How to Troubleshoot Printing Issues on a Windows Server 2003 Cluster

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Article ID: 302539 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article describes how to troubleshoot printing issues that are specific to Windows Server 2003-based server clusters. Printers, drivers, and printer settings operate in the same manner whether the print queue is on a server cluster or a stand-alone server. You can use the same procedure to troubleshoot these issues, with the exception of the location where some of the information about the printers is configured and stored. This article describes the architecture and some common troubleshooting steps that you can use to troubleshoot printers on a server cluster.

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Architecture

In Windows 2000 and earlier print clusters, the printer drivers are stored on the local nodes' hard disk and are shared with locally installed printers. In Windows Server 2003 clusters, the printer drivers are stored on the shared disk in a folder named "PrinterDrivers." This folder is fixed and cannot be changed. When a new printer driver is installed to the virtual server, the driver is copied to the shared disk and to the node that owns the Spooler resource. The local nodes have an exact copy of the same drivers on the shared disk under the Windows_folder\System32\Spool\Drivers\GUID folder, where GUID is the global universal identification (GUID) for the Spooler resource. For example, the folder may have a name that is similar to the following name:
C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers\78c0298e-f2cf-439c-afe0-cf2c7742a968
On the initial failover of the Spooler resource, the Cluster service installs the driver to the local node. Because the drivers are only installed initially on the node that owns the Spooler resource, failover to other nodes may take some time because all printer drivers are copied to the local nodes. After you install new printers to the virtual server, it is recommended that you fail over the Spooler resource to all nodes in the cluster so that the new drivers are copied over to the local nodes.

If a cluster node is added to a cluster, the first time the Spooler resource is failed over to that node, the printer drivers are copied locally. This behavior also occurs if a node is evicted and readded.

Corrupted Drivers on the Local Nodes

If you suspect that the printer drivers on the node are corrupted, follow these steps to configure the Cluster service to automatically recopy the drivers from the shared disk to the local node:
  1. Open Cluster Administrator, and then move the group that contains the Spooler resource to a node that is not suspected of having corrupted drivers.
  2. Right-click the Spooler resource, and then click Take Offline.
  3. Double-click the Spooler resource, and then click Modify under Possible Owners.
  4. Move the node that you suspect has corrupted printer drivers to the Available Nodes column, and then click OK.
  5. Click Apply. (You do not need to click OK.)
  6. Click Modify under Possible Owners, and then move the problematic node back to the Possible Owners column.
  7. Click OK, and then click OK.
  8. Move the group that contains the Spooler resource to the problematic node.
  9. Right-click the Spooler resource, and then click Bring Online.
NOTE: The old drivers may be moved into a folder named "old" depending on whether they can be deleted or not. If the drivers on the problematic node still appear to be corrupted, restart the node after you remove the node from Possible Owners. When you do so, any drivers that have open handles will be closed. Typically, this step is not necessary.

For additional information about the initial configuration of a Windows Server 2003 server cluster, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
278455 How to Set Up a Clustered Print Server

Properties

Article ID: 302539 - Last Review: March 1, 2007 - Revision: 7.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
Keywords: 
kbinfo kbprint KB302539

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