Troubleshooting Windows 2003 Print Server Problems

Every IT admin has had the call…”I can’t print…”…we all hate to hear it and it seems like it is one of the most common calls that an administrator or support staff hears in a day’s time.  In this post we want to take a look at a few common resolutions to printer problems on a Windows 2003 Print server.  There are a few bases that a support technician needs to cover in order to get to the bottom of the printer issue.

In talking about a network print server, the printers are most likely going to be network enabled printers that reside somewhere on the network that the print server can reach.  Most of the time your networked printers will be installed to different “ports” on the print server.  Often IP addresses are used for the port configuration.  One of the first things that we need to do is make sure that the IP address that the printer actually is assigned either manually or via DHCP is the address the print server thinks that it is configured with.  To do this, on most modern printers, there is a way to print a “configuration page” or something of that nature that will show you the TCP/IP address information as well as MAC address that is configured.  The MAC and TCP/IP information is important.  If you are running DHCP on your network, you would want to make sure that you have a reservation created that keeps other devices from assuming the IP that you have configured for your printer, since it is a resource that you need to make sure we can communicate with in a more static way.

In order to verify the port on your print server, open up your “Printers and Faxes” via control panel or your All Programs menu, select the File menu and then “Server Properties.”

This should open up your “Print server Properties” dialog box as shown below.  You will want to select the “Ports” tab:



Once you click on the “Ports” tab, you will want to scroll to find the port that you are interested in to verify the properties.


So in the above example, we found the port that we wanted to make sure was assigned the correct IP address and verified the IP assigned to the port is indeed the IP address that the printer is assigned.  If it is different, you will have problems printing.

Also, as a side note, I have seen cases where there were problems with the port/IP address even though things were configured correctly for whatever reason, simply assigning a new IP address either manually or via DHCP resolved the issue.  Most likely the port gets “hung” on the print server and is not able to successfully communicate with the printer.

A couple of other things to check:

  • Make sure the spooler service is running on your print server.  Also this service can sometimes crash depending on the situation and a service restart can sometimes solve problems
  • Make sure you have a the correct driver assigned to the printer




Back to top button