Still Got Spooler Errors? Treat Yourself to a Better Way to Print

**Originally published January 27, 2017**

If you’re having problems with your print spooler, you are not alone. In fact, like many others, you may even be intimately familiar with that dialog window that says it’s no longer running (which of course means your print spooler has likely crashed). Sadly, print spooler crashing is a very common occurrence for many businesses, and figuring out the cause is often difficult. And no, it’s likely not ghosts—though that would be cool.

First Step, Troubleshooting

Thankfully, there are some general steps you can try to fix your print spooler even without knowing the cause. These should allow you to start printing again—for now anyway.

  1. Check if there were any changes to the local network before the print spooler crashed. 

Sometimes introducing a new printer or updating a driver can cause unexpected issues, and print spooler crashing is one of the earliest symptoms. To fix print spooler problems—at least temporarily—you can try taking the new printer offline or rolling back the driver to the previous version until you can determine how to re-implement the changes without the ill effects.

  1. Start digging into system logs to identify possible causes of the print spooler crashing. 

Provided you’ve already enabled diagnostic logging of print jobs, and depending on your version of Windows or Windows Server, you can examine the event log at the following path:

Applications and Services LogsMicrosoftWindowsKernel-PnPDevice Configuration

Examining those logs and Event Viewer entries at the time the print spooler crashed should provide you with some indication of what could have caused the problem. More often than not, these issues can be traced back to driver conflicts, so you’ll want to keep an eye peeled for one or more rogue .DLL files that you can associate with a particular printer. 

Unfortunately, some of these driver files have cryptic names that only hint at the manufacturer or model, which means you’ll have to conduct some Internet searches if it isn’t immediately apparent. (Just imagine they’ve decided to don a costume for the occasion.) On the bright side, because print spooler crashing is so common, there’s a good chance someone will have done the hard work of tracking down the driver for you! 

  1. Flush all print jobs from the queue and remove all stray or unnecessary printers from the pool. 

The steps for this can be long and detailed. They also vary from version to version of Windows, so after carrying out the basic troubleshooting above, it’s a good idea to consult Microsoft’s troubleshooting guides for your particular product. Trying to fix the print spooler incorrectly can actually result in even more print spooler crashing down the road. That’s a horror story you don’t want to see.

Second Step, Move On to Serverless Printing

Frequent spooler errors have prompted many organizations to abandon the temperamental print server structure and migrate to a serverless printing solution. With PrinterLogic’s direct IP printing infrastructure, the kinds of driver conflicts that often cause print spooler crashing are virtually nonexistent. That’s because of its stability and superior driver management. And unlike print servers, PrinterLogic is so robust that it enables your end users to continue printing as normal—even in the rare event of a server outage.

Plus, you get centralized management of printers across your enterprise. So you can deploy, alter, and remove printers anywhere in the organization from a single pane of glass. End users can identify and install nearby printers themselves with a single click and without having to call the service desk for assistance. Even better, PrinterLogic gives you the opportunity to add next-gen Mobile Printing, Secure Printing, and Off-Network Printing quickly and seamlessly.

PrinterLogic is a permanent fix for print spooler crashing. And it’s easy to use for both you and everyone else in your organization. It’s time to stop getting tricked by your print spoolers and treat yourself to a better way to manage print.

3 Terrifying Print Spooler Stats That Will Haunt Your Dreams

Between PrintDemon, PrintNightmare, and SpoolFool, print spooler vulnerabilities have been a significant problem for many companies in recent years. But it may be even worse than you thought. The truth is print spoolers have been a constant source of vulnerabilities in recent years, and things appear to be getting even worse. While you may think you have everything under control, it’s important to remember that just a single data breach can cost you time, money, and especially your reputation.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered 3 statistics that will make you think twice about your print server infrastructure—and may even keep you up at night.

Terrifying Truth #1: 

The Windows Print Spooler is over 20 years old and continues to be patched, rather than overhauled.

