Print Spooler hanging on certain printers

Posted on 2008-10-06
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I'm about to pull my hair out... Last week I migrated print servers from an old Dell box to a VM in ESX that is also my PDC.  I moved 2 Dell printers, 2 HP printers, 1 Canon, and 1 Brother printer with the Print Migrator app from Microsoft.

Everything went as planned and I re-added the new printers to my machine and tested all 6 of them out with no problems.  So I made the announcement to the company to change their printers to reflect the print server change.

Within about 10 minutes I started getting phone calls of docs hung up in the queue on the two 4th floor printers (the HP and Brother).  So I bounced the spooler service and the jobs printed.  About 5 minutes later I got the same call.  Same problem.  Same solution.

Now today the problem is still going on, so I decided to delete all of the printers and drivers, and reinstall everything manually.  Everything was cool for the first 10 minutes... same problem again.  Jobs are hung in both HPs (2nd and 4th floor) and the 1 Brother printer.  The only error I get is on the brother printer that just says "Error Printing - the Printer is busy or there is an error" and the server logs just say the file is corrupted and could not print.

The Dells are printing beautifully with zero problems, which just adds to the mystery.

What could possibly be the cause?
Question by:sullimd
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 22651998
You need to be very careful what printers get loaded.  Drivers are wirtten like crap and break the print spooler.
You need to make sure you are installing 2k3 drivers only or using a new system like thin print.
I would clean the print spooler using cleanspl.exe then reinstall the drivers.
when you run cleanspl.exe you need to make sure you say no to delete usb and tcpip monitors.

Author Comment

ID: 22652025
I did run cleanspl.exe and said NO to deleting USB and TCPIP monitors.  I also downloaded all of the latest drivers I could find from vendor websites.

My first thought is obviously a driver issue, but I don't know what else to do - its been working on the old Dell box for the last couple of years without any issues.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 22652087
And I agree 100% with you...I had driver set A on server A - I moved them to server B and issues galore.
So after running cleanspl no help?

If not I would look to getting something like thin print.  Also for drivers they may say for win2k3 but make sure they are PCL based not hosed based.  Host based will cause havoc
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Author Comment

ID: 22652179
Nope, no help.  Another thing that is odd on the Brother printer is that the size always shows something like:

20k/30k or 300k/315k, etc.

To me meaning that only 20k of the 30k file made it to the spooler.  Is that a correct way to interpret that?
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 22652305
thats what was queued and sent to print but I wouldnt base that on anything solid.  I have seen my queues show 1mb/4mb and then jump out of the queue and the doc printed successfully
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 22652649
Not sure if it's relevant but maybe worth to try:

I personally have tried to implement Windows 2003 server serving as a print server on top of VMWare but it was not working very well (slow printing / jobs stalled in the queue) so I finally returned it back to the real server.

Maybe if you do Performance monitoring you could figure out what is a real bottleneck and tweak Windows / VMWare settings.

Author Comment

ID: 22655012
The HP printers are in fact host based, however they have been working fine for over a year with no issues.  The issues only came when I moved print servers.

However, I finally said forget it and turned back on printer sharing on the original print server just to get users back up and running, and I'm getting the same issue!  This doesn't make since.  Same server that has been working for years, same printers, same drivers, etc. and now the print jobs are getting hung up there too.
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

ChiefIT earned 500 total points
ID: 22656054
Disable SNMP and bidirectional support.

Author Comment

ID: 22659617
We may have a winner... SNMP was already disabled, but I disabled bidirectional support last night and everything seems to be working fine this morning.  I'll see how things go today.

What is the theory behind disabling BS?
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 22661354
The theory is the  love hate relationship between 2003 server and printer drivers. 2003 server loves to hate drivers.

LOL. Check out this link:

Author Comment

ID: 22661558
Awesome.  I didn't know if it had anything to do with it being in a VM, so its not able to communicate back, etc. etc.  I guess I didn't know how to search very well for this issue either, since it seems there are tons of threads out there.  Anyway, thanks for the help guys.

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