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Printers disappearing from XP workstation

Posted on 2008-06-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
We have 1 XP pro workstation on a network of 20 computers that the printers just disappear.  There seems to be no reason for it, when you go to print the printers will be gone.  Not all the time, just a few days after installing them.  When they disappear all you have to do is reinstall them.  There are no errors and once you install them they work fine, until the time you go to print and they are gone.
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Question by:Pangeia
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21807901
When they disappear have you checked the printer spooler service to see if it's running?  Not sure that this is your problem, but I have seen it happen when the spooler service stops.
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by:mttyd
ID: 21815821
Yep probablly crashed spooler
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by:Pangeia
ID: 21846310
Sorry for the delay on the reply.

     The print spooler service is still running,  When the printer is gone all you have to do is run the install and it will work fine for a period of time.  When the print spooler crashes you cannot reinstall the printer without first restarting the spooler.

Thanks for the replies.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21846440
The reason I asked about the spooler is if the spooler is down, you probably won't be able to see printers in the Printers and Faxes area.

Are there any entries in the Event logs relating to printer or spooler problems?

Have you checked to make sure XP on this PC is at SP2?  I think there was an old problem similar to this that was solved by doing the SP. I don't think that you need to go to SP3 to solve this...SP2 should be adequate.
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Author Comment

by:Pangeia
ID: 21849637
XP Pro system fully patched to SP3 and the problem started prior to SP3 being released (at the time they were SP2). I have been working with networks & systems for over 21 years and have not seen this one. Nothing in the event logs showing problems with the spooler services. The spooler services are running when the printer disappears from the clients workstation. Probably looking at a rebuild of the system at this point but just seeing if there is a high level issue that I have not seen before, thank you.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21850271
I always hate to have someone do a reinstall because it's such a pain. However, the usual cause of such a thing, the spooler, seems to not be an issue for you.  Even if you lost connection to the print server, the printers should still be there.  None of the usual suspects seem to apply.

You might want to attempt a repair using the second repair option from the XP install CD. Theoretically you would reload Windows, but your apps and data would remain...depends on how much you have going on with this PC.
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mttyd earned 2000 total points
ID: 21929048
Any chance there is a problem with the user's local profile on the machine?  Might be quicker to rebuild than the whole OS.
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