Server/Print Server Crashing Workstations


We’ve had a problem for quite some time now where if a server freezes/hangs then the workstations connected to it also hang or experience extreme slowness. The most recent incident was when a print server was hung up and several workstations on the same floor froze and/or experienced significant lag. The network team checked the switches and couldn’t find anything that may have caused it. The printers are HP, the servers on MS Server 2003 and the workstations are on Win XP. Is this just one of the Microsoft things that we need to live with or are there ways around it? Thanks for any help that you can provide!
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

The fact that the workstations hang or slow down when the server freezes is not unreasonable.  If they are communicating with it frequently (open files that are being accessed regularly, for example), then this is what you would expect.

The problem that should be resolved is the server hanging.  What is there in the Event Log around the time of the hang?
There are multiple things that you can do to assist with print server stability/reliability while still using Windows print servers.
     1- Change to a less connection oriented printing methodology.  Specifically, change from normal Windows printer sharing to using LPR without bidirectional communication enabled.  This provides fast printing and since the printer in XP would be a "local" printer from a Windows perspective, there are no lockups even is the print server dies.  Any print jobs would just stay in the local print queue until the server is alive again.
    2- Change the Windows server to be a binary pass-through server.  This makes the server just be a traffic cop as it is only relaying the print job to the printer and not modifying it.  This also eliminates the issue with lockups that a lot of normal Windows print servers experience due to problematic print drivers.  

  If you are interested in this methodology, I can give detailed instructions.  If not, that's fine too.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
bcftechAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely interested in this methodology if you have time to provide some instructions? Thanks!
I need a few more details to provide specific instructions.
  1- I assume that you want to keep using the existing print server, as opposed to building a new one and switching PCs over to it.  True 0r False??
  2- The current print server is Windows 2003 per your initial notes, just confirming?  
  3- Are all PCs that will submit print jobs Windows XP or are there any Win7 or 8?
  4- Are there dozens, hundreds or thousands or PCs in the environment?
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Legacy OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.