I have a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2 print server. This is serving about 15 print queues the problem is just one of these queues is randomly losing its printer ports.

What do i mean by losing the ports?

A printer is setup with custom ports, printing works perfect until randomly printing stops and errors. Then under the printer properties on the ports tab, the custom created ports are no longer showing. If i jump into the registry and look under the key:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors\SafeCom Pull Port\Ports

all of the ports are visible even the ones which no longer show! - a little more information would be all other queues are setup with HP Drivers, but this one is a Xerox 7755 using the correct driver. If I create new ports printing resumes as normal.

Has anyone else come across behaviour like this?

Why are you using custom ports?

This is because printing is being monitored by a print auditing software package which has its own ports. Only this one print queue has this issue, all others work as they should do.

Many thanks for looking at this question.



Event logs show nothing related or worth while mentioning. The server has been powered off and then backup. The time between the last occurance of the ports disapearing has been about 2 months.

All ideas are welcomed!

  • Anything in the Event logs, do the ports come back if the print spooler service is restarted? – Ed Fries Dec 6 '10 at 16:08
  • @Ed - Nothing visable in the logs, the spooler service has been stopped and started whilst doing my intial troubleshooting. The server has also been restarted. - Not that it makes any difference but I will throw it out there! - the server is virtual running under vSphere. – JamesK Dec 6 '10 at 16:19
  • Going to be hard to t-shoot, since the occurrence is very sporadic we really won't know if a change has any effect for possibly months. If restarting the spooler service restores the ports then scheduling a nightly service restart may eliminate the symptom although w/out finding the root cause. Beyond that I would look for updates from Xerox, the print audit app and get in touch w/ both org's tech support for further ideas. – Ed Fries Dec 9 '10 at 16:43
  • I had similar issue. I removed all printers and ports. Run windows update...added the printers and all is well...wierd. – Saif Khan Dec 9 '10 at 17:10
  • Thanks for your feedback. The restart of the spooler really didnt help, only method to get the device working is to create some new ports. I was thinking about going to Xerox but I cant see how the driver would cause ports to be hidden/vanish. I will indeed speak with the print audit application developers to see if they have any ideas. – JamesK Dec 9 '10 at 17:11

Specially if you don't see any meaningful OS logs, you might be looking at a particular issue with your print auditing software (version) and the xerox print driver (since others aren't showing this behavior). See if there is a way to get application-specific logs for this software, instead of looking at windows logs for anomalies. If all fails, check the support website for the vendor, or call for support... this could be a known bug where they can provide a quick hot-fix/update (I did a quick check for this type of issue on a print auditing software we used to use [PCounter], and found this being a bug in one of their versions--maybe not what you're using, but it might support the claim of it being a software bug).

...at least it's only affecting one printer and not all :)

  • Hi first off thanks for replying. - PCounter is one of the many solutions which I support, the strange issue is that of the setups I look after I havent seen any issues like this before. (This setup is using Safecom) I'm leaning now more towards either the port driver version (Pull Printing) or the Driver assigned to this printer queue. I've gone through all the verbose logging which the solution can output but nothing obvious shows up. - I think your answer has the best response and will give you the bounty. Thank You. – JamesK Dec 14 '10 at 9:18

This might not help, but I wanted to add it in case it does. We ran into this same issue on Server 2008 after using Windows Printer Migrator from a Server 2003 box. All printers on custom ports would disappear after the server or print spooler service restarted.

We opened a support ticket with Microsoft, with it being closed months later saying they were working on a bug fix for it.

With some additional testing, we found after repairing/reinstalling the OS over top of itself and manually installing the printers (not using any migration tools), the issue was fixed.

  • Hi Thanks for your answer. I dont think the issue is quite the same but it's something to keep in mind. – JamesK Dec 14 '10 at 9:35

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