Friday, December 4, 2009

Random Empty Print Jobs Sent to Network Printers

I recently came across an odd problem having to do with empty print jobs being sent to printers across our network.  Since our printers are all configured to first print a cover sheet with the user's username before each job, this would result in dozens of coversheets being printed on various printers throughout our company.  After a closer inspection, the jobs being spooled were all named "Remote Desktop Redirected Printer Doc" -- so I knew that Remote Desktop had something to do with it at least.

At some point in the troubleshooting process I found that I could recreate the problem at will (which is gold in the technical troubleshooting world).  All I had to do was start a remote desktop session from a computer with network printers installed, to an XP computer on our network.  I also had to choose the option to redirect local printers to the remote session for it to occur as well.  Whichever network printers were installed on the local machine, and were redirected to the remote session, would receive a random amount of these empty print jobs.

After scouring the internet for awhile, and involving Microsoft support, I discovered that our problem was related to a little 3rd party application called Scan2PC.exe -- which was installed with some drivers to a Dell multifunction printer that all of our executives have.  So, if we started a remote desktop session to any XP computer that had this application installed, the problem happened.  As soon as I removed the Dell drivers, the problem went away.  Since our executives aren't planning getting rid of their brand new multifunction devices anytime soon, our current work around is to uncheck the box in the RDP session to redirect local printers to the remote session.

It's crazy how such a small thing can cause so many weird things to happen!