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Improve Printing Speeds, and Keep Users off your Back

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Tony Kelly

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Posted: 2 Mar 2005
 

I did a look on the support.novell.com site for related articles on this, not found anything that leaps out along the lines of my problem/fix. The easiest solution is obviously install a newer client, however given the bugs that are fixed, but reveal other bugs, and the time involved, not always practical. In my organisation our 4.81 Client was used when migrating users off Bindery servers onto the NDS proper. Anyway below is what I have been doing, and to all intents and purposes, printing is a lot better as a result.

(I'm not sure what bracket this fix falls under, I'd tag it under "user is whining about their PC being slow again", but I don't think you have one of those. It is one of those problems that bugs users and has been annoying us techies.)

A common problem I have come across, especially since more Windows 2000 PCs have come into our organisation, is that there has been an increase of the Spoolv.exe errors.

Various things will cause the windows spooler to stop. Word documents, printing GroupWise e-mail, in fact anything.

When the spooler stops, if you have the rights on the machine you can re-start the service (either in Services.msc, or C:\net start spooler), or you can remote start it from another machine with a Windows 2000 resource kit tool. Otherwise you have to re-boot the PC.

Usually the spooler will start again on reboot, sometimes it won't. Either way it was turning out to be a bit of a pain in the neck.

Microsoft's answer (the assumption being Novell not being involved), is to delete the printers and strip out the Registry and re-install the printers. This is a bit time-consuming and also given the rising number of calls for this problem - not practical.

I wanted to find a few PCs that were consistent at failing for testing purposes, and the opportunity arose the other day.

The problems we were finding were not server specific, as this problem was happening on the few remaining Bindery servers we operate but also NDS as well. The common factor was Windows 2000. XP isn't an issue, and the clue here was that the client version was higher.

The spooler on Windows 2000 controls the printing, using straight non-Novell IP printing is not a problem and it never crashes. The method we use for printing is again IP, but we authentic via the server.

Technicians were setting the Windows spooler to restart on fail, however my thoughts on this were if it was crashing straightaway, restarting it straightaway might be detrimental to performance of the PC.

We use a hybrid client (4.81) with various patches, and on XP we use 4.83 then 4.9.

A quick digging around on the Internet suggests updating the client.

My thoughts on this were - what parts of the Novell Client control printing?

NWspool.dll is, in effect, the Novell spooler, and checking our version revealed it to be version 4.7.

As an experiment I stopped the Windows spool service, and copied in Nwspool.dll version 4.83 to C:\Winnt\System32.

I was intrigued as to the relationship between the NetWare Spooler and the Windows Spooler.

Anyway after copying in the DLL and rebooting, I discovered instead of Microsoft Word being sluggish at thinking about printing 18 pages, these instead flew straight through and printing was immediate, particularly on Colour Laser printers.

So -- if you are having Spools errors in a Novell environment, consider investigating Client version and the NWSpool.dll version. Replacing the NWSpool.dll might be quicker if you don't have the tools or time to upgrade all your Novell Clients.


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