We all know technology ages quickly. Especially computer and internet technology. You’d be laughed out of the building if you still used a phone from 20 years ago… or worse, a Palm Pilot. And yet, so many companies continue to rely on print servers and spoolers that have been around since before Gen Z. That seems crazy, right?

It’s even crazier when you consider that 12 years ago (a lifetime in technology terms), the Stuxnet virus was launched. It took advantage of a Windows Spooler vulnerability to hack into an Iranian facility handling uranium. Yikes. And while that particular vulnerability has since been patched, new ones get discovered every year—if not more often. Instead of investing resources in overhauling that system (or creating a better one), companies just keep patching their systems. 

While patches may work to stem the risk, they often involve workarounds or cause other problems for users. For example, the PrintNightmare patch no longer allows end users to update drivers or print permissions on their own. Admin credentials are now needed every time, leading to a significant rise in helpdesk tickets last year. 

Unfortunately, patches aren’t the only problem. 

Terrifying Truth #2: 

According to Kaspersky, there were about 65,000 attacks on print spoolers between July 2021 and April 2022.

Think about it. As companies have moved to hybrid and remote work environments, the move toward Zero Trust and more secure networks has been significantly accelerated. That means hackers have fewer chances to gain valuable business information through traditional methods. Not that those have stopped: Phishing attacks are also on the rise with companies stuck in these interim periods between their legacy infrastructure and adopting more secure systems and processes.

But with all the renewed focus on security, one often overlooked vulnerability continues to exist for many companies: print servers. Despite knowing that there have been vulnerabilities for years and that patches continue to roll out year after year, many companies simply haven’t made the time or budget to change out old infrastructure. Some organizations we meet at trade shows don’t even know there are other options out there. 

So hackers have made it their new hobby to test spoolers. IT teams are trying to keep up, but with so much change occurring, it can be hard to get the resources needed to constantly keep a network protected. And with these attacks on the rise, it’s time to start considering your options.

Terrifying Truth #3: 

According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million globally and $9.44 million in the US.

Those are big numbers. And they don’t even account for potential lost business when customers see your network as risky. Even worse, compromised credentials (one of the leading causes of data breaches) are often not discovered immediately. So your data could be leaking for months before you figure out there’s a problem, which can then lead to bigger concerns with regulators.

While most companies by now know to take network security and data protection very seriously, too many consider print to be far down the list of potential threats. And as we’ve seen from our other data, it should really be at the top. So why aren’t people more concerned?

The last terrifying truth is that many executives feel like print works well enough and are content to maintain the status quo until it becomes a problem.

Happy Truth # 1:

You can do better than the status quo.

You don’t have to keep allowing the same cycle to play out over and over. Moving to a serverless printing infrastructure like PrinterLogic can save you from the headaches and problems associated with print spoolers. With direct IP printing, data is segmented and secured at all points in the printing process. And integrations with Identity Providers (IdPs) allow end users to access features like Secure Release Printing and Mobile Printing. Plus, the PrinterLogic platform is SaaS-based, so it stays up-to-date with any security releases without you having to worry.

The best part? It’s more cost-effective than a print server infrastructure too!

Without the threat of print spoolers being exposed and at risk, your team can focus on other big security initiatives as technology continues to advance. Isn’t it time you stopped living in the past and started investing in your future?

Eliminate Ghost Printers With PrinterLogic Ghost(printer)busters

**Originally published on June 7, 2017**

Do you feel a lingering presence haunting your enterprise? That chill isn’t the drop in temperatures, but a loOoOoming ghost printer. This is the term for a deleted printer that keeps reappearing even though you’ve tried all the customary methods to remove it. And, like ghosts, their presence can range from harmless annoyances to malicious poltergeists that cause havoc across the print environment and require reinforcements. So, who you gonna call? PrinterLogic–the Ghost(printer)busters!

We’re here to walk you through a few helpful tips if you don’t know what to do when a printer cannot be removed because access is denied in Server 2019, or when a ghost printer persists even after multiple server reboots. Keep reading to learn how to bust your ghost printer issues for good.

