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Printing Problems

Hi there

We have a Microsoft network with the server running 2000 Professional and the other machines a combination of 98, XP Home and XP Pro.  We have a printer connected to one of the XP Home machines and this printer is used by about 6 - 8 users.  At some time during each day, any new person who tries to print to the machine gets an error and no further connections to the machine, whether to print or view files is possible.  People who have printed during the day remain capable of doing so.  A restart of the machine once again allows access to all.

Is there something that can be done to stop this problem.  Are there a maximum number of connections to an XP Home machine?  Can this be changed and how?

Thanks
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mkalmek
Asked:
mkalmek
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1 Solution
 
bluchsinCommented:
XP Home edition is not a system that should be used for networking. The OS was not built for it. I would take the printer off that system and connect it to the server and network it from there.
Does everyone log into the server?
If you do not want to attach it to the server then I would use XP Pro system and share it from there. I would not use the XP home system for this.
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mkalmekAuthor Commented:
Not really a practical solution as the printer is in a geographically convenient place and attaching it to the servers or the XP Pro machines doesn't suit us.  Also don't really want to spend money upgrading software if there is an easier solution
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msaracenoCommented:
when that happens and the new person trying to print cannot print is this allways the same person or is it random ? when this happens try to ping the machine by IP from the system who can no longer browse or print to the machine and see if it reply's then ping by name and see if it replys. If it reply's by IP and not by name then it sounds like a problem with the browse list. you could then just make a static entry in the host file on each system. Let me know your results
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mkalmekAuthor Commented:
i will try that tomorrow as i will next be at the office then, let you know what happens.  it is random as to which machine is affected, but it almost certainly seems to be something to do with a maximum number of connections.
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star57techCommented:
I would put it on a Print Server ( Jet Direct ) or do this. Install that printer on the server, Do not move it, just install from the workstation. Then share that Printer on the server, then have all the workstations print to the server's share instead of the workstations.

Keith
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kkohlCommented:
In Windows 2000 Professional the maximum number of concurrently connected users was 10.  As soon as that number was reached, any further attempt to acces that machine remotely from a new source was rejected.

I am looking to see a MS link or actual blurb of verification for Windows XP, but I definitely suspect the limit here is still 10.  If you have more connections, they want you to get a server product :-)

A way to check this (or at least verify it is a connection issue and not a print issue) is to try and access a share on that machine when you find you can't connect to the printer.  If you can't connect to the share either, then you know it has nothing to do with printing, but with connections.

I think 10 is the magic number.  That is 10 connections, not 10 users.

Will post a link up, hopefully soon.

kkohl
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kkohlCommented:
Got an answer for you I think...

Check this out:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314882

Turns out ten is still the limit on Windows XP Professional...
But the Home edition gets only 5!!!

So, your answer is something like this.

No, there is nothing to be done to stop this problem with your current configuration.
Yes, there is a limit to the number of inbound connections on all Microsoft non-server products.  10 on XP Pro, 5 on XP Home.
No, it cannot be changed.

The easiest and fastest workaround would be to just upgrade that XP Home machine to XP Pro.  At least then you get an additional 5 connections which should, for the most part, accommodate your 6-8 users.
If you envision a growth in the number of users, you should seriously take a look at a server product.

hope that helps.

kkohl
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simonlimbCommented:
The easiest and fastest workaround would be to just spend £27 on an Edimax PS-1203 Print Server.  http://www.edimax.nl/ for info and http://www.dabs.com/uk (Quick Links Code: 31BGWS) to buy.  They are perfect for your situation and easy to install/configure.  They plug into the parallel port in the back of the printer and the network cable plugs into it.
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msaracenoCommented:
Since it seems the limitation is the amount of users allowed to conect I think the best thing is to set up a print server like a jetdirect or a linksys or netgear. In doing this you do away with the limitations and do not have to upgrade your OS
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mkalmekAuthor Commented:
Thanks kkohl

Was searching the knowledge base for that but just couldn't find such a thing.  Now that I know it is not configurable, I guess I'll have to spend a little.  Any idea if lowering the timeout as suggested in the article will make much difference?
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kkohlCommented:
Glad I was able to help.

The timeout issue can be hacked up to accommodate your needs, but this statement from the article is your defining arguement...

"Therefore, lowering the AutoDisconnect time can help to reduce some of the problems that users may encounter with the ten-connection limit or the five-connection limit on a system that is not used heavily for server purposes."

For printing services alone, then you should have no real issues with loweing the activity timeout.  In regards to file sharing, what you will see is more "disconnected drive" or a file no longer available messages --- possibly.

Honestly, I haven't played around at all with that sort of timeout setting so I can't say from dead on experience about it.  If it works for you in your environment, then its a bonus :-)

But again, if you get any sort of shared application and/or see a need for more users, you would be much better off with a server based solution.

Cheers
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