Troubleshooting Slow Printing in Windows Server 2003

Troubleshooting Slow Printing in Windows Server 2003
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Printing can be a very important resource for a business or a home computer user. The ability to print out applications, resumes, documents, and even books have given us an easier time of getting what we need to the people that need it. When printing begins to go south - slow printing, printing errors, not printing - it is understandable when, as the user, we become frustrated. Especially when we don’t know or understand what the problem could be.

Slow printing in Windows Server 2003 is a problem for companies and businesses who need the printer for sending documents or invoicing; here, learn some of the causes for slow printing and some of the ways that you can fix it.

Why Printing is Slow

It happens at the moment when you need an important document or file printed - you start to print and you get an error on your Windows system that says you can’t print and there’s something wrong with the print spooler. What’s a print spooler? Basically, a print spooler is a piece of software that allows the printer to print; it loads all the printing information into memory and sends the information to the printer.

Sometimes the print spooler may stop working or your computer is calculating something else and isn’t paying attention to the spooler. Either way, it means a stopped job and a headache for you. So what causes these things? Truthfully, it could be many things, such as the spooler hangs or isn’t responding. For slow printing with Windows Server 2003, it could be that the server is configured as a print server or as mentioned above, the spooler is frozen or not responding.

Fixing the Problem

So how do you go about fixing the print spooler that won’t behave? Well, that depends on how you have the server configured.

  • If using a Windows Server 2003 cluster that is being used as the print spooler, a simple download of a Microsoft hot fix will take care of this problem. You can either go to the main website of Windows Updates, go to Windows Updates from your computer/server, or you can manually install the hot fix from the website.
  • The issue could be the size of the file that is being printed, as well as the memory for the printer itself. Try printing out smaller pages (such as two or three at a time) and see if that quickens the process.
  • The printer driver may be a problem, either by needing to be updated or the wrong driver is being used. To update the particular driver, you can either use Windows Update to find the driver or you can go to the manufacturer’s website to see if there are any new updates for the printer. Depending on the product and the driver, sometimes rolling back drivers can help as well. Again, check the manufacturer’s website and that of the user’s forums to find out if rolling back drivers helps.
  • You may also need to go into Services and stop then restart the Print Spooler if all printing has ceased.

Not being able to print is frustrating, having slow printing with Windows Server 2003 can be even more problematic when the entire office can’t print. Having a better idea of why printing is slow and trying out the ways outlined will help in getting the office back and running.

Image content @ Wikipedia