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Shared Printer Generating Excessive Network Traffic

Posted on 2008-10-22
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Last Modified: 2008-11-11
I'm sharing a usb printer over a small network.   4 other computers have been setup to print to it.  When I setup the shared printer on another machine, it generates constant network traffic between the two machines.   The traffic actually interferes with network performance.  Only way to end the constant communication between the computers is to delete the printer.   This same computer repeats the problem when connecting to a different PC with a shared printer.  

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Question by:Randyp53
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by:sk_raja_raja
ID: 22782944
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by:Randyp53
ID: 22788098
Not really relevant.  

The host and client connect fine, and you can add the hared printer without a problem.  However, as soon as you do, a non-stop barrage of packets are sent to the host computer from the client -- even when you're not printing.  It's like the client is constantly polling the printer.  

The problem is not with the host, as other machines do not have the same problem.  The problem is with this particular computer because when I connect it to a different host with a shared printer, it does the same thing.

What could be causing the traffic?
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by:Boze19130
ID: 22789668
Have you updated the NIC's driver to the most current version?
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by:sk_raja_raja
ID: 22789780
When you share a printer in Windows NT, the spooler creates a thread that broadcasts a message to all Windows NT print servers, informing the print servers of the new print share. Each of these print servers adds the new print share name to its local printer browse list.

In addition, each print server rebroadcasts the list of its local printers to all print servers every 10 minutes. Although this ensures that all Windows NT print servers have current browse lists, it can also cause extensive network traffic.

To mitigate this, you can make a quick registry edit to disable the printer browse thread. Disabling the thread reduces network traffic, but keep in mind that it also keeps the print servers from knowing about new print shares.

Follow these steps:


1.Open the Registry Editor (Regedt32).
2.Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print.
3.Go to Edit | Add Value.
4.Enter the following to disable the printer browse thread:
Value Name: DisableServerThread
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: 1
5.Close the Registry Editor, and restart the computer.

If you later decide that you want to reenable the printer browse thread, follow these same directions, but set the Value Data to 0.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.
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Randyp53 earned 0 total points
ID: 22894143
The above solutions didn't work in this situation.

The problem ended up being a TSR associated with an HP printer's management software.  I didn't try to figure out exactly why this application was constantly trying to communicate with shared printers (vs network printers and shared workspaces), but once the process was terminated, the traffic ceased.  You could use the management software to access the web interface of a printer -- but a browser can do the same thing.

In any case, I appreciate the help you all offered.  Have a great day.
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