Print server is a VM on Xen The VM is Windows 2003 32bit. During the issue the VM is not being taxed in anyway, cpu, memory, hd read/write, and network speed is all good.

The problem that I see is the transfer of the print file from the print server to the printer. The 80Mb file is transferred from the client to the print server in about 2 minutes but then it takes about 2 hours for that file to be sent to the printer. I can't figure out why this would just start to happen.

The printer is rebooted every evening and is just used for one large print job in the morning. The server has been rebooted with no effect I changed the spool option to send the entire spool to the server before printing starts and it had no effect.

This printer problem did happen to come about after some changes to the Xen environment. The Xen servers changed from using HBA NIC cards to software iscsi and a new switch was put in. I don't think this is related to the problem since all the speeds on the VMs are better now. The changed happened on Saturday and the first print to this printer happened on Monday morning. I'm just putting that out there but like I said I don't think it is related but I don't want to rule it out.

At this point I don't have many other options besides the physical layer. I can switch out network cable that goes to the printer and I might be able to print the same job to another printer. I wont be able to test those things out till this afternoon though.

Any other ideas or test I could do to try to find the reason for the slow speed?

I forgot to say that this is only happening when printing to this one printer.

===Update=== I found out that there are a few printers that currently have this issue, not just the one. There are over 30 printers on the server though so I know it's not happening to all of them.

I printed a large pdf doc from the server and it was able to print at the normal speed.

If the machine sends the large print request it gets to the server fine but then slow to get from the server to the printer. If sent directly from the printer it gets to the printer at the normal speed.

The question now is why is there a speed difference when it comes from the machine and why would it start now?

  • 1
    What type of file is it? What type of print drivers are you using? PCL / PS? – DKNUCKLES Jun 27 '12 at 19:59
  • It's a manufacturing machine that sends the print request out so I'm not sure what type of file it is. The machine has not changed and the drivers have not changed. The drive is PCL. – evolvd Jun 27 '12 at 21:00

Printing issues can be frustrating, especially because there are so many issues at play with printing. In my experience, though, more often than not with issues like you've described the issue is at a software level. From what you describe it sounds like the issue is either a driver issue or perhaps a spooling issue.

I would do the following to isolate the issue :

  1. Print with another piece of software that will work with the file type. For instance, if the issue is with an 80 Mb PDF, then try FoxIt Reader instead of Adobe Reader. Sounds silly but you'd be surprised how often this works.
  2. Most production or office computers come with two driver types - PS and PCL. If you have PS installed now, try PCL. If you have PCL installed then try PS.
  3. Try setting up another server as a print server temporarily. This should be a quick setup and may determine if the issue is with your server or with the document itself.
  4. If it is an MS office document, try saving it as DOCX if it's DOC or DOC if it's already DOCX. Check for compatibility and strip all comments from the document.
  • I added some more information from another test I just did. I don't have access to the machine that is sending the print request, I can get access but that will take some work. – evolvd Jun 27 '12 at 21:05

This is a fairly typical behavior on W2K, W2K3 and XP.
I have seen it numerous times.

Some software or a hotfix/security patch was installed, but only applied during the reboot.
Often there is a final install/config step during boot-process (like replacing locked files) which happens while the printing system is already initializing.
If it blocks some system dll at that point which is used by the driver this sort of thing can happen.
Often just restarting the "print service" on the server will clear the problem. Or changing the driver on the print-queue to "Generic/Text only" and then back to the original driver.
An extra reboot of the server would do the trick too. But that's probably not a good idea in a production environment.

Microsoft fixed this in Vista/W7/W2K8 by changes in the Windows startup logic. Non essential services (like printing) are now delayed until AFTER pending installs are finished.


The issue ended up being driver related. I uninstalled the driver, rebooted and then used the newest one. I ended up using a PS driver where before I was using the PCL. I have no idea why after a reboot of the server this decided to happen though.

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