Available in PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF.

Advanced archiving options and features

Changing the archive storage directory

The default archive storage location is [app-path]/server/data/archive. Reasons for changing this location include:


For performance and security reasons using a local disk on the primary server as the storage location is recommended. If a remote network location such as a SAN device is intended to be used, we'd recommend a low-level drive mount such as iSCSI or better if possible. The server must have a reliable connection to the storage. On a Windows server, if the desired location is accessible only via a UNC path, some additional security configuration is required. By default the PaperCut Application ServerAn Application Server is the primary server program responsible for providing the PaperCut user interface, storing data, and providing services to users. PaperCut uses the Application Server to manage user and account information, manage printers, calculate print costs, provide a web browser interface to administrators and end users, and much more. and the PaperCut Print ProviderA Print Provider is a monitoring service installed on a secondary print server to allow PaperCut to control and track printers. This monitoring component intercepts the local printing and reports the use back to the primary Application Server. services run under the SYSTEM account. This account is restricted and does not have remote network drive access. Change the Log On account assigned both services to one that has full read/write access to the remote location. The change should only be considered and performed by an experienced Windows server administrator.

Phase 1: Move the central archive


If you have existing archived spool files you want to move to the new location, it is recommended to perform this process at a period of low printing activity.

To change the location:

  1. Create the new directory in the desired location, e.g. D:\print-archive. (If the PaperCut Application Server is running in a cluster this directory must be accessible by all cluster nodes. See Clustering and high availability.)

  2. Ensure the PaperCut Application Server service has read and write access.

  3. Log in to the PaperCut Admin web interface.

  4. Click the Options tab. The General page is displayed.

  5. In the Actions menu, click Config editor (advanced).

    The Config EditorThe Config Editor stores information used by PaperCut to configure advanced options and functions. This information is stored in config keys, which are editable by an administrator. page is displayed.

  6. Search for the key archiving.path.

  7. Enter the new path (e.g. D:\print-archive).

  8. Click Update to the right of the value.

  9. Navigate to the Options page and verify the Archive status.

  10. A README.txt file is now in the top level of the location.

  11. Consider copying any existing archived content from the previous archive location. If existing content is not copied, job previews are no longer be displayed for historical print jobs.

Phase 2: Change Print Provider configuration

The Print Provider component needs to know the new location. To set this location:

  1. Open Notepad (or your preferred text editor) with Administrator rights.

  2. Open the file located at [app-path]/providers/print/win/print-provider.conf.

  3. Locate the line:


    and change the value to point to the new location set up in Phase 1. For example:


    Note: if you have upgraded from an older version you might need to add the ArchiveDir= option to the print-provider.conf.

  4. Save the file.

  5. Restart the Print Provider service.

  6. Note: If you have multiple print servers, repeat this on any other secondary print serverA print server is a system responsible for hosting print queues and sharing printer resources to desktops. Users submit print jobs to a print server rather then directly to the printer itself. A print server can be a dedicated server but on many networks this server also performs other tasks, such as file serving or Site ServerSite Servers take over the role of a Primary Application Server in the event of network outages. Key roles taken over include authentication, copy and print tracking and Find-Me printing. Site Servers ensure continuous availability of printing resources to support key business functions over unreliable network links or during unplanned network disruptions., as outlined in Setting up secondary print servers or Site Servers.

Backup considerations

The print archive can potentially grow to a large size and this can have implications for your backup planning. You have various options around archive backup:

  • You can fully backup the directory using your backup solution of choice, provided you have sufficient capacity.

  • You can choose to not backup the directory at all. PaperCut is resilient to a restoration with an empty archive directory.

  • You can back up part of the directory. For example, the current month only. PaperCut is resilient to a restoration with a partially constructed archive directory. There is a README.txt in the archive directory that explains more about partial backups and the directory structure layout.

Setting up secondary print servers or Site Servers


The setup described previously was for the common case where the PaperCut application is installed on a single server. The secondary print server (or a Site Server's print server), as explained in Configuring secondary print servers and locally attached printers, is responsible for managing the contents of the print jobs printed via a server other than the primary server. If Print ArchivingPaperCut's Print Archiving stores an historic record of all printed content. This allows approved administrators to browse and review the content of past print jobs within their environment. is enabled, the secondary serverA PaperCut secondary server is a system that directly hosts a printer, that is, a print server with a Print Provider installed. A secondary server can be a server style system hosting many printers, a desktop style system hosting printer(s) also shared to other network users, or a desktop style system with the printer used only for local users (not shared). must also participate and facilitate archiving.

In larger print environments it is common to have multiple PaperCut secondary servers located on various machines across the network. In this case Print Archiving can still be used, however, this is an advanced setup procedure and requires additional planning and implementation time.

To support the central tracking and viewing of print archives, transfer all spool files across to the primary Application Server's central archive directory. Each secondary server needs to be correctly configured with write access to this central archive directory. This require running the PaperCut Print Provider service under an account with write access to this directory.

One consequence of this approach, designed to simplify the management of archives, is that it increases bandwidth requirements because all print archives are transferred across the network to the Application Server. The impact of this depends on your specific environment, e.g. number of print jobs, network setup, PDL used, etc. As such you might need to monitor and experiment before a large scale deployment of this feature.

The setup process

The process to set up a secondary server under Print Archiving involves four key phases. Before undertaking this process you should ensure that the secondary print server or Site Server is operating correctly for standard print tracking. The following section documents configuring secondary servers on the Windows operating system.

