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We have a server that takes ~20mins to start up. Some testing was done, and we were able to determine that it is the print spooler service that is causing the slow down. Not enabling it with automatic start up cuts the boot time down to 5mins. I have not been able to find much of anything about the spooler causing a slow boot; everything seems focused on it causing slow printing. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?

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I've seen this happen before, usually when a shit printer driver manages to severly mess up the Print Spooler (or a failed/incomplete printer installation worms its way into the Print Spooler service).

First thing I'd try, since it's easy, is set the Print Spooler service to delayed start, in case there's a dependency that's hanging it up. Failing that, and provided there aren't too many printers installed on the server (it's not like a big print server for the office, is it?) would be to run cleanspl.exe, the Windows Spooler Cleaner (part of the Windows 2003 Server resource Kit). If that would be too much of a pain, on account of a large number of installed printers, you can do what it does manually - check to see that you don't have a ton of spooler files choking up the system, try removing the printers and printer drivers installed since you noticed this problem, etc.

Good luck. Like most printer-related things, it's not hard, so much as a pain in the ass.

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Ah, yes, I had been planning on trying to delay the Print Spooler startup, but wasn't sure it was possible to set up that way. I look into those options as well. –  Joe M Jul 30 '12 at 22:34
    
This was the problem. There were a handful of printers with bad drivers. Pulling those fixed the slowdown. Thanks! –  Joe M Aug 7 '12 at 14:29
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Wow. I'd call 5 mins a slow boot ;-) I'm a huge fan of MS Processs Monitor (see here). Use the boot logging option, restart and analyse the log. You can then filter accordingly, e.g.: look at spoolsv.exe. Add the "duration" column to the output to look for any large delays. In my xxx years of Windows Server administration, I have never seen the print spooler cause a slow boot, but there's always a first time. Hope this helps.

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5 minutes isn't that bad for a server, especially if it's got a lot on it or does a large number of POST tests before firing up the OS. Most of my single servers (non-VM hosts) take around 5 minutes to boot, which isn't so bad. Just another reason not to reboot servers a lot. –  HopelessN00b Jul 30 '12 at 22:25
    
Thanks for the information. I'll take a look at that and report back. –  Joe M Jul 30 '12 at 22:32
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The print spooler itself shouldn't take more than a few seconds. If it's taking a long time there are two likely possibilities. Either something is seriously screwed in your spooler, in which case it's surprising that it works at all, or the spooler is nothing more than a symptom of something else altogether. I'd be looking at that second possibility first.

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