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2014

Environment:

  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server (any edition)
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 Server (any edition)
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 Server (any edition)
  • Microsoft Windows 2012 Server (any edition)
  • Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 Server (any edition)
  • Pharos Systems Blueprint Enterprise (all versions)
  • Pharos Systems Uniprint Suite (all versions)

 

Symptoms:

  • Print jobs have incorrect print attributes
  • Incorrect user assigned to print job
  • Excessively large SPL files found in C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS that exhaust hard disk space
  • ERROR: "Job was deleted or purged" in Pharos Administrator or found in log files for the "page counting" activity
  • Several 0 KB files SPL and SHD found in C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS
  • Cannot delete 0 KB SPL and SHD files C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS

 

Cause:

With Microsoft Windows XP and 2003 Server, Microsoft introduced a change in the creation of spool file (.spl) and the "shadow" file (.shd) that accompany print jobs. The new technology is called "Spool File Pooling" and causes the operating system to create SPL and SHD files following the name format "FPnnnn" and then the extension. On busier servers, Spool File Pooling can also cause multiple sets of "placeholder" files that are reused and, when activity slows down, will delete unnecessary copies. Prior to Windows XP and 2003 Server, spool and shadow files were created "on demand" as print jobs were requested and used the "Job ID" (assigned by Windows Spooler) as the file name.

The Pharos Systems Blueprint and Uniprint products use the information stored in the SPL files, in addition to our Page Count process, to determine relevant attributes of the print job. Further, in a Secure Release Here environment, the Pharos Secure Port monitor uses these files to create the stored jobs for users' later release. Spool File Pooling can create a significant challenge for all of those operations on servers running Pharos software. It can be disabled either "by queue" to accommodate a specific Pharos-controlled function, or for the entire operating system. Pharos recommends disabling it server-wide on servers running Pharos server software (Pharos Uniprint Print Services, Pharos Blueprint Analyst, Pharos Blueprint Collector) and all servers running Pharos Blueprint Tracker or Pharos PrintScout.

 

Resolution:

Please follow the directions outlined in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article to disable Spool File Pooling:

 

"Third-Party Print Management Program Does Not Work as Expected After You Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP"

 

NOTE: It is necessary to restart the Print Spooler service to make this change take effect. This is not specifically mentioned in the article.

Site Monitor is an application of Blueprint Enterprise that monitors the status of printers and multi-function devices within a network.

 

Site Monitor Operations and Features

 

DEVICE DISCOVERY

 

Site Monitor discovers and retrieves device information of printers and multi-function devices within your network using the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). It supports SNMPv1 and SNMPv2. Site Monitor discovers devices using these methods:

  • Using host files (in CSV or TXT formats).
  • Using IP ranges, network hostnames, and IPV4 CIDR ranges.

After devices are discovered, you can then easily manage, monitor, and report on those devices.

 

DEVICE STATUS AND ALERT NOTIFICATIONS

 

Site Monitor detects several common status events, including when printers are low on paper or toner, or when an underlying network problem exists. You can configure Site Monitor to send email notifications when such issues arise. For example, if a device on the network is running low on paper or toner, Site Monitor can send an email alerting the appropriate person. This helps administrators know in advance which devices need immediate attention.

 

REPORTING

 

Site Monitor provides a quick way to generate reports, which you can export to Comma Separated Value (CSV) and Excel formats. The following reports are available:

  • Device Meters - This report provides the meter readings of your printers, copiers, and multi-function devices (MFDs).
  • Device Status - This report provides the status information of one or more devices.

The Pharos CS Gold Gateway allows Pharos products to interact with the CS Gold Billing System. The Gateway allows users to pay for their Pharos transactions using funds from the CS Gold Billing System. The Gateway program is installed on a network machine which connects to the CS Gold Billing Service via TCP/IP.

 

Installation

To  install the CS Gold Gateway, run the CSGoldSetup.msi on the machine on which the Gateway service will run.
 
The gateway installer places all gateway files into the directory you specify during installation (the installers will detect any Pharos components already installed, and offer this as the default install path.) The gateway service will be registered in the Windows Services manager. At the end of the installation, a configuration utility will be displayed. The service can be configured and started from this utility. Shortcuts to the gateway configuration utility are created in the Start menu at Program Files > Pharos > Gateways.
 
The Billing Plug-in is provided in a separate installer and must be installed on each Pharos Print Server that will use the gateway. Run the BillPlug_inst.exe on each Pharos Print Server. The Billing Plug-in also has a configuration utility and this must be  configured to point to the Gateway machine.

 

Notes:

  • The Gateway and Billing Plug-in can be installed on Windows XP and above. Windows  2000 is not supported.
  • The installer will check for the required prerequisites: MMC3 and .NET 3.5. (.NET 3.5 will be downloaded if it is not already installed on the Gateway machine)
  • This Gateway requires the new BillPlug.exe Billing Plug-in and will not work in conjunction with the older IPBilExt.exe Billing Plug-in.
  • For use in conjunction with Uniprint 7.2, a License Server update must be applied.
  • If the CS Gold Gateway is installed on a Uniprint 7.2 Principal Server, edit the registry entry HKLM\Software\Pharos\License Server\Port Name to replace the existing value of pslserver with 2352.

 

Configuration

The  configuration utilities for the Gateway and for the Billing Plug-in can be completed at the time of installation or at a later stage. After installation, the configuration utilities are available from the Start menu at Program Files  > Pharos > Gateways. The Gateway service will not start or work properly until both are correctly configured. Any changes to the configuration require the gateway to be restarted before the changes will take effect.

 

The  configuration settings for the CS Gold Gateway are as follows:

 

  • Gateway Service:

Incoming Port: The TCP/IP port on which the Pharos Billing Plug-in will connect with the Gateway. The default of 2111 is already configured in both the Gateway and the  Plug-in. Any change here must also be implemented at the Billing Plug-in end.

 

  • CS Gold Server:
    • Host  Name: Enter the host name or IP address of the machine on which the CS Gold Billing Service is running.
    • Port: The TCP/IP port on which the Gateway will connect with the Billing Service. The default of 23801 is already configured. Any change here must also be implemented at the Billing Service end.
    • Log: Provide a file name for logging. The default location for log files is the Pharos\Log folder of the installation directory. A different path may be specified if desired.
    • Card Types: Define as many card types as required to support different cards in use  on site. At least one card type must be defined. Provide a sample Card ID in  the field provided and the card types context will step you through defining  the card layout and any restrictions on format. The default Regular Expression  can be extended to match the Sample Card ID. For more complex Regular  Expressions, consult the Regular Expressions help file provided.

 

Once the Gateway and Plug-in are installed, in Pharos Administrator, create a Bank that uses billplug.exe as its Billing Plug-in. Select this Bank for all Pharos Stations that use the CS Gold server for charging.