General Printing Troubleshooting

There are many troubleshooting techniques that are useful no matter which spooler you are using. These techniques enable you to understand the printing environment and the general points of failure. When you know these pieces of data, you can use the troubleshooting tools specific to each spooler to figure out what is causing the failure.

Mapping the Spooling Environment

This technique might be the least often used, but in many cases, it can be the most useful. Figure 11-11 shows an example of a map. It is best to have a map completed before printing problems occur so that you can refer to it when troubleshooting.

Figure 11-11. An example of mapping the spooling environment

Figure 11-11 shows multiple types of printers and their connection methods. Keep in mind that a printer that might be local to one system could also be configured as a remote printer on another system. You must know not only the absolute location of a device but also its relationship to other devices. It is best to have this map completed and maintained before you have printing problems because it enables you to immediately understand the host/printer relationships instead of having to figure them out under duress. If you are not sure about the specifics of a printer's configuration (such as an IP address), you can always go to the printer and attempt to print a test or configuration page from the printer's front panel.


The common breakpoints for printing are listed here:

  1. Can other systems print to the printer?

  2. Can you print to the printer by bypassing the spooler?

  3. What do you find when you put the spooler in verbose or debug mode and look at log file entries?

  4. What is the scope of the problem?

    1. Can't print to one printer?

    2. Can't print to several printers?

      1. Cannot print to a specific class or type?

      2. Cannot print to printers in a specific location?

      3. Cannot print to printers with a network device or server in common?

      4. Cannot print to all printers?

The answers to these questions will direct you to the area you will need to troubleshoot further.

Linux Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users
Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups
ISBN: 131855158
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 129
Authors: Joe Kissell

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