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Is Your Print Server Causing Your Print Spooler to Crash?

Posted by Chris Summerhays on February 14th, 2017

Sometimes it seems like the most delicate thing on earth is your print spooler. Cough suddenly, glance at it the wrong way, speak a little too loudly, and it crashes — even on a relatively current and stable platform like Server 2012. And when your print spooler is not working, unless you've got some serious redundancy measures in place, it tends to take down the organization's ability to print with it. That's usually followed by a round of panicked restarts and troubleshooting while your end users flood the service desk with irate support calls.

If your print spooler is crashing in Server 2012 or your print spooler is not working the way it should, what's the cause and what can be done about it? You might be surprised to discover that it could be your print server, not the print spooler, that's not working as intended.

Before delving any deeper, some perspective: Print servers first came about to fill a niche. A simple one. They were meant to allow multiple networked computers to print to a shared printer while introducing some oversight to the process. Over time, however, networks got more complex. Printers became more heterogeneous and gained more functionality, as did workstations and the different operating systems they ran. Printer fleets grew in size, and so did the device pools they were meant to serve. Virtualization solutions became more commonplace. Mobile computing became more standardized.

And yet, throughout all this, the basic print server paradigm remained the same. Even as the number of drivers they were meant to handle multiplied. Even as 64-bit computing became the norm. Even as acronyms like EMR/EHR and BYOD started being used outside of specialist circles. The paradigm just didn't evolve at the same speed as the rest of technology. That's why, when your print spooler is crashing in Server 2012, the problem is more likely to lie with your print server than the spooler itself.

So if your print spooler is not working, there are a few things you can do. You can restart it by going to the "Services" panel and then begin the long and uncertain troubleshooting process of determining the cause of the crash, probably by digging through the event logs and searching for rogue drivers (a frequent culprit). More thorough troubleshooting involves completely switching over to 2012 R2 printer drivers and ditching unsupported legacy printers. As a last resort, you can even try removing all the printers and then re-adding them one by one to determine the problematic device. But even this isn't guaranteed to stop your print spooler from crashing in Server 2012 because the underlying print server paradigm hasn't changed.

The surest way to stop print spooler crashes is by eliminating your print servers. PrinterLogic's next generation enterprise print management solution enables your organization to do exactly that. Our cost-effective solution combines the stability and robustness of proven direct IP printing with enhanced manageability that goes beyond what print servers offer. For example, even in widely distributed environments, PrinterLogic allows you to centrally administer the entire print environment from a single pane of glass anywhere in the organization. And it allows your end users to continue printing as usual in the rare event of a server outage. Try doing that when your print spooler is not working or has crashed.

Print servers have been superseded by a new enterprise printing paradigm: PrinterLogic. Keep that in mind the next time your service desk is inundated with calls on account of the print spooler crashing in Server 2012. Driver incompatibilities and 32-/64-bit conflicts don't have to bring your print spooler to its knees. You can keep your legacy printers and even equip them with Mobile Printing functionality. You don't have to deal with the quirks, instability and expense of print servers. Sound like a bright new future for enterprise printing? With PrinterLogic, it's a reality that over two-thirds of our customers have implemented in less than five days.

Chris Summerhays
Chris Summerhays
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Marketing Engineer, I spent more than two years as as a Systems Engineer and Sales Engineer working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. I have a Bachelors in Information Technology and love learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.

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