Terminal Server 2003 Hangs - Huge Print Warning messages in Event Log - All are HP Printers

Posted on 2010-08-20
Last Modified: 2013-12-01

We have a Terminal Server running on Server 2003 R2 x64 Standard Edition. Applications are installing very slowly on this server. The current registry size is: 470MB. The hard drive is defragmented and updated firmware including latest drivers from Dell Server Update DVD.

Total Users: 15
Total Applications: 7 (other than Microsoft built-in apps)
HDD Size: 73GB SAS 10K RPM
Hardware: Dell PowerEdge 1950 III

I downloaded PageDefrag tool from TechNet website ( and ran the tool. The registry is reduced from 470MB to 460MB. Still the applications installation is very slow. In some forums, uses suggested me to uninstall all the HP printer drivers and reinstall them with new drivers. We have 13 HP printers installed on this server. We have another identical Terminal Server which is running fine. The server hangs frequently and huge number of print warning messages in the event log.

I verified the network settings and everything is correct. But we are also receiving the RPC server is not available message and it automatically disappeared after few minutes.

Any further help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Question by:SrinathS
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Expert Comment

ID: 33488530

I'm not quite sure if I follow the scenario fully, so please correct me if I'm getting the wrong end of the stick! What kind of application are you installing (regularly?) and what is slow exactly (most installations will only touch the registry for a very short period of time, it's most file copy operations)?

Is this a new server? Do you have lots of users logging into this machine (perhaps their user hives are causing the growth of the registry)?

Author Comment

ID: 33488612
Yes, you are in right direction. This is a Terminal Server. The average daily users online is 25. It's taking very long time to install any application. Even Windows Update installation is taking long time.

We have the same identical server (both hardware and software is same) and it's working normally. The Event log is filled with Print error messages. The below are the major issues at Event log.

Type: Error
Event ID: 1111
Driver TPS APW Fax Printer required for printer APF Fax Printer is unknown. Contact the administrator to install the driver before you log in again.

Type: Warning
Event ID: 8
Printer Microsoft XPS Document Writer (from SUPPORT) in session 10 was purged.

Type: Error (TermServDevices)
Event ID: 1111
Driver Lanier MP C3500/LD435c PCL5c required for printer Lanier MP C3500/LD435c PCL5c is unknown. Contact the administrator to install the driver before you log in again.

I opened another question regarding preventing XPS Document Writer like virtual printers from client machine to Terminal Server.
LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 200 total points
ID: 33549148
All of those warnings you posted are normal and are happening because one of the TS clients has a Lanier and another (maybe the same) has the Paperport Fax Printer installed on their own, local systems.  It is not the source of your problem and only means they won't be able to use those printers.
That registry; though, is outrageously huge! 46MB I could understand; 460 is out of control.  Compare it to the system that is working and let us know what it's size is.
Have you checked the hard disk drives health status?
Do you have a rogue user using your server?
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Author Comment

ID: 33549253
Yesterday I installed Tune-Up Utilities 2010 (of course it's 3rd party app, but it's fully compatible with server 2003) on the effected server. I ran registry clean-up and it cleaned almost 800 problems. Also I ran registry defragmentation including drive defragmentation. Finally the registry comes to 300MB.

As I said earlier, we have an indentical server (both software, hardware and number of users same). This server registry size is only 200MB. I dodn't understand why the registry is huge! But I found several keys under "hewlett packard" in the registry. Of course we have 15 HP printers installed directly on the server.

Also sometime we received the "RPC server is unavailable" message on the effected server too. After further digging on this error, I found that the secondary internal DNS server address is wrongly set in the network connections.

Now everything is under control. I'm only worrying about huge registry size. Is there anyway to look into registry to find out what folders/keys are occupied disk space?

Thanks for your comments.
LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 200 total points
ID: 33549518
How are you determining the registry size?
In System32\Config, how large are the SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, DEFAULT, SAM, and SECURITY files?
And, one of the NTUSER.DAT files?

Author Comment

ID: 33549804
Registry Size:

SAM - 32KB

NTUSER.DAT Sizes vary from: 512KB - 33MB. Only 7 users contans 13MB-33MB of NTUSER.DAT size files. Average size is 8MB.
LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 200 total points
ID: 33550670
Try this to examine the DEFAULT registry file which is applied to every user created when they first login:
Your DEFAULT registry is monstrous and would explain the 7 users with huge registries, too.
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

lamaslany earned 200 total points
ID: 33567053
Would I be right in thinking that the HP Universal Print Driver is/was installed?

This would do two things:  cause the Windows Installer service to lock up (for 10 minutes at a time per installed printer) and cause the massive growth you have seen in the registry.

If you are running UPD you need to ensure youa re using the lastet version of the driver.  Remove all other versions of the driver.

Assisted Solution

frogmanalien earned 100 total points
ID: 33569754
I agree with lamaslany- I've seen a few servers performance degrading after installing the HP UPD (especially older versions) and a clean reinstall often heals these. Software seems quite large in comparison to a similar server- are you able to drill a bit further down using against specific sub keys?

Author Comment

ID: 33579466
Yes, we've more than 15 different printers installed on the servers. I'm currently updating the hp drivers on the server. If it didn't solve the issue, I'll remove all the printers and re-install them with new drivers. Thanks to all for comments.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33617042
Confirmed the issue and it is due to installed HP printers. We have more than 15 printers installed on the server. It's not worth while to closely examine the server for solution. So we decided to run it as it is and we may reinstall the Terminal Server later time.

Anyway thanks for driving into right direction. Thanks to all Experts.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 33617382
I'm not sure how comfortable you'd be doing it but you might try a more brutal approach:

Install a new server with the same OS as you have on your TS (a virtual server would be fine).  This will be the source of replacement files and registry keys.  

Note:  before proceeding I would recommend backing up anything you are about to delete...

Then on the current TS:
* uninstall as many print drivers as you can (not just HP drivers)
* uninstall any print-related utilities (not just HP utilities)
* disable any printer related services (remember the 'Net Driver HPZ12' and 'Pml Driver HPZ12' services)
* reboot
* delete the %windir%\System32\Spool folder
 *delete the %windir%\hp*.inf files
* delete the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print registry key (it'll likely report a problem deleting the \Print\Printers subkey - just ignore this)
* copy %windir%\System32\Spool folder from the clean server to the TS
* copy %windir%\hp*.inf from the clean server to the TS
* export HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print from the clean server and import it into the TS
* re-enable the Spooler service
* reboot

You can then re-add the drivers you need.  I would then suggest adding the print drivers using the Print Management snap-in.  

While you do this at your own risk I have used this on two servers in the past without issue.

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