggestions might work in some cases, it will not solve your problem overall.


- Pushing the yellow clear memory button on your printer

- Restarting your printer or computer

- Resetting the Postscript options in your printer preferences

- Increasing the printer memory allotment on your computer

- Hooking up your printer to a different computer

- Calling HP tech support. They stopped supporting the 5MP in 2001.

- Perusing the HP website. No search brings up the 5MP. It is just too old.

- Throwing your cat at the monitor*


You may have noticed that this problem began gradually and became worse and worse. You also may have noticed that you can still print from Word, Pagemaker, and Photoshop, but are having trouble printing from internet browsers and PDFs. The reason is this. Documents that are generated now, especially when acquired off of the internet, are larger files and contain more bits of information. When your 5MP was sold about 12 years ago, it was made to handle an incredible amount of information, but nothing close to what printers can handle now. The technology is simply outdated.


These are the only options you have:

- Add memory to your printer. A 16mb upgrade goes for around $17 (part #C3146). But this will only solve the problem for some documents and only temporarily as the technology continues to advance.

- Cut and paste the info you are trying to print into a Word or Notepad document. This will only work if the formatting is not crucial to your document.

- For a PDF file, try printing one page at a time. Sometimes this will work, sometimes it won’t.

- Use Adobe Acrobat (or other PDF editing programs) to simplify, or reduce the size of, your PDF file and then try.

- Print from an inkjet printer. These do not use a Postscript printing format so are not slowed up by document size.

- Replace your beloved 5MP with a newer laser printer.

But don’t throw it out. Not yet. You 5MP will still work with most Word documents and all the older files on your computer. Keep it hooked up for that, or donate it to a school or charity that can use it for simple documents.

I hope this helped. I wrote this article because no one offered the right answer when I searched the internet. Hope my discoveries help all of you out there who yearn for the truth.

*No animals were harmed in the troubleshooting that brought this article about. Please don’t harass me about it. I don't even have a cat. I'm allergic. So I can't even touch one to throw it. I'd get a rash. And start to wheeze. Not worth it.


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    • Kyndria profile image

      Kyndria 10 months ago from Shoreline Connecticut

      HO LEE COW, Sandy! What a trooper!

    • profile image

      Sandy 13 months ago

      I had this problem with my 5mp purchased in the last 1990's until I applied the HP 1100 driver to it. That allowed me to print any kind of document or webpage of any length. It's not the printer that's the problem. It's the driver. Now, however, I have a new Windows 10 machine that keeps updating the driver back to 5mp. I can't print anything hardly at all now, and I'm trying to figure out how to apply my laser jet 1100 driver to the 5mp in Windows 10.

    • profile image

      Mark 20 months ago

      Use the 5P driver instead and everything is fine (or try any other than the "Postscript"drivers).

    • profile image

      Mark 20 months ago

      Use the 5P driver instead and everything is fine (or try any other than the "Postscript"drivers).

    • profile image

      Jill S. 5 years ago

      Thanks SOOOO much for this post - I love my LaserJet 5M - I call her Old Bessie for obvious reasons - but lately I am having a DEVIL of a time with Adobe Acrobat files - I used to print everything from Acrobat Reader since next to nothing from Acrobat Pro would print (no matter how small and UNcomplex the file) - any workaround ideas?

    • profile image

      Tom Robertson 5 years ago

      I wanted to add that the document I had trouble with was a PDF of an 8-page application form from the web, and that my HP 5MP is maxed out to 35MB of RAM. I could get 4 pages printed with the PostScript driver, and all 8 pages with the other driver.

    • profile image

      Tom Robertson 5 years ago

      I found another work-around. I added another printer using the Windows Control Panel. This gives you a choice of two print drivers for the HP 5M - "HP LaserJet 5MP" and "HP LaserJet 5P/5MP PostScript". I was using the second one an running out of memory. Using the first one allowed me to print the whole document, however it was very slow.

    • profile image

      Mark Roussey 5 years ago

      Actually, I've found a work-around; I am still getting stellar performance from my 5MP, and refuse to relegate it to recycling. I find that I can get anything to print on my 5MP if I first convert the PDF to a more compatible format using PDF995. This is a freebee PDF creator that acts like a print driver. I first print the "offending" PDF to a second PDF file using PDF995, then print to my 5MP - Voila! It works. At least, thus far.

    • profile image

      Peter 6 years ago

      Thanks Brian Print as image worked.

    • profile image

      Brian 6 years ago

      Thanks, I think dated technology is my core problem. And although I have 32MB of additional memory, I still have problems with some PDF files. One solution I found is to "Print as Image". On my Windows XP computer, I get to that selection via the "Advanced" button on the Print dialog pop up window.