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Network printing from 2008 R2 RDS and 2008 R2 print server...

Posted on 2014-02-19
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Last Modified: 2014-06-05
Ok, I'm at the end of my rope.  

For the last 3 years, we have had 6 RDS session hosts running 2008 R2 and a print server running 2008 R2 without issues.  All servers are fully patched.  We have around 400 printers shared on the print server.  About 7 months ago we started getting reports of slow printing, printers not installing with errors, and printers not showing up in control panel.  Nothing had changed in the environment so we spent a few days pouring through logs and found nothing.  The issue was intermittent and random.  One day it'd be one printer, the next day another.  We'd change drivers, update firmware, etc.  things would work awhile, then we'd get complaints again.  We opened a case with Microsoft and spent the next 6 months applying patches and hotfixes with no improvement.  Eventually, Microsoft said it was HP's fault as we only have the issues with HP printers.  Nearly all of our printers were manufactured in 2003-2005 so they are out of warranty.  I created a new print server and installed a shared a single printer of each printer in our environment.  I then created a terminal server hoping fresh builds would fix the issues.  It did not.

At this point, I am considering installing all of our printers locally on each terminal server and controlling access via ACL.  Besides the management nightmare is there reason this wouldn't be a good idea?  Bear in mind, the only reason I'm considering this is due to our current issues.

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Question by:reuniontitle
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4 Comments
 
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by:asavener
asavener earned 500 total points
ID: 39874551
Managing printers was always the weak point of scaling out RDS, IMO.

We found that we had to have a very rigid print device and print driver QA process, and that we had to be very careful about updating drivers on the print server.
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joharder earned 500 total points
ID: 39878722
Because the printers and the print server haven't changed, the answer is likely rooted in your print drivers, but don't rule out the print spooler crashing.  Keep a record as to when this occurs.  

My first thought is that the user may have updated the print driver on the client machine side, perhaps the HP Universal Driver,   Also, confirm whether the Use Remote Desktop Easy Print printer driver GPO has been disabled.

Take a look at the printer drivers you are using.  PCL6 tend to work best.  

By chance, are any of these printers HP LaserJet 4250's?  This has got to be the most troublesome driver out there.  The HP 4200/4300 driver tends to work the best, but it's still somewhat flaky.

Double check that your print spooler isn't crashing.  If you have the print spooler set to automatically restart, then the problem may be fixing itself but seem intermittent.  You should see print spooler failure errors in your event logs.
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Author Comment

by:reuniontitle
ID: 40114946
Sorry, in the long delay getting back to this question.  In the last 90 days we have tried everything under the sun.

-We're not finding any spooler crashes in eventlogs on the terminal server or print server

-A large number of printers are 4250, but not all.

-We have issues more frequently at two of our branch offices

-Tricerat Simplifile printing was tried in a carefully contolled demo environment.  Printers stayed available consistently, but the Tricerat driver provided other challenges.  Basically, each printer had to be tweaked invididually.  With 400 printers and a super demanding user base made this a no go for us.

Finally, we gave up and installed local printers on the terminal server for the two problem branches.  Neither have had an issue since.
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Author Closing Comment

by:reuniontitle
ID: 40114965
Both offer good advice, but neither really solved my issue.

Thanks!
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