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On a terminal server, the spooler service keeps stopping unexpectedly on Windows Server 2003

Posted on 2014-07-24
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Last Modified: 2014-08-05
Each time I have to reboot this server. The system comes up, and once every few hours a day, the spooler service will stop unexpectedly. System logs will only show that service stopped unexpectedly. To fix this issue in the past, I would clear what is in the spool folder. The past couple of times, this resolved the issue, but this time it will not. I clear the spool files in the spool folder, and then restart the service but to no avail. How can I fix this issue? This server is used for Terminal Services.
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Question by:freebeee01
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by:Wilder_Admin
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This habbit can be caused by the terminal client users. If their setting is to provide their local printers into the terminal session. i saw allready this beahaviour. The best practise in that scenario is anyway to use a dedicated print server. Then the spool of the printserver is used. And on the printserver you can easiliy restart the windows spooler in the services.msc or mark to restart that service automatically.
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by:Dirk Mare
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We had a similar issue not to long ago and I created a batch file and added it to a scheduled task to run every couple of hours (6 hours) to stop and start the print spooler. Yes I know this is not a solution but it does work as a work around.. And we don't need to reboot our terminal server every couple of hours.

net stop spooler && net start spooler 

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DirkMare
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by:Satish Auti
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Which printer you are using?

If it's HP then follow this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947477/en-us
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Spike99 earned 500 total points
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Have you checked the application event log for errors at about the same time the system event log has the spooler crash?  That can often point you in the right direction.

I would also check the SPOOL folder for any .BUD files.   As I understand it, BUD files facilitate the spooling of print jobs. They are suppposed to go away when the print job is done, but if the print job fails or there is some other error, they can hang around. The BUD is associated with particular drivers, so if you have an old BUD that belongs to a driver you've since updated, it can cause issues.  So, search system32\spool folder for "*.bud" and delete any you find.  If the spooler is running, you might have to stop the spooler service to remove them all.

Older HP printers are problematic on terminal servers.  Have you noticed any other odd behavior on the server like the MSIEXEC.exe process running all the time even though there is no one is doing an installation?  That problem can be caused by certain HP "BiDi" files that will start up the installer all the time.  See my answer on the HP "bidi" file issues:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/Windows_Server_2008/Q_27786470.html

Also, check out your running services, there are some HP services can cause issues with the spooler.  In your services console, click the column heading for "Description" to re-sort the list of services by Description.  Of the services with an empty description, do you see any of these listed?

BrSplService  - brother print spooler service
HP Port Resolver - hp print monitor server
HP Status Server - hp print monitor server
Net Driver HPZ12 - hp print monitor server
Pml Driver HPZ12 - hp print monitor server

if you do, stop & disable them.  All of those services are known to cause issues with the spooler on terminal servers (they're usually fine on single-user workstations). Disabling the services will not prevent you from printing to the printers.

Also, the last thing to check is to make sure you are NOT using any host-based print drivers on the terminal server. Host-based print drivers are not supported in a terminal server environment.  So, for any printers you install, be sure they have a PCL driver.  If you have to download the "software" just to get a driver for it, that's a good sign that it's a host-based print driver.

Check out this HP document to be sure you are not using any unsupported HP drivers.
http://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA0-8465ENW
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by:freebeee01
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Spike99,

I will try your recommendation to disable the services below, as i do see them. How can I be sure that these services do not break anything? What are these services anyways?

BrSplService  - brother print spooler service
HP Port Resolver - hp print monitor server
HP Status Server - hp print monitor server
Net Driver HPZ12 - hp print monitor server
Pml Driver HPZ12 - hp print monitor server
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by:freebeee01
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Other than that, in looking in the App Event viewer, I see the following when the service stopped unexpectedly.

spool error
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
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With terminal servers, especially if the client is in a different location, it is Important to set spooling (printer properties advanced tab) to "start printing after the last page has spooled". also disabling bidirectional communication and SNMP in the port properties may help
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by:Spike99
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From what I understand, those services are part of the OEM's print monitor for certain printers.  They're ok on a PC, but can bog down a terminal server.  I've seen literally HUNDREDS of instances of HPBPRO.exe & HPBOID.exe running on terminal servers.  I would run taskkill to kill them all until I figured out they were started by those services.  That's when we started stopping & disabling those services on any server that had them.

Disabling those services won't impact printing, but it will make the spooler more stable.

Oh, and make sure that the recovery options for the spooler service is set to "Restart the service" on the 1st, 2nd and all subsequent failures. For some reason, the Windows default seems to be to "Do nothing" on all subsequent failures.
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by:freebeee01
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I had been informed that the last change to this server was some patching that had been deployed (OS). I was informed that every patch cycle this server goes through, after a reboot, the same issue happens. The fix that has always been applied was to delete files in the spool folder, and restart the print spooler when it shutdown unexpectedly. However this time, when the spool service stops, there is nothing in the spool folder to delete.

By providing this info, what can we do to mitigate this problem? I can always remove the last OS patches, but like I said, this server goes through the same behavior each patching cycle. We want this server patched.
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by:Spike99
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Part of your issue might be the BUD files, then.  MS says that after patching, you may need to give the system up to 2 hours to regenerate the BUD files for each print driver.

Here's the article.  In it, MS also recommends deleting BUD files as part of a workaround for this issue.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/832219
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Author Closing Comment

by:freebeee01
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Stopping and disabling the services as mentioned fixed the spooler issue. Thank you.
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by:Spike99
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Excellent! I'm glad I was able to help.
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