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Windows Thread, Shared printers problem in Technical; Recently we've developed a problem with our shared printers. Most of the shared printers (usually connected to a PC via ...
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    Shared printers problem

    Recently we've developed a problem with our shared printers.

    Most of the shared printers (usually connected to a PC via usb or other) are listed in the AD. They are happily working with the PC they are connected to and usually some others in the same locale. But now when you try to add that printer to a different PC the following error is reported: "Windows cannot connect to the printer. Either the printer name was typed incorrectly, or the specified printer has lost its connection to the server. For more information, click Help."

    Obviously I can uninstall the reinstall the printer and start again but this can be a bit of a job when it's being shared amongst various teachers laptops and those teachers/laptops are not all around together. So ideally looking for a better solution than the old reinstall!

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    TheElusiveOrangeButton's Avatar
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    Could you not bypass AD entirely and add the printer as a local printer with the port \\SERVER\PRINTER on the clients? That's how we do it for inkjets connected to a handful of PCs in a random room, and we've never had any problems. It's less automated, but it works.

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    I'm not sure of the logic of trying to add it as a local printer but I tried it and it says it cannot find the path specified.

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    jc1875's Avatar
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    Is the spooler service running correctly on the machines?

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    Are the networked printers connected directly to the network and you're using one server as a print server (i.e. printers are installed on server) or are all printers connected locally to PCs around the school then added to AD individually? Also what OS are you using (servers/workstations)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jc1875 View Post
    Is the spooler service running correctly on the machines?
    You mean the service "Print Spooler"?

    I can check.

    What is your thinking behind that?

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    jc1875's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nozza View Post
    You mean the service "Print Spooler"?

    I can check.

    What is your thinking behind that?
    Sorry - yes - print spooler.

    2 trains of thought really.
    1) dodgy drivers and other 'issues' can cause the print spooler service to hang, stop etc thus making it difficult to connect to printers from the remote machine or the machine thats hosting the printer.

    2) guesswork - its possible the service has been stopped by malware/spyware/virus (conficker?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by timzim View Post
    Are the networked printers connected directly to the network and you're using one server as a print server (i.e. printers are installed on server) or are all printers connected locally to PCs around the school then added to AD individually? Also what OS are you using (servers/workstations)?
    The printers with this problem are the the latter - printers attached to workstations and shared. You get the option to list when you install them as I remember it. OS is Win XP pro for workstations and a mix of Win2000 and Win2003 server for servers.

    One thing I've just discovered is that if I find the IP of the PC connected to the printer and use that then it works. So it would appear that some sort of naming problem is in effect. The PCs have dynamically assigned IPs. So obviously I will try assigning one a static IP and using that to see if that solves it.

    Any tips on investigating whether a naming problem is at the root of this. Ping resolves the name to the IP.

    BTW, on ping - I can ping the PC name like "english-admin-PC1". Can i also do that by giving a fuller path including the domain? Say our domain is "schoolnamesch.internal" - what would be the proper path to ping?

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    contink's Avatar
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    If naming is the issue I'd look to your DNS server and see if you have problems somewhere... This could be a canary issue for bigger ones.

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    jc1875's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nozza View Post
    The printers with this problem are the the latter - printers attached to workstations and shared. You get the option to list when you install them as I remember it. OS is Win XP pro for workstations and a mix of Win2000 and Win2003 server for servers.

    One thing I've just discovered is that if I find the IP of the PC connected to the printer and use that then it works. So it would appear that some sort of naming problem is in effect. The PCs have dynamically assigned IPs. So obviously I will try assigning one a static IP and using that to see if that solves it.

    Any tips on investigating whether a naming problem is at the root of this. Ping resolves the name to the IP.

    BTW, on ping - I can ping the PC name like "english-admin-PC1". Can i also do that by giving a fuller path including the domain? Say our domain is "schoolnamesch.internal" - what would be the proper path to ping?
    can you browse to the PC, and see the printer in 'printers and faxes' ?
    ie start-> run -> \\english-admin-pc1\

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    Yes i can see the printer there

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    Most of the shared printers (usually connected to a PC via usb or other) are listed in the AD. They are happily working with the PC they are connected to and usually some others in the same locale. But now when you try to add that printer to a different PC the following error is reported: "Windows cannot connect to the printer. Either the printer name was typed incorrectly, or the specified printer has lost its connection to the server. For more information, click Help."
    I had a similar problem recently. Browsing and adding the printer didn't work, but manually entering \\computername\sharename did work. You don't need to add a local port, but this is an option open to you.

    I'd recommend you logon to the machine you want to add the printer. Start the Add Printer Wizard, select 'Network Printer', then 'Connect to this printer'. Manually enter the \\computername\sharename then complete the installation. If this works, I then recommend you try a test page. All being well I can only come to the conclusion it's driver related. That's the conclusion I came to

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    Thanks but I already tried entering in manually and it doesn't work. Same error.

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    jc1875's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jc1875 View Post
    can you browse to the PC, and see the printer in 'printers and faxes' ?
    ie start-> run -> \\english-admin-pc1\
    Quote Originally Posted by Nozza View Post
    Yes i can see the printer there
    Can you double-click on the printer name (to connect and install it) or does it through the same error?
    The print spooler service is running on the PC you're browsing from.

    Is there anything relevant showing up in the event logs (application or system) ?

    If the printer is connected to an XP system, is the XP system likely to have exceeded its number of connections (IIRC XP is limited to 10?)



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