We had a power issue yesterday that resulted in our Windows Server 2003 file and print server crashing. Since then we have been having some weird printing issues. Although this should all be rectified by restoring from backup I'm really looking for possible explanations for what's happening.
There are two distinct issues, which I believe share a common root cause.
- The spooler service periodically stops, without logging anything into the event logs. It is set to automatically restart and runs fine for anything from half an hour to a couple of hours before stopping again, with no discernible pattern.
- This is the really weird one. Some users are can sometimes print and sometimes the job just sits in their print queue, never reaching the server, whether the spooler on the server is running or not.
When event 2 occurs there is nothing in the logs on either the client or server to indicate there is a problem. The clients are a mix of XP 32 bit and Win 7 64 bit, so they are not even using the same drivers. Rebooting machines, including the server, has no effect.
On one client I tried deleting the existing printer and recreating it. At that point I received "Access denied", although the permissions on the spooler files, folders and shares haven't been changed and are still correct. A test with all those opened for maximum access didn't change the behaviour.
There appears to be no pattern as to which user accounts (or groups) or which client computers are affected. The temporary workaround has been to create the printers as local, rather than going through the server. Luckily we have a pretty small number of users.
Anyone care to take a stab at what the underlying problem might be?
A little more weirdness
Gradually through the day those users who had been able to print found they could no longer do so. As a test I rebooted one of the client PCs which could still print. That had no effect, yet about an hour latter that machine also could no longer print. Everyone now has each printer set up as local, thereby (temporarily) removing the server from the equation.
I should add that I can still print to each and every printer from the server itself and the spooler hasn't crashed since I finished disconnecting the clients.
Removing the drivers for one model of printer has normal functionality to all the other printers. Reinstalling those drivers screws up all the printers. That shouldn't even be possible but that's what's happening. Up till now I've held off on the restore from backup to try and workout the root cause but am now giving up on that.