R2 Print Cluster? Get this Hotfix! KB 976571

Hi Cluster Fans,


Many of you use Failover Clustering to provide high-availability to your print servers to ensure that the print spooler resource stays up and running.  We have recently released a Rollup Hotfix specific to print clustering which contains several fixes to improve the stability of the overall print system and fix issues with migration of print servers using PrintBRM.  Microsoft recommends that you install this Hotfix on all of your 2008 R2 print cluster nodes.



If you are running a Windows Server 2008 R2 print cluster GET THIS HOTFIX!  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/976571

[Update 11/16/10] Check out this great blog about troubleshooting Print Cluster issues: http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2010/11/12/windows-print-cluster-best-practices-for-windows-server-2003-to-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx


How will print cluster issues be triaged by Microsoft?


 If you run into any issues and need to call Microsoft’s support line, they will follow this triage process:

1)      Does your complete solution pass the ‘Validate a Configuration’ tests?

·         No: Fix the errors which are reported to bring your cluster to a supported configuration and try to reproduce the problem again.

·         Yes: Proceed to Step 2

·         More information about Validate: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772055.aspx

2)      Does your print cluster have the rollup Hotfix, KB 976571?

·         No: Install this Hotfix on all of your cluster nodes and try to reproduce the problem again.

·         Yes: Microsoft will triage the specific issue you are reporting.  This may include recommending Driver Isolation and removing unnecessary 3rd party print components, like language monitors and print processors.  Or updating required 3rd party print components, such as is recommended for the HP Universal Print Driver when the properties page takes a long time to load: http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/14/windows-2008-r2-cluster-the-print-queue-propertes-of-a-hp-printer-may-take-a-long-time-to-open.aspx

·         More information about installing Hotfixes: http://blogs.msdn.com/clustering/archive/2009/06/12/9731520.aspx (follow this process even though it refers to Service Packs)



What is included in this Hotfix?


This Hotfix contains several fixes specific to print clustering, KB 976571.  This single Hotfix package which is available as a free download will fix all of the issues described below.


Issue 1: Shared Print Disappears


·         A shared printer is installed on a print server failover cluster that is running Windows Server 2008 R2.


·         The print processor of the related driver has multiple dependent files.


·         The print server fails over to another node.


In this scenario, the shared printer may be missing on the new node after the failover operation.  This is because only one dependent file is copied to the destination node in every failover operation. The printer is missing after the failover operation because some dependent files are not available.


Issue 2: Spooler Stops Responding


·         A shared printer is installed on a print server failover cluster that is running Windows Server 2008 R2.


·         Some clients open connections to this shared printer.


·         The print server fails over to another node.


In this scenario, the spooler service may stop responding after this printer server resource fails over to another node, so all print jobs fail.  This is because the print server has entered an infinite loop.


Issue 3: Restoring Printers using PrintBRM

When you use the Print Back-up Restore Migrate utility (PrintBRM.exe) to restore printers on a print server failover cluster that is running Windows Server 2008 R2, some printers cannot be restored, and you receive the following error message: 1081 invalid printer name.  In order to add the print processors to the print server failover cluster, the print spooler resource must first go offline and then come online.  This issue occurs because the printer is restored before the print spooler resource comes back online.



These fixes will also be included in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.



Symon Perriman
Program Manager II
Clustering & High-Availability