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Printing issue on server

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Last Modified: 2020-06-22
We have an ongoing random issue with our printers.  Randomly, printing will stop working.  The 2 network copiers are shared out from the server.  When it happens, we can't access the GUI, print, or even ping the IP or hostname of the printers.  But, we can ping the printer and access the GUI from any workstation on the network.  And if we install the printer directly on that workstation, it works fine. Once we reboot the server, it all works again.
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DanOwner
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Commented:
Kinda a strange question, but why not have the work stations print direct to the IP of the copiers?  I asked this to another tech who did this and I didn't understand his answer.  I'm sure there is a good reason.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
Then we’d have to manage drivers and settings on each individual workstation.  It’s best practice to share from the server.  Yes, it would technically work that way, but I’d like to figure out why it’s happening.
Mike SchrockIT Operations Manager
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Commented:
Can the print server access anything network based (do not recommend open a browser) maybe ping google or another server?
Are the printers on another subnet? How often does it occur? Physical server or VM? What OS? When no printing on the print server can other machines gain access to the print server, like ping?

Yes centralized management is key, very annoying to manage everything direct in larger environments.
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Two reasons for a print server:
1) Central place for machines to get drivers
2) Central place for tracking and managing jobs

How is the print server connecting to the printers? Via IP, host name....? And when the issue starts, have you tried just restarting the Print Spooler service?
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Commented:
I see a contradiction:
we can't access the GUI, print, or even ping the IP or hostname of the printers
and
But, we can ping the printer and access the GUI from any workstation on the network.
Owner & Chief Technologist
Commented:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Make certain the printers have Static IP addressing (or IP Reservation) and are NOT using DHCP.  The printers could be getting lost to the system.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
Mike Schrock, when it happens we can still access other network resources and users can still access file shares that live on the same server.  It’s all on the same subnet.  The issue occurs once every few weeks.  The server is running Server 2008 R2.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
Masnrock, printers are connecting using IP, but IP’s aren’t changing.  They are set statically on the printer and are still accessible from workstations.  Yes, we’ve tried just restarting the print spooler but that doesn’t fix it.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
Hdhondt, when the issue occurs, we cannot access the GUI, print or ping the printers from the server.  We CAN from any of the workstations.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
I believe it’s an issue with a service on the server but I’m not given much time to work on it because they know a reboot fixes it and it only happens once every 3-4 weeks.  It’s not the print spooler service.  I’ll dig deeper into event viewer to see what I can dig up.
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Commented:
Is the server on a different subnet from the PCs and printer? That could explain the server not getting to the printer while the PCs can. In that case check IP addresses and DHCP settings, as well as your router settings.

Make sure the printer has a fixed IP address outside the DHCP range. The same should be true for the server.
DanOwner
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Commented:
Thanks guys, I learned something.  Richard, I never even knew they had third party print server software.

Sean, are the printers running SMB1? or SMB2?
Richard SchiererOwner & Chief Technologist

Commented:
Dan, I am not sure if it would be classified as ‘third party print server software’ but some of the bigger copier machines do have their own software that can be installed on the server. The owner of the question never mentioned the brand or model of the network copiers. If they are specialty color printers, they can have their own software vs just print drivers.
Sean RhudyPresident

Author

Commented:
Server is using SMB2, and there is only 1 subnet.  I'm going to be reviewing logs today.
Edmond HawilaChief Operating Officer
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Commented:
This serms to be a networking issue on the Server. Not being able to ping while other devices can is very odd. What type of firewall do you have in place? Can you ping other devices from the server at the time this is happening? Maybe you can check if there are any driver updates for the Server's network card too. Also ensure you have the latest Windows Updates for that OS.
The next thing is if the Server is on a different switch from the printers and somehow the switch is acting up.
I hope I've given you enough to poke around with and find the cause of this! :)
Give us feedback and we might be able to dig deeper.
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