Hello AskPerf! I’m Craig Marcho, a Senior Support Escalation Engineer in the Microsoft Platforms Core Team. There has been an increase in cases lately with Windows 7 Clients and Windows Server 2008 R2 Print Servers where Clients will show print queues as being offline, while at the same time, other Clients can print just fine and the Print Server shows the queue as online. While there are a few things that can cause this behavior, all of our normal troubleshooting steps were not providing relief for this particular issue.

We found that this issue occurs because a restricted client thread that runs in the spooler detects an offline print server. When a client thread detects that a print server is offline, Windows registers a polling loop to check the status of the print server. After the polling loop is registered, Windows queries the print server periodically to check whether it is back online.

In rare cases, a client thread that has a restricted token detects that a print server is offline. In this situation, Windows registers the polling loop in the context of this thread. However, the thread does not have sufficient rights to query the print server. Therefore, the polling request fails. Restarting the spooler or the client machine will obviously kill this thread running under the restricted context and will query the server with the correct security.

The hotfix became available on July 11th and you may download it here:

A network printer is displayed as offline incorrectly on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

So if you have been experiencing this issue, or know someone who has, please spread the word that a fix is now available.

-Craig Marcho