Empty the Spooler Folder

When a deleted printer keeps reappearing, it could be because there are still jobs associated with that printer in the spooler that can’t be flushed. In Server 2019 and previous versions, you’ll want to check the following path: C:WINDOWSsystem32spoolPRINTERS. There, you’ll see spool files with .shd and .shl extensions. Delete all of the files the folder contains, and then restart the spooler service.

Delete the Driver

On rare occasions, a driver will be associated with a particular printing device and cause it to persist. In the event that a printer cannot be removed because access is denied in Server 2019, try deleting the driver. This can cause a lot of problems if other clients are still using that driver, so schedule the driver removal and reinstall after working hours. Reboot the server and see if the ghost printer is gone. If so, you can safely reinstall the driver. Try updating to a newer version if one is available.

Play the Printer Spooler Game

Sometimes removing the printer can require a little added dexterity on your part. Some admins have reported that they have had to stop the spooler, start it, and then immediately attempt to delete the printer via the Print Management console before the spooler has finished starting. It might take a few tries.

Check for Stray Registry Keys and Redirects

If you’re finding that a ghost printer cannot be removed because access is denied in Server 2019, there’s a chance that it is still in the registry. Lingering registry keys can prevent a printer from being deleted. To remove a printer from the registry in Windows Server 2019, try scanning the registry keys and running the repair process with a software tool.

Last Resort

Should the ghost printers only appear in Devices and Printers–not Print Management–and you’ve already tried the steps above, there’s one more potential fix for a deleted printer that keeps reappearing. Try booting to your Server 2019 recovery disk and emptying the print spooler folder as well as all registry references to the printers. With any luck, this will remove the printer from the registry in Windows Server 2019 once and for all.

Frustrated yet? Unfortunately, hit-and-miss troubleshooting steps like these aren’t limited to ghost printers and finding out why, for example, a printer cannot be removed because access is denied in Server 2019. These steps are typical of routine print server administration, no matter what OS version you’re running—whether it’s driver deployments, printer installations, maintaining print queues, or even just managing printer profiles.

With PrinterLogic’s next-generation print management solution, you can eliminate your print servers and replace them all with robust, infinitely scalable enterprise-grade software that runs as an on-premise or cloud-native SaaS platform—both of which provide full-featured printing to your entire organization using the existing print infrastructure. PrinterLogic’s intuitive centralized management and direct IP backbone mean that there are no registry keys to struggle with, no spooler crashes, no rogue drivers, no Group Policy Objects (GPOs) and scripts, and certainly no deleted printers that keep reappearing.

By implementing PrinterLogic, you also get seamless integration with virtual environments, an acclaimed Self-Service Installation Portal for end users, and enterprise-wide centralized management from a single pane of glass.

Oh, and don’t forget peace of mind. Why? Because the PrinterLogic Ghost(printer)busters aren’t afraid of busting some ghost printers.

Fixing Slow Network Printing

**Originally published on October 30, 2018**

Are you still experiencing mind-numbingly slow print speeds in 2022?  

As consumers of modern technology, it’s natural to want instant gratification. Think of Veruca Salt, the spoiled little rich girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, sing-shrieking, “I don’t care how, I want it NOW!” and you’ve successfully captured the attitude of many end users.

Consider the agonizing eternity from when you click “Print” to the moment when the hum of your printer finally starts. While you waited, you could’ve watched an episode of your new go-to Netflix Series, read an article from your favorite website, or run some errands. Seriously, some print jobs take FOREVER! And when you print, you want it NOW!

Let’s look at a few possible causes for slow network printing and some solutions to this problem.


The Culprits of Slow Network Printing

Print Server Overload: Could the cause of slow network printing be the Windows print server in your data center with poor WAN connectivity to your remote branch office? Although it sounds like one of the solutions in a game of Clue, it is a possible culprit. It’s also why many organizations opt for a distributed print server model over a centralized model to help cut out WAN-related printing challenges and localize network traffic. BEWARE: Moving to a distributed model can be a very costly way to address slow print speeds.

