I have two windows 2003 servers that print to the same printer (an HP Laserjet 4250). The printer is rated at 40+ pages per minute. When server 1 prints to it, it prints at the rated speed. However, server 2 prints at a much slower speed -- about 15 to 20 pages per minute. When I pause the printers and examine the spool file after it has been generated, the spool file on server 2 is twice the size of the spool file on server one. I am, obviously, using the same document on both servers and have verified that the document is the same size on both servers.

I updated the print driver on both servers to the same version, check the preferences to ensure they match, and set the options on both servers to use the same print processor. However, the problem persists.

What could cause the spool file to be twice as large on one server as on the other?


I know that you said you set them up the same, but since they're not behaving the same, and you are asking for help, I'm going to assume that something has been overlooked, so please don't be offended if I mention something that you've already checked:

  • One may be using Postscript, while the other may be using PCL
  • One may always be sending fonts to the printer every time, while the other is allowing the printer to use fonts stored in memory on the printer
  • One may have been set up to use less memory than the other for the print queue

Something that was not clear from your question is whether the two servers are doing the printing, or if a client is printing to the printer via the two servers' print queues. If printing from a client you should remember that while the servers may be configured identically, you may have an obscure setting on your client machine for only one of the printer connections that may be overriding one or more of the default options set on the server. To be sure, you may want to try doing the following on the client machine:

  • Delete both printer connections
  • Uninstall the printer driver(s) for that printer
  • Remove all remaining traces of the driver files from your client machine (including removing the driver from your installation folder(s), e.g. i386, service packs, hotfixes)
  • Ensure that the driver files do not return after a reboot (if they have, then the files are probably either subject to Windows File Protection or may be added by a login script, in which case you may want to temporarily disable Windows File Protection, remove the system from the network, drop into Safe Mode without networking, etc. until you have completely banished the driver from the system, even after a reboot, with the system connected to the network)
  • Add both printer connections from the respective servers using the same method

If printing directly from the two servers, you may want to also check to ensure that the software doing the printing (e.g. Word, Acrobat, etc.) is exactly the same version and also configured exactly the same on the two servers.

  • Thank you for the detailed response. However, both servers have the PCL 5e driver installed and both have the same font settings. Also, the server performs the printing, not the clients -- so that takes the client out of the equation. – DCNYAM Sep 21 '09 at 17:58
  • Actually, it might be interesting to see what happens when connecting a single client to both servers to see if the behavior is the same when using the two servers from the client. Also, Evan's registry comparison might also help track down the issue. – Jessica McKinnon Sep 22 '09 at 10:51
  • Using the same client to connect to both servers sees the same behavior I mentioned above. – DCNYAM Sep 22 '09 at 16:36
  • I have run into this when the client has set their printer driver preference, under advanced settings, to a higher dpi than the system default. – matt wilkie Feb 15 '13 at 18:14

I'd export the printer-related registry entries from both server computers (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-3, assuming they're 32-bit drivers) and compare the portions that relate to those printers between the servers.

  • I compared to reg entries for the two printers. There are a few differences: Server 1 (Working): DMC Files - "HPlb6esk.cfg HPehujlu.cfg HPqj86a1.cfg" Previous Names - "HP LaserJet 4250 PCL5e" Server 2 (Not Working): DMC Files - "HPvcln4b.cfg" Previous Names - "HP LaserJet 4x50 PCL5e" The following keys were present on Server 2, but not on Server 1: EnableIE7Launch - 0x00000000 (0) MystStdInstall - 0x00000001 (1) RealCfgDll - "UNIDRVUI.DLL" Any ideas from these values? – DCNYAM Sep 22 '09 at 16:41

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