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Office Apps on Dell Precision M4300 and M4400's lock up when printing, spooler locks up

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hello Experts,
I have a major dilemma and I'm going to toss it out into the open and see what if you can help me.

First, some background information and the original problem.


-      A client of my company's purchased 3 Dell Precision M4300 D-Dock laptops around the time of May/June.

-      This client has a relatively new Dell Poweredge running Windows 2003 SBS in an environment with 10-20ish users.

-      They run Office 2007 on all 3 of these laptops, and Quickbooks '08 on 1.

-      Two of the laptops have a problem printing to a Brother MFC7420, while the 3rd is hooked up to a HP Photosmart series.  These are all USB printers.

Now the original problem.

-      Laptop install was standard, joined to the domain, configured Outlook, installed Quickbooks and put them into place to be used.  They all worked beautifully out of the box.

-      Shortly after this though (within a few days) all 3 laptops began experiencing problems that seemed solely related to printing from Office apps and Acrobat.

-      What would happen is that the application you tried to print from would lock up completely, and the print spooler would take a dive.

-      Restarting the print spooler service or running an Office diagnostic would fix this problem immediately, but that is hardly an ideal work environment.

-      We did a complete wipe of these systems and installed only Windows and patched up to SP3 and installed the necessary programs.  Laptops still had issues

-      At this point we finally considered a potential hardware fluke with all three of the these machines and RMAd them for exact models.

Now a note I'd like to add, is this was all done early summer, I'll get to the more recent iterations soon.  During this initial period we never undocked the machines, they were always docked.

-      Once we put the 3 new laptops in place and rejoined them to the domain the problems seemed to be gone for a short period of time, then returned in full force.

-      After working with Dell Tech Support for many hours, they determined it was a chipset conflict but that there was no update yet to resolve this problem so we RMA'd these three brand new M4300's for 3 new and improved M4400's, hoping that potential chipset upgrades and hardware differences, as well as the new E-Dock model would get us out of the mess.

Everything after this point has happened recently, up to this morning.

-      Putting the 2 of the 3 new laptops in place seemed to be a success, but they encountered problems not long after I had gotten them up and running.  One of them took all the installations like a champ, I installed the Brother printer driver and hooked all the peripherals up to the dock.

As a note on these new laptops, none of them created docked hardware profiles like they should have, and they don't even recognize that they are docked or what the dock model is.

-      Back to the problem, to troubleshoot this per Dell, I took one of the laptops that was having problems with a
Brother printer to a desk with the Photosmart and the problem still remained.  After completely removing the computer from the domain however ,both printers worked flawlessly (this is where the problem starts to get out of any knowledge I have).

-      Joining it back to the domain it seemed to be working, and did so till the next morning, when the same issue occurred again.

-      With these new machines, the issue is more..potent.  The same thing will occur, but now it will occur in Outlook just by browsing through your emails, this still causes both the app and the print spooler to freeze up completely.

-      We rebuilt two of these new machines, and they continue to have the same problem

Ok, now I'm going to summarize what we've done and what we've found out and leave this to see if anyone understands what's happened.

Things we've tried on M4400's:
-      Rebuilding machine and rejoining to the domain installed Office (Doesn't fix it)
-      Removing the machine from the domain (Fixes it both on and off the dock)
-      Machines and users are completely isolated from all GP and UP (Doesn't fix it)

One thing I still want to try is to remove one from the domain and set it up with RPC over HTTPS and see if it is something intrinsicly related to Outlook.

At this point my colleagues and I are at a complete loss.  I'm positive I've forgotten information and details in
here but I can't pull anything else from my head at the moment.   Please don't hesitate to ask questions, I'll be glad to provide info.  We're willing to look at this from just about any angle at the moment since we are at a loss on what would cause such a problem from a domain that wouldn't be tied into GP somehow.

Thanks,
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Question by:jamie177
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by:Netman66
ID: 22630297
How did you join the computer to the domain?

In SBS, you need to use HTTP://sbsservername/connectcomputer.

Here is a walkthrough:

http://www.howtonetworking.com/sbs/setupclient1.htm

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jamie177 earned 0 total points
ID: 22924225
We've finally fixed the problem and it seemed to lie within interaction between the Dell Precision model laptops and their docks, but ONLY while XP was installed.

These are of course "Vista" machines that we downgraded back to XP due to client concerns, but this created these problems.  Once Vista was installed back on the machines all was well and all problems ceased happening.
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