Troubleshooting Windows XP Printing Problems

If you run into printing problems with your XP-based print server, chances are good that more information can be found in the Event Viewer System log. XP print servers are configured to log both Error and Warning events to the System log according to the default settings of the Advanced tab in Print Server Properties. So, be sure to check this log file for more information if you’ve received on-screen messages or simply cannot print without explanation – chances are good that you’ll at least be able to gather a little more information about potential sources of the problem. If the information in the System log seems a little cryptic, then take the time to visit the online version of the Microsoft Support website available at

Fixing what appear to be system-wide printing problems on your XP print server is often as easy as simply stopping and then starting the Print Spooler service via the Services MMC. The Print Spooler service is apt to hang without warning for reasons ranging from lack of spooling space on your hard drive to various Windows errors. A stop and restart of the Print Spooler service will often solve the issue, as will rebooting XP, so these options in mind. For better (and more stable) performance from the Print Spooler service, specify an alternate partition or disk for the print spooler folder on the Advanced tab of the Print Server Properties page – this is likely to solve many of the performance issues or errors you may be experiencing.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.