The case of the missing print jobs

27 Apr 2013 08:02

Having recently moved my home server (Windows 2012) from the hall cupboard to the corner of my study, I decided to connect it to my printer. This means that I can print from my laptop over wireless without needing to turn on the desktop PC that the printer was originally connected to.

It didn’t work: Windows correctly installed the printer drivers, and added the printer as the default device, but whenever I attempted to print anything (even locally), nothing came out, but no error messages were displayed.

In order to track down the problem, I tried printing using the XPS driver. That didn’t work either: the print job was reported as successful, but I ended up with zero-byte .OXPS files.

Eventually, I looked in Event Viewer and found this:

Log Name:      Microsoft-Windows-PrintService/Admin
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-PrintService
Date:          15/04/2013 19:06:39
Event ID:      372
Task Category: Printing a document
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic Spooler Event,Document Print Job
User:          HOME\Administrator
The document Print Document, owned by Administrator, failed to print on printer
Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Try to print the document again or restart the print spooler. 
Data type: RAW. Size of the spool file in bytes: 67709. Number of bytes printed: 0.
Total number of pages in the document: 2. Number of pages printed: 0.
Client computer: \\SERVER. Win32 error code returned by the print processor: 5. Access is denied.

I searched the Internet for this particular Event ID, and for the error message. Almost everything was talking about printing from Terminal Services, which was not my problem, because I was trying to print locally.

In the end, I found a KB article, which suggests giving Everyone permission on the PRINTERS folder.

There’s no way that I’m doing that, so I looked around some more, and found something that mentioned using Process Monitor and looking at the spoolsv.exe process.

That didn’t show anything interesting, but it did lead me to filtering on the PRINTERS folder. Instead of spoolsv.exe, I found a process named printfilterpipelinesvc.exe, which was getting ACCESS DENIED while attempting to create a .TMP file in the PRINTERS folder. Looking at the properties for that entry, we find that printfilterpipelinesvc.exe is running as LOCAL SERVICE.

So, I just gave LOCAL SERVICE full control over the PRINTERS folder, and everything started working.