WAN-Related Challenges: WAN-related print challenges are common in many Citrix environments. Whether you’re using Citrix auto-creation or printer redirection, you need locally created printers that send jobs back to the data center or a local print server. The Citrix Universal Print Driver (UPD) does offer compression—but that’s only when the jobs travel to the Citrix server. These print jobs can expand up to 80% after rendering, at which point they have to make their way to your print server and, finally, to your printer. 

For a more detailed explanation of Citrix-related printing problems, check out this blog post on three common Citrix printing problems and how to solve them

Printer Overexertion: Another common printing problem is when a printer tries to do too much. You’ve probably never thought of your printers as people-pleasers, but they are. They try to do everything for everyone, and sometimes all at once. And when there is a large client pool you can expect even more problems to arise. Things like splitting (i.e., prioritizing) print jobs and job sizes might slow your network printing speed.


Some Short-Term Fixes for Slow Network Printing

Adjust Print Server Configurations: To improve print speed in Windows, take a look in your system settings and find the printer in question. Select “Properties” and ensure that the option under the “Advanced” tab labeled “Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster” is selected along with the sub-selection “Start printing after the last page is spooled”. Finally, you’ll want to check the “Print spooled documents first” option. These steps will ensure that the splitting doesn’t happen and that small print jobs don’t get stuck behind large jobs that take forever to spool.

Other viable options include:

Eliminate Unused Drivers: Although they aren’t being used in your repository, any lingering monitoring software they use could be eating up precious RAM. 

Use a Dedicated Hard Drive: You might find that using a dedicated hard drive for spooling, especially an SSD (solid-state drive), could improve things.

Increase Your Hard Disk Space: As mentioned with Citrix print servers, print jobs grow multiple times in size when rendered. If you try increasing your hard disk space, your print servers may be able to take on more print jobs and speed up the printing process.

Close All Unnecessary Connections: Just like apps running in the background on your smartphone, client connections to print servers can stay active for a long time and cause speeds to lag. You can view these open connections via the windows server management functionality. 

If all else fails, maybe a bigger, better, more expensive print server might help. 

But before you do that, stop and take a deep breath. I might have the answer. 

The Game-Changing Alternative to Slow Print Servers

While the options mentioned above may be feasible, they aren’t guaranteed to work. As you decide on the best route for your organization, consider looking into PrinterLogic as a permanent solution to fix your slow network printing challenges so you can finally get the lightning-fast printing you deserve.

Whether you’re in the SMB space or an enterprise company, PrinterLogic successfully converts printing environments into an optimized, centrally managed direct IP printing model that eliminates the single point of failure created by print servers, saves time by eliminating scripting and GPOs, and is completely printer-agnostic. 

PrinterLogic offers both a cloud-based solution called PrinterLogic SaaS as well as an on-premise solution to fit any print environment. 

Secure Document Printing Solutions

Originally published on January 13, 2016

IT professionals have started asking the same questions about their print environment as they do when they try bungee jumping for the first time.

  • Is it safe? 
  • Is the equipment secure? 
  • Is it worth my time? 
  • How much does it cost?

Organizations have taken a different approach to print security following the global shift to remote and hybrid work. Additionally, companies have increased their use of contingent labor over the past few years to reduce costs and improve workforce flexibility and they’ve done so at a rapid pace. A recent labor report found that almost 30% of workers at large enterprises are already contingent.

For many organizations, it sparked a movement toward a Zero Trust Printing infrastructure. They’re now tasked with finding out where to start and learning how to efficiently address their print security concerns. 

Fortunately, achieving secure printing doesn’t require you to perform any daring stunts or leave your comfort zone. 


What’s the First Step?

Technology is the core of business operations. We get comfortable with the tech we have, making it hard to stray away from what’s familiar. However, outdated legacy hardware is becoming more expensive to maintain, failure rates are higher, and they limit scalability. 

In the case of print environments–it’s print servers that haven’t aged well. 

