The herpes simplex virus type 1 UL42 DNA polymerase processivity factor interacts physically with UL9 and enhances its ability to unwind short, partially duplex DNA. In this report, ATP hydrolysis during translocation of UL9 on single-stranded (ss) or partially duplex DNA was examined in the presence and absence of UL42 to determine the effect of UL42 on the catalytic function of UL9. Our studies reveal that a homodimer of UL9 is sufficient for DNA translocation coupled to ATP hydrolysis, and the steady-state ATPase catalytic rate was greater on partially duplex DNA than on ss DNA in the presence or absence of UL42. Although UL42 protein increased the steady-state rate for ATP hydrolysis by UL9 during translocation on either partially duplex or ss DNA, UL42 had no significant effect on the intrinsic ATPase activity of UL9. UL42 also had no effect on the catalytic rate of ATP hydrolysis when UL9 was not limiting but enhanced the steady-state ATPase rate at only subsaturating UL9 concentrations. At subsaturating UL9 to DNA ratios, stoichiometric concentrations of UL42 were shown to increase the amount of UL9 bound to ss DNA at equilibrium. These data support a model whereby UL42 increases the ability of UL9 to load onto DNA, thus increasing its ability to assemble into a functional complex capable of unwinding duplex DNA.