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.