deker0
Contributor
Contributor

Print Spooler Suddenly Jumps to 50% Usage (DPCs?)

Hi everyone,

I just setup a VM with 2 CPUs running at 3 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. I've got Windows 2003 SP2 Enterprise Edition running on it and its functioning as a print server.

I have 80 queues on it...a combination of HP, Canons, a Xerox, and a Panasonic printer. Something odd has been happening every evening. The print spooler suddenly jumps up to 50% and stops responding.

I cannot remote desktop into the server and the console also functions slowly. A restart of the spooler service clears up the sudden spike in usage.

It doesn't happen at any set time, but it's always in the evening. There doesn't seem to be any print jobs on the server at the time of the usage spike. The timings in the past few days have been 7:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 5:30 PM, and tonight at 9:00 PM.

Any ideas why this might be happening? Our previous print server was a physical Dell box also with 2 CPUs and 2 G of RAM. This issue never happened with it.

Your help is much appreciated!

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14 Replies
BryanMcC
Expert
Expert

Sounds like a faulty print driver.. I had the same issue with some HP drivers I had on one of my print servers.. Its a pain to figure out which one with 80 printers but I located the problem and found a patch on the HP website... Cleared up the problem like a charm.

Good luck!

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deker0
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Bryan, thanks for the suggestion.

Can you tell me which HP printer drivers were causing problems for you? A few of the HP drivers on our server include: HP Univeral Print Driver 4.1, HP 9050 PS, HP 4000N, HP 3700N.

Also, why would the driver just spike the CPU out of nowhere? As far as I can tell, when the spooler died tonight, there was no one printing. How did the driver decide to just act up on its own when all was fine for the entire day?

Thanks again, Dee

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BryanMcC
Expert
Expert

The printer was an all in one HP750 normally I dont load these on the servers but it was a VP and you know how that goes.. But my problem was exactly the same.. Sporadic spikes with no rhyme or reason.

You may just start by finding the drivers on the HP website and looking for updates.. Happy hunting.

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deker0
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Thanks again for the quick response.

The HP drivers are the latest as of early October 2007 right from HP's site. They are a mix of PCL6 and PS drivers.

However, the Xerox and Panasonic drivers might be of some concern. Those drivers are older...the last update to either was probably 2005 or so.

Our physical box print server was running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition SP1 and the new VM server is running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition SP2.

I'll most likely remove the Xerox Phaser 6100 queue first, since only 2 users print to that one, and not very often.

Thanks!!!!

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deker0
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Oh and Bryan, one last thing...when the CPU spikes, it stays at around 50% an hovers there. It doesn't fluctuate. It's basically stuck at around 50% and the spooler service doesn't respond. Was this the same symptoms that you experienced with the HP 750 driver?

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BryanMcC
Expert
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The symptoms I had were very odd indeed... Sometimes %100. Sometimes less... But if you are not ever going above %50 I consider that very odd.

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deker0
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Could it be possible that the reason it gets stuck at 50% is because the spooler service is completely monopolizing 1 CPU out of the 2 allocated to the VM? Or, is the print spooler able to take advantage of multiple processors?

This morning, I am seeing CPU spikes to about 90%, but then coming back down to 46% or so. I'll need to investigate further what processes are using the CPU.

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deker0
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Also, one thing I noticed was that the Deferred Procedure Calls seem to be a major component of the high CPU usage. While the server was hitting as high as 98% CPU today, the DPC's took up about 47% of that chunk.

Any thoughts on why those might spike? I restarted the print spooler and about 10 - 15 seconds later, the DPC's went back down to 12% or so.

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mstahl75
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

The spooler using 100% of one CPU, giving 50% usage overall, would be my first thought. We had/have a similar issue with a specific Lexmark printer/print driver causing 100% CPU constant spike. However, that was always accompanied by at least one print job to a printer using that driver.

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deker0
Contributor
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Interesting. We have an old Lexmark C910 printer and I believe the latest driver from their website has a date of 2005. As far as I know however, it's not used very often at all.

What model was giving you problems?

Also, maybe it's worth replacing the PS driver we are currently using with the PCL6 one.

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mstahl75
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

The one that always gives us issues is for a Lexmark T642. However, I haven't had the time to fully troubleshoot the issue to find out if it is really the driver or possibly another driver interacting with that one. I think it is the driver with the issue but since I can get things working with using a T632 driver I've let it sit for now.

deker0
Contributor
Contributor

In my earlier post, I stated that CPU usage was hitting 98% and DPC's were taking up 47%. A restart of the print spooler seemed to calm things down and DPC usage decreased.

However, it just spiked back up a little while ago. I did a clean reboot this time around, let's see what happens.

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deker0
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After opening up a support call with Microsoft and having them analyze some server logs, it was determined a Canon LPR driver was causing the spooler to hang.

Now, the spooler does not crash anymore, but it still seems DPC usage is high and causing over all CPU usage to be high (between 60 - 90%).

I'll open up another discussion for that issue, since the spooler seems to be working fine now.

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deker0
Contributor
Contributor

Okay, new discussion opened up for high CPU / DPC usage -

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/112951?tstart=0

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