Phase 1: Creating domain service account

By default the PaperCut Print Provider service running on the secondary server(s) operates under a limited rights account called SYSTEM. This account does not have access to network resources and, therefore, can't access the file system on the primary PaperCut server. Create a new service account and set the service to Log On as this account:

  1. Create a new domain account with access to the share on the primary server and full management rights of print spooler on the local machine. An appropriate name might be svc-papercut.

  2. Set the new account's password to never expire.

Phase 2: Sharing the central archive directory

The secondary server needs the ability to copy print jobs into the central archive. You must first share the central archive folder. On Windows, assuming the archive directory is the default, the procedure would be:

  1. Open Explorer and navigate to [app-path]/server/data/.

  2. Right-click the archive directory; then select Properties > Sharing.

  3. Share the directory with a name print-archive.

  4. Ensure the service account created in Phase 1 has full read/write access.

  5. Ensure all other non-Administrator users do not have any access.

  6. Click OK.

Phase 3: Change the configured archive path on the secondary server

The secondary server needs to know the location of the recently shared central archive directory. To set this location:

  1. Log on to the secondary print server or Site Server as an administrator.

  2. Open Notepad (or your preferred text editor) with Administrator rights.

  3. Open the file located at[app-path]/providers/print/win/print-provider.conf.

  4. Locate the line:


    and change the value to point to the UNC share name set up in Phase 2.For example:



    If you have upgraded from a previous version, add the ArchiveDir=option to theprint-provider.conf.

  5. Save the file.

Phase 4: Assigning rights to the service account

The PaperCut Print Provider service (service responsible for monitoring the print queues and transferring print job spool files to the central archive) needs to be able to access the directory shared in Phase 3. Assign the service account set up in Phase 1 to the PaperCut Print Provider service as follows:

  1. Open Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services

  2. Double-click the PaperCut Print Provider service.

  3. Select the Log On tab.

  4. Click This account.

  5. Enter the username and password for the service account set up in Phase 1.

  6. Click OK.

  7. Restart the service and manually check the file [app-path]/providers/print/print-provider.log for any error messages at end.

Phase 5: Test

Take some time now to perform some testing and ensure any jobs printed on a print queueA print queue displays information about documents that are waiting to be printed, such as the printing status, document owner, and number of pages to print. You can use the print queue to view, pause, resume, restart, and cancel print jobs. on this secondary server are correctly archived.


Archived files are partitioned based on the date and time of the print job. In order for the print archives to be displayed in a consistent manner it is important that all secondary print servers and Site Servers share a common time synchronization. An inconsistent time between servers of more than one hour can cause an error.

Troubleshooting secondary server setup

Here is a list of common issues leading to problems with Print Archiving and secondary server setups:

  • Incorrect paths: It's important that all secondary servers are configured to point to the shared central archive directory. Double-check the value entered in ArchiveDir. See Phase 2: Changing Print Provider Configuration:.

  • System Services can't access user mapped drives. On Windows it's important that you use a UNC path rather than a mapped drive letter.

  • Ensure that all secondary servers have full write access to the central archive. Take time to double-check permissions.

Advanced configuration keys

The print archiving configuration keys are listed in the table below. To set the configuration keys:

  1. Click the Options tab. The General page is displayed.

  2. In the Actions menu, click Config editor (advanced).

    The Config Editor page is displayed.

Print Archiving Advanced Config Keys
Key Description
archiving.images.creator.non-interactive.max-concurrent This value determines the maximum number of image creator processes used to process new print jobs in the background. The system can use this maximum number when it is under high load. The default value is 1. Sites running on fast multiprocessor servers might choose to increase this number. As a guide, this value should not exceed the number of available processor cores. NOTE: The Application Server must be restarted after changing this setting.
archiving.images.creator.interactive.max-concurrent This value determines the maximum number of image creator processes that can be used to support interactive viewing of print jobs in the Admin web interface. The default value is 2. Sites running on fast multiprocessor servers might increase this number. NOTE: The Application Server must be restarted after changing this setting.
archiving.images.creator.pages-to-initially-image This value determines the number of pages that are imaged (pre-rendered) when a print job first arrives. Pre-generation of images speeds up viewing. The default value is 4.
archiving.images.viewer.max-pages The maximum pages into a document that can be explored.

Downloading PDL / spool files for reprinting

Along with image previews, Print Archiving stores a copy of the print job's PDL / spool fileA print spool file is generated when a user sends a document to a printer. The print spool stores the print job information, and sits in a print queue until it is retrieved and printed by a printer.. This can be downloaded and reprinted later. Common reasons for reprinting a job include:

  • To produce another hard copy of the print job (e.g. if the original was lost).

  • To view, when image previews are not available (such as when the printer is using a proprietary / GDI print language).

  • To help diagnose or reproduce printing problems.

To download a job's PDL / spool file:

  1. Find the job of interest in the job logThe job log retains a history of all print jobs including the following details: the user who printed (ie. their network user ID), the time of the print event, the number of pages, document attributes such as color, duplex, grayscale, paper size, document area, paper length, where the print job originated from (the workstation name or IP address), and the document name and type (for example, a Word document’s file name).

  2. Click the job's thumbnail to open the job viewer (full page view)

  3. Click the download icon in the toolbar at the top left (see below)

  4. Save the PDL file to your computer

For information about how to print a PDL file once it is downloaded, see Troubleshooting and technical FAQs.

Remove archived data

You can permanently remove archived data by clicking the remove icon or pressing the delete key in the archive viewer.

Removal is available when the user has the administrator right "remove archived jobs" assigned.

To remove archived data:

  1. Find the job of interest in the job log

  2. Click the job's thumbnail to open the job viewer (full page view).

  3. Click the delete icon in the toolbar at the top left (see below) or press the delete key.

  4. Confirm deletion.