Print servers impair mobility and simply don’t keep up with current workforce demands. Not to mention, companies utilizing print servers are constantly looking over their shoulders in case of another PrintNightmare

If you eliminate your print servers and move to a serverless cloud printing solution, your printing infrastructure receives an immediate security boost and opens the doors for integrations with modern software solutions. 


How Does Secure Printing Work?

All print jobs start with the end user. When a user prints, their documents are left in the print tray–sometimes accidentally exposing confidential information. Sensitive information ranges from everyday payroll (Wait a sec…Doug makes how much?) to customer information. To steer clear of HR nightmares like these, it’s important to empower users to release print jobs when they are ready and eliminate the possibility of another person viewing it. 

PrinterLogic offers Secure Release Printing with flexible methods to lock down your physical documents and ensure that only authorized users can release print jobs when they’re ready. Your confidential material is kept away from prying eyes and out of the hands of competitors, guests, or non-sanctioned employees. PrinterLogic’s Secure Release Printing feature gives users many different kinds of release methods to suit a variety of print environments:

  • Badge: Release print jobs with the simple swipe of a badge or card. 
  • Smartphone App: Allows users of iOS and Android devices to quickly and securely release print jobs, eliminating the need for a badge scan release system.
  • ID/PIN: Log in and release print jobs from your printer’s LCD control panel via Active Directory login or PIN Authentication.
  • Web Browser: Enables any device with browser access to connect to PrinterLogic’s web-based application to release print jobs securely.


How Can Hybrid Workers Print Securely?

A study by Quocirca found that employee-owned home printers were ranked as a bigger security threat than office printers by IT decision-makers. For workers that need to print, it’s easy (and cheap) to stroll over to the local shop and buy a printer to get the job done. The downfall is these printers usually go unmanaged and create new attack vectors for hackers, especially since most individuals don’t maintain proper firmware updates like an IT professional would. Organizations need a solution that is promotes office printer usage, requires minimal maintenance, and lets workers send jobs to an office printer without information being exposed.  

PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing feature fills the security gaps created by hybrid and contingent workforces by providing convenient access to printers and allowing workers to print securely to a printer behind your organization’s firewall, regardless of which network they are on. The feature also promotes collaboration with office staff and moves away from old-school workarounds like sending emails, third-party printing services, or even mailing a document. Users can hold the print job until they or a collaborator goes to the printer and authenticates it, maintaining documents confidentiality.


A Flexible and Secure All-In-One Solution

The best solutions are the ones that work behind the scenes, require little-to-no time to learn, and are designed to grow with an organization. Using PrinterLogic SaaS as your secure printing solution you gain access to a ton of additional benefits that help you maximize savings and give you optimal visibility over your entire printer fleet with minimal effort and maintenance for IT teams. 

Even better, secure printing with PrinterLogic is independent of any device manufacturer, giving you the freedom to work with your existing devices or migrate to any manufacturer you choose in the future while still enjoying the benefits of our secure print solution.

Wait…You Spend How Much On Printing?

Nothing makes us more upset than unknown costs. We’ve all been there. 

Bought a ticket to a sporting event recently? 

You choose your desired seat, pay $60, and before you know it, you’re hit with an extra $22 for a “just because you were born” fee followed by a “because we can” fee. You’re stuck paying 36% more than the displayed price! Costs like these aren’t necessarily hidden, but these prices are literally coming out of left field. 

Printing is a similar story. Most companies don’t know about their print environment let alone how much money they’re squandering.

A Gartner report states that 90% of North American companies are unaware of how many printers they have or how much they’re actually spending on print. Moreover, companies are also missing out on 10% to 30% in potential savings due to lack of insight into their print environments. 

Instead, businesses are paying out the wazoo for printing costs they can’t identify, leaving them scratching their heads about where their money went.  

Let’s discover some annual hidden costs based on mid-size businesses of 500 employees.


Trees, Trees, and More Trees

Paper is as relevant as it’s ever been in the office despite companies pushing toward a digital workplace. According to Formstack, the average worker uses about 10,000 pages per year. Of those 10,000 pages used, about 45% are thrown away by the end of the day.

