Separator pages for HP printers not being referenced on print server

We have a Windows 2003 print server which has different customized separator pages applied to each of our network printers to change orientation, font size, and in some instances VMI. These pages worked correctly for 2+ years until 3 weeks ago. There were no updates applied from Microsoft at that time, and I have not found any changes made to the server yet. It appears that the print server is ignoring the separator pages. I've tested this using the "print /D:device [path\file]" from CMD.

If I install any of the printers to a different computer and apply the separator pages for them there, they print correctly, but that is not an acceptable solution. The Application that requires the formatting of the separator pages has many customized subroutines and hooks. Included in the code section is one of the separator page codes.

So far, I've pulled off the customized pages, replaced them, restarted the spooler service, and restarted the server itself. What could cause the server to ignore the separator pages, and how can I resolve it?

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Did you try to replace or add something that does actually print so you can see if the page is really ignored or maybe just missinterpreted by the device? I would be especially interested what the first lines of the actual printjob look like, is it just text or does it contain additional pcl commands? You could change the port of the queue to print to file and then you'll see if the separator page is really there. Can you show us that print to file attached here as .txt or at least the beginning of it containing the sep page and a couple of data lines?

The above pcl code is correct, but I would insert a reset command just after the enter language line as in the pcl tech manual.

lmerch123Author Commented:
Hello Cyberlex,

I have added the same printers again to the list of printing devices, and tried replacing the printers with a fresh installation of the device. The sep page still seems to be ignored. I have not tried adding a printer that was not previously installed to the print server. I will try that and a print to file when I get back to the campus later today. I'll also add the reset command to the sep page.

As I said above, installing the same printers over the network to another workstation or server directly (as they are installed on the print server) and applying the sep page locally gets the result we want, but the same page on the same printer does not work with the print server.

Thank You,

I just tried this on my 2003 server with xp client. When saving the printjob to file with the "file" server port, it does not process the separator page. I made a network trace on the server and the page gets sent to the printer tho. You might want to do that as well, it's pretty easy, install on the server, click on start, print from the client, press stop. In the list of network packages right click the first entry representing the printer's ip adress and choose "follow tcp stream". Then you can see the printjob in an text editor as it has been sent to the printer.


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lmerch123Author Commented:

I've attached two file captures from wireshark. printjob_1_20090713.txt is from the 2003 print server that has the problem, printjob_2_20090713.txt is from a XP client that I applied the same sep page to. As you can see, the sep page isn't sent along with the document on the print server. Any idea how that could happen?

lmerch123Author Commented:
Some new information:

Somehow the print server lost the ability to load separator pages from outside the %SYSTEM% folder. Once I put the custom sep files in the system folder, it started printing according to the sep pages.

I find this strange since none of the other servers or workstations I tested had a problem with file location, but it's not the first time I've run across a "personality quirk" on a Windows machine. It's one of four identical installations, and one of two identical machines, all on the same update schedule (including firmware/BIOS version).

thanks for the update, I was about to give up, I coulnd't reproduce it on my 2003 server, I also had the .sep page on my 2003 server in c:\temp so guess I was far away from a solution :)

happy printing
lmerch123Author Commented:
Although this was not completely solved in regards to the cause, you help and insight got me to try a different approach to troubleshooting, which in the end found a workaround. Thanks
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