Windows Server 2003 SBS - Print Spooler Issue on Multiple PCs

Posted on 2011-10-04
Last Modified: 2012-05-21

I have a 2003 SBS Server that is having issues with printers after a user tried to install a "NULL" printer for a new application.  The system was working fine and they installed a "NULL" printer after that multiple users around the site started complaining of their PCs locking up.  It was found that the print spooler was locking up on all of these workstation (Windows XP).  The "NULL" printer was removed but the problem persisted, I went over and rebooted the server to no help.  I then started checking printer drivers and other items before I finally decided to remove all printers from the SBS Print Server and remove all printers from each workstation.  I then reinstalled all printers with the most uptodate drivers from the vendors websites and reinstalled them onto the workstations.  The issue appeared to be resolved but yesterday users started complaining of the same issue again.  

On SBS I didnt see a way to remove the print spooler services and reinstall them such as you could do on 2003 Standard.  Does anyone have any ideas on what could be causing my issue, The print spooler on the server itself is not freezing but it is freezing on almost all of the Windows XP machines (Only 1 PC did not seem to be affected and it had the same printers all of the others had).  There are also a few Windows 7 machines that are not affected.
Question by:ssiext
    LVL 26

    Assisted Solution

    I'd suggest getting Citrix's Print Detective and run it against one of the affected workstations as well as SBS2003. It could be the driver is still there causing havoc even if the printer has been removed.

    Author Comment

    So if I am understanding this correctly.  Run this on the server as well as the workstations and remove any drivers that may have been left behind.  Possibly when they installed the NULL printer it didnt delete properly and is still causing problems?
    LVL 26

    Accepted Solution

    Yep, just run in place. Print Detective also allows you to target other systems, so you don't have to walk around to all the desktops to clean them up.

    A quirk of WinXP systems in uninstalling the printer may not uninstall the driver associated with it. It's less likely under Win7, but still possible.

    I usually use this tool to clean up drivers on terminal servers because they get soooo loaded with bad/incompatible drivers it's obscene.

    Author Comment

    Well, I went around and cleared out any drivers that were not in use and that appears to have resolved anything else from coming back.  I didn't find any drivers that were consistent on all of the machines though.  I was expecting to find a particular driving that caused this issue as this problem just all of the sudden happened one day.  

    Have you ever seen anything like this with SBS 2003?
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    Can't say I have but at least it's been resolved?
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.

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