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I have been troubleshooting issues with a print server and am beginning to suspect that it may be due to not enough free HD for the spool directory. The server has about 1GB free on that drive.

My system is a W2003 R2 on VMWare ESXi 3.5. From the Event Viewer I see almost 20.000 print jobs this year, 5.000 jobs/month. The size of a typical job is 1-2MB, let's say 10MB is a maximum.

I see two options:

  • There is already another disk mounted in the machine with lots of free space, but that disk is on a NAS (IBM TotalStorage 4300, FC disks) and I am always concerned that it might be slower than the local disks.
  • Mount a new HD using the local disks. In that case, I need to not make it too big as space in those disks is already limited.

So what do you advice? Which size would be sensible (what is the minimum size, later I will make the disk twice that size).

EDIT: Evan Anderson already answers my questions yet, as he asks for more details, I will do a summary. Basically some jobs are launched from client PCs, no error is reported to the user, but an error message is logged in event viewer and no job seems to reach the computer. A more detailed report exists in the linked question.

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do you see any errors related to disk space on the volume that contains the spooler files. – tony roth May 17 '11 at 13:33
@tony roth Ok that is the first thing I should have done. They do not appear in the desktop. I'll look for them more thorougly tomorrow (already off-work). – SJuan76 May 17 '11 at 14:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you don't have your spooler set to "Keep Printed Documents" for any printers then you really only need free disk space to handle jobs while they're spooling from the client and to the printer. If print jobs happen with a reasonably uniform frequency (i.e. not all the jobs for the day submitted all at one time) then I'd think the 1GB of free space would be fine.

I wouldn't be too worried about the speed of the disks where the spooler job files are stored. Typically a printer is a much smaller bottleneck than disk I/O bandwidth (or even network bandwidth). Most printers I've worked with only have 10/100 Ethernet NICs and don't accept data at a rate even close to the theoretical maximum of 10Mb Ethernet. (If the printers have hard disk drives and can spool locally then print server I/O bandwidth might start to be concern. Maybe.)

In summary, I wouldn't suspect the root cause of your print server issues necessarily relate to exhaustion of free disk space for spooler job files. Some more details about the specific issues you're fighting might help us figure out what the root cause is, but I doubt it's free disk space.

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Posted more specific information as an edit of my question. Any extra suggestion will be well received, anyway I think you have already answered my original question. – SJuan76 May 17 '11 at 14:32

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