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Label Printer Randomly Restarts Print Job – CODESOFT, SENTINEL, or TEKLYNX CENTRAL Problem

Summary

This article describes the problem of label print jobs where the printer appears to randomly stop printing in the middle of a print run, pauses, and restarts the label job from the beginning.

Symptoms

  • Label print job stops before the end of a print job
  • After a brief pause, the print job restarts
  • Restart always goes back to the first label in the series (i.e. first serial number)
  • The Windows Print Queue shows the Print Spooler restart the print job
  • No evidence of the reset or error appears in the TEKLYNX software…no error message appears on the screen when using CODESOFT or TEKLYNX CENTRAL nor is there an error listed in the SENTINEL print log

Explanation

Windows print spooler detected an unrecoverable print failure from the printer.  It therefore restarted the print job automatically, from the beginning, when the printer recovered and was back on-line.

Not all events that interrupt printing are unrecoverable.  While the printer is printing the job, many things can happen to interrupt printing:

  • Ribbon or paper can run out
  • Paper jam
  • Someone takes the printer off line or turn soff the printer
  • Printer experiences a loss of power
  • Etc.

In most cases, these events will appear to the Windows Print Queue as “Printer is Busy”.   When the event is finished, Windows Spooler will resume the task of sending the print job to the printer.  The Windows Print Queue for that printer will say “Printing” again.  There are, however, a few types of events that will cause the Window Spooler to think that the print job has failed (i.e. unrecoverable failure).  These events can include:

  • Loss of power to the printer / print server
  • Reset of print server (from the browser interface to the print server)
  • Other external factors and/or conditions that my force a print server reset (TBD)

Note:  Loss of network connection does NOT necessary cause an unrecoverable failure.  Typically the Windows Print Spooler can maintain a print job with a quick disconnecting and reconnecting the Ethernet cable for example.

In the case that triggered the writing of this problem article, the interrupting event was a reset of the printer’s Ethernet print server.  SENTINEL had generated the print job and was  configured to send it to a THT (i.e. TEKLYNX generated) spooler.  After SENTINEL finished generating the print job, Windows Spooler took over the task of sending print job to the printer (this is why no TEKLYNX error appears).  When the printer’s Ethernet print server reset, Windows Spooler sensed this was an unrecoverable failure in the print job and resent it.

Example of the THT Printer Queues created by TEKLYNX that show Windows Print Spooler status:

Solution

Two approaches to consider:

  1. Eliminate Cause of Printer’s Ethernet Print Server Reset – Need to isolate the incoming network traffic to the printer and determine if there are extra network traffic that can trigger a print server reset.  Some of the possible suspects are Anti-Virus scan, System vulnerability Scan, DOD attach on the printer.  Once the suspect is identify, work with the network team to find the best course of action.
  2. Switch to ‘Direct Printing Method’ – Abandon the use of the Windows Spooler in the printer setup and use the TEKLYNX drivers to send print jobs direct to the printer.  Without spooling, the TEKLYNX software will quickly sense the printer failure, stop printing labels, and report an error.  In the example below, note the printer icon and “->” preamble to the port name / IP Address.  This indicates the Direct Print Method is being used.

Additional Comments

Issue First Reported: On Zebra S4M (6) and the server was Windows 2012 R2 running TEKLYNX CENTRAL 4.6.  The print job was generated by SENTINEL v2014) part of TEKLYNX CENTRAL v45.  The printers were configured to use Windows Queue (spooler).

Updated on September 15, 2017

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