.PRN files no longer open nor print

amanda p 1 Reputation point

I have .prn files that were generated when I saved online work using the 'print to file' feature available in the print menu. The files were saved in 2020. I have always been able to dc these files, and they would open, then I could print them. I use the same laptop running Windows 8 and the same printer. I tried to open these files, and they no longer open. I have tried many programs, Firefox, Chrome, Word, Microsoft Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Adobe Readed DC, and Libre Office, used online prn to prt and prn to pdf file converters, downloaded Printfil, changed extensions to .pdf and .xps, and taken my laptop to a tech admin who copied the files to his personal laptop to attempt to open them using the full version of Adobe. Nothing works. This has affected every .prn file I have, not just the 2 I absolutely need to view or print. Can someone offer a solid solution that will allow either printing, viewing or conversion that will allow print or view?

I'm sorry if the tags are wrong, I was unable to use prn, printer, or files.

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  1. PMT 86 Reputation points
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  2. Limitless Technology 39,501 Reputation points


    Thank you for your question.

    When you print to a file the program outputs whatever it would have sent to the printer you have attached to your computer to a file instead. The idea is that later you might want to send this file to a similar printer on a different computer. So, the main use for a .PRN file is to copy it to a printer in order to get the output. You can open a .PRN file in any text editor but what you'll likely see is your text surrounded by a whole bunch of "junk" which represents all the various printer codes necessary to set margins, special spacing, graphics, etc.

    Printing this file successfully requires a few assumptions:

    The two printers are identical or, at least take the exact same commands to do the exact same things.
    The printer you want to print on is set to be the default printer for the machine it is connected to. If it's not, use the Control Panel to set the printer to be the default.
    The printer is connected to a physical port and not via USB (read on even so; the solution to this is at the end).

    Alternatively there are some online tools which will convert from .prn to .pdf file .
    Please also check in the event viewer if there are some error logs or warning while you open .prn files.

    --If the reply is helpful, please Upvote and Accept as answer--

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