print spooler problems on Windows 2008 Terminal Server. We keep lossing ability to print and contantly need to restart the spooler service

gomeldude used Ask the Experts™
Experiencing major printer disruption on our Windows 2008 Terminal Server. Throughout the day all of the printers become unavailable either because the spooler has crashed ( no printers listed) or jobs submitted just do not print. Before the printers become unavailable see warning event id 1114 Error communicating with the Spooler system service  or error event id 6161 the document&failed to print.. 
Made sure that:
      Winprint is set as the print processor  for all printers
      Removed all third party printer monitors
      Using Vista digitally signed drivers
Im thinking the problem is caused by a printer driver but not sure how to identify which one is causing the problem?
Thank you in advance for any suggestions on what to try next
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You should reallystart looking at using cleanspl.exe which is in the windows resource toolkit.  This will remove all print drivers and 3rd party monitors.  Just dont delete the usb or tcpip monitors.
Then once done ONLY load approved drivers that are PCL based.
we had a problem with this in 2003, what we had to do is disable SNMP on all the printer. Go to each printer properties, click on ports, edit and uncheck "SNMP Status Enabled". I very well could be a bad driver causing the problem.


I dont' think cleanspl.exe works with Windows 2008, I've removed all of the third party print monitors and change all printers to Winprint so that on third party processor should be loaded


I'll go through all of our printers and remove SNMP, most are SNMP configured but don't see why that would make a difference?

Any idea on how to find out which driver causes the problem, event log?
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Are you seeing the spooler service crash events in the event logs? Does the print service restarts on its own or it just hangs?
We will need to go into the history of the issue.
When did you see this for the first time? What drivers did you add during that time frame? You can get the driver addition events from the event logs if you trace back the first spooler crash event.
We had this problem and it was caused by a service installed with one of the printers. I always recommend installing JUST the driver to the server and not utilizing any of the "bonus" software that will come with many of today's printers (ESPECIALLY HP!!!!)

If you think this may be the case, PLEASE uninstall all of the software and install just the driver for the device.


The event log has shown the spooler service crashing  Term Services-Printers event ID 1114. When checking in Services, the print spooler always appears to be running (it is set to restart upon failure). I dont think its stopping/restaring because restarting the service manually always brings the printers back.

At other times we see PrintSpooler event ID 6161 then users start reporting they cannot print. We can see all of the printers and send jobs, but nothing prints. Again restarting the spooler service corrects the issue.

The problem first started on August 13th right around the time I added the Dell 1720dn printers. The drivers are digitally signed Vista drivers the latest ones from Dell

What event logs the addition of printer drivers, its possible that other printers were added besides the 1720s

I would suggest to remove those 1720dn printer driver and check.
In the event logs you can look for warning, event ID 20 stating that printer drivers were added.
It is always best to go with the drivers available in the HCL in the add printer dialogue box.
Remove the driver and use the HP LaserJet 4 driver for the printer for a day or two and see if you still have the problem. Be sure to completely remove the driver.

The Dell 1720dn is a black and white printer and the LaserJet 4 driver will give you basic black and white printing functionality, but will not utilize the duplexing without tinkering. You'll at least be able to print and test . . .


Last week I removed the Dell 1720s as well as some of our older printers (e.g. Toshiba  and Konica) but the problem continued. Was not sure if just deleting the printer and removing the drivers from the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-3 registry key was enough, did not make a difference. Weve also been rebooting the server nightly

I did what plimpia suggested, removing SNMP as well as LPR Byte Counting options. Since then printing seems to be stable. After making the change and restarting the spooler service have not seen one PrintSpooler error logged. So far no reports of problems from the users, usually by this time we would have had to stop/restart the spooler a couple of time. Strange, the server had been running fine for a couple of months with printers having these options selected?

Not sure if the issue has been resolved but it's looking better


Thank you for the  info I never would have thought that the SNMP setting would cause this type of issue. I'm in the process of removing it from our Windows 2003 print server as well


over the past two days, after removing the SNMP and LPR Byte Counting on the printers that had these options set we have not experienced a single problem. Seem that plimpias' suggestion fixed the issue. Thank you everyone for all of your help

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