Firstly I have a W2003 server with all the printers on, I purchased a K8600n which coincided with the spooler crashing... the spooler also seemed to start crashing when we tried to print AQA pdf files.
I moved the K8600 onto a 2008 server and a few other printers but today the 2008 server seemed to stop working around dinner time. I 'think' its because I moved a 1220c inkjet which runs on a Jetdirect print server over which doesn't seem to want to talk to the server anymore and jammed the spooler on that.... man I hate printers.
So I deleted the old shares on the W2003 but when I looked on a client there were 3 duplicate old printers installed and I couldn't delete them, the folder hanged and I ended up CTRL - ALT - DEL to get out of it.
Seems my days have been tired up sorting this out all the blinking time.
Wish I could nail it down.
Oh and I quite like the print management screen in W2008 where it shows the web config page of the printer in the same window.
The spooler crashing is typically due to poor drivers. I presume you've checked HP's website for the latest drivers?
As for deleting old printers from workstations, there's a utility called Cleanspl.exe (Spooler Cleaner) available in the Server 2003 Resource Kit. You can clean the spooler on machines remotely and reboot the machine for the process to complete. Very handy tool
I second the driver thing - try an updated one or even an alternative one.
I had the same problem but fortunately for me I don't need to centrally manage the printers so the clients print direct now. It tied up so much time and got to the point where I had a scheduled batch file running to reset the print spooler service every 15 minutes.
Have you checked that the hard disk has enough space for the spooler , and run chkdsk on the os drive. The other thing worth trying is move the spooler file to another folder. But i will be honest I agree it does sound like a bad driver. Some times you might have the latest driver but are not using the one it likes so you might have to change the pcl5 driver for the pcl6 driver.
For some reason we have problems with certain printers and ms publisher. I have no solution to this but it is a known problem. I also have a problem with publisher and technology cutters. They are not compatable and that crashes publisher and my spooler file on the print server
the spooler also seemed to start crashing when we tried to print AQA pdf files.
Have you tried viewing the PDF documents (each page) with PDF viewer? PDFs are encapuslated Postscript files, and are executable code. We had an AQA PDF once that sat in a loop drawing lots of small, grey squares to do a shadow effect under a box - it just about managed it on a PC, but ran out of memory (and crashed the printer) when we tried to send it to a printer.