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Print server issues

Posted on 2004-08-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I currently work at a College and until recently we had one print server with 60 network printers on it.  All the printers started printing slow and bogging down and we were starting and stopping the print spooler several times a week to keep everyone printing.  So we decided to setup a second print server on a newer machine.  We started setting up all new network printers on it and migrating some of the old printers off of the old print server.  Now on the new print server we are getting the same symptoms as the old print server.  Can anyone lead me in the direction to fix the situation?

Thanks in advance,
Niki
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Question by:wonika
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 11923568
what version of windows?
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by:wonika
ID: 11975219
Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 11978630
Check the spool directory - could be failed/cancelled print jobs dead and just occupying space.  If the files are fragmented other print jobs might take longer.

Any messages in event logs?  Either the server's or the clients?

How do the test pages print?
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12152045
check the available space on the server`s c: drive.
If the paging file(virtual memory) and the print spooler use all the available space, you need to move one of them to another partition.
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12164207
Also, I have heard that turning off advanced printing features in the driver (advanced tab) may well cure some printing problems.
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by:wonika
ID: 12178994
How do I "Check the spool directory - could be failed/cancelled print jobs dead and just occupying space.  If the files are fragmented other print jobs might take longer."
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12204325
On the SERVER, open the printers folder and doubleclick the printer in question.Any jobs on the window that opens are sitting in  the print spooler.
Try going to component services in the admin tools, and restarting the print spooler service.
If that cures things (probably temporaily) you need to look at your paging file and spooler settings.


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by:wonika
ID: 12250622
Stopping and restarting the print spooler does fix it temporaily so how do I look at the paging file and spooler settings?
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12253211
If  there is limited space on the server`s C: drive (which is where the spooler and paging file live by default) , then the paging file and the spool directory will soon use it up.
It`s a vicious circle, the more files you spool, the more virtual memory you need, which means that the paging file needs to expand, and that causes a pause, which causes spool files to fail, and the available space decreases, which causes spool problems.

You can move these files to a larger partition or even a seperate drive

The version of windows you use will effect how you do this, but these articles may help.

http://www.pcanswers.co.uk/tutorials/default.asp?articleid=31660&page=1&pagetypeid=4&subsectionid=607

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=123747
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12253289
Also, you can increase the default  paging file.

http://www.petri.co.il/pagefile_optimization.htm

This may also be relevant:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;822834
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by:hdhondt
ID: 12275041
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Accept wyliecoyoteuk
Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.

PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!

hdhondt
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12275303
hdhondt,
I think you might be getting a little carried away.
It`s hardly 21 days between the 7th and 11th of October   :^)
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Author Comment

by:wonika
ID: 12275645
I was about to say that same thing but I guess you beat me to it.  :)  I am about to try everything you suggested.  Sorry it has taken me so long but we are sooo busy.
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by:hdhondt
ID: 12285452
Oops - missed that one...

Let's wait until wonika has tried the suggestions.
H-)
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by:wonika
ID: 12558776
Ok, I made the page file bigger but we still have to stop and restart the spooler.
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12571071
How much space do you have on the servers c drive?
Increasing the paging file will only REDUCE the spooler space.
If you have less than 250 Mb spare, you need to move the spooler (and the paging file perhaps) to another drive.
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12571100
Just thought, there can be another issue- access licences.
If you do not have enough CALs, then it will cause problems, especially as there is a 10 minute timeout on unused CALs.
I.E. 10  simultaneous CALs- means 10 people can connect simultaneously, but then 10 minutes must elapse before any connection is dropped.
I think this is so, we moved to Linux SAMBA print servers a long time ago for this exact reason- Linux servers have no license restrictions.
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Author Comment

by:wonika
ID: 12596062
We have unlimited CALs.  We have a campus agreement with Microsoft.  Where can I go to check that we do have what we need just in case I am wrong?
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12597489
Check that they are installed in the server settings.
Sorry, but I don`t know where to look for that in win 2003, we don`t use MS servers anymore.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12597998
Licensing Control Panel will list the Licenses and licensing mode.
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Author Comment

by:wonika
ID: 12628323
I looked at the licenses for the print server and it says Purchased 1500 Reached 118.
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wyliecoyoteuk earned 250 total points
ID: 12629580
Not a licensing issue then.
Could be the traffic is just too much foir the print server.
possible cures:

1. split the traffic between more servers
2. add load balanced multiple network cards to the server.
3. look at a faster processor, more memory, faster hard disk, etc.
4. setup print drivers directly on high traffic clients, thus removing the stress on the server.
5. manage the network traffic using a managed switch or router.
6. set print queue priorities (this is often ignored, but can help by setting faster printers to higher priority)
7. consider a linux SAMBA print server, we have found that not running a gui (specifically, not running a microsoft gui)on the server increases efficiency hugely.
8. set spool settings on the print server to "start printing after the last page has spooled" and disable bidirectional communication. Also disable advanced printing features.

My instinct tells me that the bottleneck is probably the network card.
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