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I need to view and track the history of a printer's queue. I am running Windows XP Pro with a various set of HP printers.

If the OS or the printer does not keep a log, is there a third party application that can perform this service?

Edit:

The printers are attached to a machine via USB then shared for other users. The printers recieve print jobs from a group of people and we need to be able to track who sends what and when.

I am looking for an easy way for the user of the computer to track the jobs going to the printer.

We plan on moving to network printers but I am not sure how long that will take. So, we need a solution for the interim.

Ideally I think I would prefer an application that solely does print tracking.

Regards

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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think you can try PaperCut Print Logger

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You'll get these in the standard Windows event logs.

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I only found warnings and errors in the event logs. I could not find a history of documents. –  Berek Bryan Jul 17 '09 at 17:22
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Going forward, you'll want to look at the various print auditing solutions available. I doubt that they will be able to retroactively look at jobs printed before installation and configuration (if that is what you are trying to do - the question doesn't make this clear).

Also, are you printing to desktop printers or MFP devices? I've seen some MFPs maintain slightly more detailed logs than the windows event log.

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I understand that past jobs will probably not be able to be recovered. All of the printers are HP all-in-ones of varying models. –  Berek Bryan Jul 19 '09 at 18:58
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Every time a user user prints on a windows client it's logged in the system event log. You get basic information on the job (user, print queue, file name, etc.) Usually logged under the print spooler service. On a single client system things are usually not too noisy that you can't piece together the print history, but a print server with multiple users (or windows xp box acting as a print server) can quickly produce enough events to flush the log buffers and you'll have a small window in which you can see events. There are products out there like Print Manager Plus that are designed for printer management and can provide better stats, but really any log management app (like splunk) can help you wrangle large volumes of print logs.

As for logs options on the printer, that depends on the what printers you have and what logging they have buried deep within their config menus but I haven't seen many with many logging options for things that aren't errors. However, if it's a network printer the best you could ever hope to get is the IP address of the print server that sent the job.

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