Let’s put this into perspective. Shall we?

The average cost of one ream of paper (500 pages) on Amazon when buying in bulk is $5. For a medium-sized business with 500 employees, you’re looking at $50,000 per year in used paper. Forty-five percent of those dollars go straight to the trash within 24 hours.

The Math

One ream of paper = $5
20 reams (10,000 sheets) = $100
500 employees x $100 = $50,000
$50,000 x 0.45(wasted paper) = $22,500

Money wasted on paper: $22,500


Think Gas Is Expensive? Try Ink. 

We can’t talk about printing without bringing up the “liquid gold” of the office.

As the Gucci of office supplies, it’s no surprise that companies spend more on ink than they do on printers themselves. A study on ink cartridges found that the average company spends $120 per year on black ink and $150 on color ink per printer. $370 per printer isn’t chump change when you crunch the numbers. 

IT Pro Portal considers an optimal employee/printer ratio to be 4.4 to 1. Do the math and you’ve got 113 printers, meaning $41,810 (113 x $370) is being spent on ink yearly. Take into account that 45% of documents don’t last a full day, and you may as well just pour half the ink out of the cartridge.

The Math

Average ink price for one printer yearly = $370
500 employees ÷ 4.4 (ratio of employees per printer) =113
$370 x 113 printers = $41,810
$41,810 x 0.45 (wasted paper) = $18,814

Money wasted on black and color ink: $18,814


Time: The True Money-Guzzler

Have you ever printed something only for it to be sent into the abyss, leaving you helplessly wandering for what seems like forever? We’ve all done it. When dealing with an unmanaged print environment, it becomes more common. According to Offix, the average full-time employee spends up to 20 minutes per week simply looking for a document or waiting for print jobs. Yep, that’s going to cost you. 

Let’s start with how much the average full-time employee makes hourly as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022): $26 

Because employees are searching for documents for 20 minutes per week, organizations are spending $8.66 per employee–just for them to look for documents that should be easy to find. 

Think about it: With 500 employees (500 x $8.66), our mid-size company spends $4,330 weekly on lost documents. The aphorism time is money certainly rings true here. 

The Math

20 min = 0.33 hours
$26 average hourly pay x 0.33 = $8.66
$8.66 x 500 = $4330 weekly
$4330 x 52 weeks = $225,160

Yearly spend on employees looking for documentation: $225,160


Print-Related Helpdesk Calls

Paper jams, faulty scanning, and printer installations are all reasons someone would reach out to the helpdesk for assistance. According to a Gartner report, these helpdesk calls–big or small–account for roughly 50% of an IT team’s workday. At an average of $22 per call (BMC), the yearly cost of print-related calls is sure to raise some eyebrows. 

Let’s say a company has six technicians that regularly take on 20 tickets per day (120 tickets). That’s 60 print-related helpdesk calls made daily, 1200 monthly, and 14,400 yearly. If you consider our average helpdesk call cost ($22), businesses could just write a blank check and hand it over to the IT director. 

The Math 

60 calls x $22 = $1320
$1320 x 5 days a week = $6600
$6600 x 52 weeks = $343,200

Yearly spend on print-related helpdesk calls: $343,200


The Total Damage

Total $ wasted on printing for a mid-size business of 500 employees: $609,674

With 1000 employees: $1,219,348

With 2000 employees: $2,438,696


We Know What You’re Thinking

These are massive prices to pay for unnecessary printing expenses. Although these are estimates based on various sources, it gives you a good idea of where money is going when you don’t have a centrally managed print environment. We didn’t even cover the cost it takes to maintain print servers and what percentage of documents never leave the print tray–both of which will leave you furious–so we’ll save that for another time. 

In the meantime, if you’re looking to cut costs by reducing your environmental footprint, cutting down print-related helpdesk calls, and saving precious time, PrinterLogic has the answers to all your printing woes.

WE ELIMINATE YOUR PRINT SERVERS and offer a centralized print management solution to relieve IT teams of mundane print-related tasks with the simple flip of a switch.