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Network Printing Problems

James Villella
Occasional Visitor

Network Printing Problems

Hi All,

Couple of things...Quick Question and an ask for Help

Does anyone have a good synopsis on the network printing process through WinNT?
I would like to read through something to make sure I understand it correctly
and maybe figure out how to better troubleshoot problems. Picture in my mind
is...

1) Server creates queue for printer and assigns printer - in my case, an IP
address
2) User installs printer driver and points to newly created queue on server
(which is really a directory)
3) When the user prints, the job is spooled to the server
4) Server, in turn, attempts to spool the job to the printer if it can reach it

Now the problem I am having...
Servers are loosing sight of installed printers. Did not believe it was really
happening when the users where complaining about it, but now I have witnessed
it first hand :)I tried printing 3 documents. The first one went just fine. The
second one failed to print, because the server was busy or there was an error.
The server can see it (ping) but not negotiate a print job. We have one print
server for our organization, about 60 printers on multiple segments, no real
pattern to the printer's dropping off, and Performance Monitor does not suggest
the server is choking on requests. (Process Queue Length and Available Memory)
Latest NT Service pack applied, latest JetDirect BIOS update. These problems
have been happening for a while so we built a dedicated server for just
printers and the problems have followed. Network congestion springs to mind but
there are no significant problems on the wires, and why wouldn't the job just
work it self through?

All opinions and thoughts about things to look at are appreciated, funniest one
earns beer!

Thanks!
Jim in Grandforks
2 REPLIES
Abe Miller_1
Occasional Visitor

Re: Network Printing Problems

Dear Sir,

We are having a very similiar issue. For reasons beyond all human
comprehension I have 7 OS/2 print servers controlling roughly 70 printers
total. When I began experimenting with a NT server - I noticed much of the
same, but I believe I can add more info.

1. Jobs would not exactly vanish, but would end up printing on their own
minutes later. Though I must qualify that by saying some did outright
disappear.
2. The spooler was running darn fast - I wonder if the entire job was sent
before the connection was considered done? (Hence leaving an incomplete
document in the printer's memory until it recived a FormFeed command?) I have
recently thought, but not tested, a theory that the printer driver (on the
server) could be set to print once "entire job has been spooled"? It is an
option under "scheduling".

Let me know if it works...
James Villella
Occasional Visitor

Re: Network Printing Problems

Thank you for responding Mr Miller.

How quickly the spooler is working does seem to be a factor here. On printers
that have 'dropped off-line' you can watch the job spool just a few bytes the
first few minutes, then the rest of the print job finishes spooling out and the
printer error message appears.

I have used WinAT to run a batch file that stops/starts the spooler service at
certain times throughout the day. Stopping and starting the service restores
connection to the printer and all of the jobs sitting in the queues resume
printing.

Does not help identify the source of the problem, but right now it is the best
I have time for. I think we outgrew this server's print serving ability.

Later!
Jim in Grandforks