Troubleshooting Slow Printing

“Help! I’m a print server administrator and documents are slow to print. What’s the best way to go about troubleshooting this?”

This article exists to help you determine where the slowness occurs, explains the most common causes, and how to fix them.

Common causes of slow printing (that don’t involve PaperCut)

  • The printer itself is having a mechanical issue.
  • The file being printed is massive. We’ve seen plenty of cases where users try to print extremely large PDFs or vector files, which can take a long time to render. In these cases, flattening the PDF before printing can drastically reduce the size of the spool file and help.
  • The print server might be too busy and doesn’t have enough resources.
  • It could be because the high dynamic port range (49152 - 65535) may be blocked on your Windows print server. When these ports are blocked, print jobs will be delayed around 40 seconds.
  • There could be a slow network connection between the workstation and print server (like in this blog post about diagnosing a slow print job). One solution might be to do away with your Print Server, and use PaperCut’s Print Deploy feature to manage the printers on your workstations and have them print directly to nearby printers or you can use PaperCut to speed up network printing with data compression.
  • Is the printer configured ot use a WSD port? This protocol is not designed for enterprise print environments. If IPsec is enabled on the print server the device has to respond back to the print server with information about print job status. If that data is blocked for some reason, then the Print Server will never get the status from the device. The effect is that the Print job will be stuck as “printing…” in the Windows Print queue.

Does the issue only occur with PaperCut?

For testing purposes, there are two ways to remove PaperCut from the equation. It’s best to perform these tests out-of-hours to reduce the impact on your users.

Both of these methods prevent PaperCut from tracking, analyzing, or converting print jobs. In other words, the techniques help establish whether the problem is related to PaperCut, or is some other factor like printer hardware or the print server.

If PaperCut is out of the picture and the document still prints slowly, then the problem is probably unrelated to PaperCut. Please double check the list of common causes in this article.

If you find that the issue does only happen with PaperCut, then read on…

Is the print queue set up to use the PaperCut TCP/IP port?

We recommend that you ONLY use the PaperCut TCP/IP port if you need it for hardware checking, and in most situations a Windows Standard TCP/IP Port will suffice.

We say this because the PaperCut TCP/IP port slows down printing by design to give the printer enough time to report how many pages were actually printed, before PaperCut will release the next print job.

Take a look through How Does Hardware Checking Affect Printing Speed for a deeper discussion on this topic.

Is this a Secondary Server or Site Server with Print Archiving?

If you’re seeing delays with releasing jobs, and you have Print Archiving switched on for your print queues, there can sometimes be delays.

Spool files are not copied to the App Server (the archive) until the job is actually released. They are not copied when the jobs are cancelled by the user, or if they time out in the hold/release queue. On slow uplinks to the application server, there can be a delay on release before the print job is sent to the destination print queue.

This can be more noticeable in Find-Me Printing Scenario with Hold/Release because the user is at the copier waiting for the job, while the job is getting copied to the File Share.

Because this is dependent on the connection speeds between PaperCut servers, there’s not much that can be done to remedy this problem aside from disabling Print Archiving, or converting that Secondary Server or Site Server to a dedicated PaperCut server.

Is slow printing only an issue with Sharp copiers?

This can happen in rare cases with certain Sharp copiers, and it’s worth checking the Slow Printing on some Sharp Copiers article.

Turn off Bidirectional Support

Anecdotally we’ve heard that disabling Bidirectional support on Windows print queues helps speed up printing in specific situations. Detailed information on this setting can be found in our article Bidirectional Support in Windows.

Still have questions?

Let us know! We love chatting about what’s going on under the hood. Feel free to leave a comment below or visit our Support Portal for further assistance.

Categories: Troubleshooting Articles, Print Queues

Keywords: slowness, slow print job, printing is slow, slow performance