Users Are Unable to Print to Server

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After a while, all Windows NT workstations are no longer able to submit print jobs to a print server. You may receive the following error message:

The RPC Server is unavailable.

A network trace of the traffic between a client and the print server shows that the server is returning STATUS_PIPE_NOT_AVAILABLE to the client whenever it tries to connect to the spoolss RPC server.

File sharing and other remote administrative tasks against the server are not affected. Downlevel (non-RPC) clients can still print, and print jobs submitted from the server itself also print correctly.

This tends to occur more frequently in the early evening as users are leaving work.


Workstations are being powered off without being properly shut down. Specifically, the problem arises if the workstation had one or more printer property windows open. The server attempts to perform an RPC print notification update to the client, but, because the client was turned off, the underlying transport times out the connection request. During this period, the RPC run time is unable to create any named pipe instances for new incoming print requests.

It usually requires several workstations to be turned off in a short period of time for these symptoms to appear on the server.


To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
152734 How to Obtain the Latest Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 4.


Article ID: 186247 - Last Review: October 8, 2013 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kbfix kbqfe KB186247

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