High CPU Usage on Spoolsv.exe - 2003 Server 64bit


  • I have a file/print server that occassionally (perhaps 2 or 3 times per day) stops printing.  When it occurs, I observe spoolsv.exe consuming 99% of the CPU.  The solution is to restart the spooler service.  But I'm not seeing any clues as to why it's happening.  There are plenty of posts out there that show others have had similar problems, but the solution always seems to point to something stuck in the Windows spool directory (c:\windows\system32\spool\printers). 

    This is a Window 2003 R2 x64 server.  It has 21 printers, all on TCP/IP ports.  It would be rare to see more than a couple of users printing at a time, though it caters to 35 or so clients.... so it's not that there is major usage going on.

    I've read the technet article in detail (,printer).aspx).  It says that after a print job is finished, the windows spool files .spl & .shd are deleted.  What I am observing under normal operation is that after a print job is complete, the size of the file goes to 0, but the file remains for an undetermined amount of time.  If a new print job is sent during the time that the file remains, that print job uses the same .shd & .spl files.  The date / time stamp changes. 

    So far I have not observed what happens in the windows spool directory when a lock occurs.  But I have ensured that all printers are on the latest drivers.  The vast majority of the printers are various Kyocera models, and they all have both x64 and x86 drivers installed. 


    I don't know if this relates... but I was having a different problem where people would try to print and find the printer unavailable.  Right clicking on the print would show a message that the driver was not installed.  After several weeks of periodic reinstalling of printers and drivers, I finally determined that if every has "Manage Printer" permissions, the problem goes away.  I never knew why, but that was an acceptable solution.  It has been ever since then that this new problem has been occuring.  There is nothing in the event logs to coincide with this problem.

    Anyone recognize this or have any help to offer?  Thanks for any direction.

    Friday, December 03, 2010 2:43 PM


  • Hi,

    Thanks for the post.

    This issue will occur if some corrupt print files are stuck in the Spool folder.

    At this time, I have something need to confirm:

    1. Had any new printer been added or any printer driver been upgraded before this issue occurred?

    3. Does this issue occur in Clean Boot Mode?

    Clean Boot
    Let's disable all startup items and third party services when booting. This method will help us determine if this issue is caused by a loading program or service. Please perform the following steps:
    1. Click "Start", go to "Run", and type "msconfig" (without the quotation marks) in the open box to start the System Configuration Utility.
    2. Click the "Services" tab, check the "Hide All Microsoft Services" box and click "Disable All" (if it is not gray).
    3. Click the "Startup" tab, click "Disable All" and click "OK".
    4. Click "OK" to restart your computer to Selective Startup environment.
    5. When the "System Configuration Utility" window appears, please check the "Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts" box and click OK.
    6. Check whether or not the issue still appears in this environment.

    Note: Temporarily disabling the Startup Group only prevents the startup programs from loading at startup. This shouldn't affect the system or other programs. We may still manually run these programs later.


    In addition, please run cacls c:\windows\system32\spool command in the Command Prompt and post the result here.




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    Monday, December 06, 2010 7:53 AM