Unable to print from applications but notepad, mspaint, test page prints ok

Posted on 2012-08-13
Last Modified: 2012-08-20
Hello Fellow Members,

I have this strange problem wherein a user's system (XP 64 Bit) on the network can not print on any of the printers on the network except when the print job is sent from notepad, mspaint or if it is a test page. That is printing from MS Office, Notepad++, IE, etc doesnt work. The print server does not even log these jobs nor do I see them being sent to the printer on the user's workstation. The user was able to print fine till Friday and the problem cropped up today (Monday). Other users on the network are able to print fine.
I have established the following so far -
1) It is not a profile based issue. Even logging on as another user with full admin rights doesn't work.
2) Drivers do not seem to be a problem (have removed/re added the printer)
3) The print spooler service has been restarted on both - the user's machine and on the print server.
4) No windows updates have been installed at least since the beginning of August.
Look forward to your invaluable inputs.
Kind Regards
Question by:irhelpdesk
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    I would try a system restore to a few days before the problem first appeared or setup one of the printers as a direct TCP/IP printer to see if they can print.

    Author Comment

    Hi aleinss,

    The direct TCP/IP printer setup seems to work intermittently. It worked when I set it up and then stopped with the same symptoms. I re did the TCP/IP setup and since then it seems to be working fine.
    I believe this is a reasonable workaround but dont think it quite answers why I am having this issue. Can anyone shed some more light on what might be the cause?
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    by:Adam Leinss
    Could have something to do with the network connection...if you check the event logs, do you see any errors such as "network link down"?

    Author Comment

    Not quite, but there is an event with maximum TCP/IP connections exceeded at times. Having said that, I have still been able to print from notepad, test page with this condition.
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    by:Adam Leinss
    Depends on how far in the weeds you want to go.  I just ran ProcMon from Sysinternals while printing from Notepad++.  It appears the application hands off the print job to spoolsv.exe which in turn creates two files: a SPL file and a SHD file for each print job in C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS.  Once these are processed, they are deleted by the print spooler.

    More information:

    You could try installing something like PrimoPDF and then see if you can print from Word to PrimoPDF.  That would eliminate the network being the issue completely.  If printing to PrimoPDF doesn't work, then something is messed up with the print spooler and it's probably best to build another box at that point.

    If printing to PrimoPDF always works when network printing does not, then you are looking at some type of network issue which could be just about anything.  I would start with ping to the printer (with -t option) and see if any packets are being dropped.

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