My users say that they aren’t seeing their print jobs available to release. When I look in the PaperCut logs I also see a message that the print jobs “have been temporarily hidden from the Print Release screen. Why does this happen and how do fix it?
The full message may look something like this in the Application Log or Dashboard: Warning: Print Provider “printsrv01|184.108.40.206”: Print job “Document-1.pdf” printed by “user1” is offline and has been temporarily hidden from the Print Release screen.
Why would print jobs be ‘Temporarily Hidden’?
PaperCut can be configured to hold print jobs until users ‘release’ them to copiers. There is an important PaperCut component called the Print Provider (which resides on Secondary Servers, Site Servers, and the Direct Print Monitor) which tracks and holds print jobs. However if this component is offline or unable to communicate with the PaperCut Primary Application service those print jobs will be deliberately hidden from the user when they sign into a Release Station or copier. This behavior was introduced in PaperCut v18.1.1 to enhance Secure Print Release and prevents a rare scenario where documents could be printed after the user walks away from the copier. When connectivity is restored and the Print Provider can reach the Primary Application server, then those print jobs will be visible to users when they attempt to release jobs.
In practice, this error message has turned into a red flag that helps us identify when something isn’t working correctly. Below are a few scenarios we’ve seen that can cause jobs to be hidden.
The Print Spooler or Print Provider service was just restarted
These messages are totally normal to see if you restart the Windows Print Spooler or PaperCut Print Provider service, and there is no need to worry. However, if the print jobs don’t appear back online after several minutes or if this message pops up even when these services aren’t being restarted then something could be wrong and you should continue reading.
The Print Provider service is not running
First check to make sure the Print Provider service is running on the affected server. Below are the steps you would follow on a Windows machine running the Print Provider. See our article on Stopping and Starting PaperCut Services to learn how to do this on other operating systems.
There are two common reasons why this service is not running. One is that the Windows Print Spooler Service was stopped and started for troubleshooting, this also stops the PaperCut Print Provider Service which is dependent on the Windows Print Spooler. The other reason is that the PaperCut Print Provider Service has been configured to run as a Service Account, but this account has been disabled or the password expired. If this is the case, you will see a telling error message when you try to start the service.
- Log onto the affected Secondary Server, Site Server, or client workstation running the Direct Print Monitor.
- Click on the Start button, type services.msc, then hit enter.
- Find the PaperCut Print Provider service and ensure this is started by right-clicking on the service and choose Start.
- Ensure the service starts correctly and investigate any Windows errors as needed.
The Print Provider cannot contact the Primary Application Server
We see this message when the PaperCut Print Provider cannot contact the primary PaperCut Application Server Service. This could happen if the PaperCut server hostname and IP has changed, or if ports 9191 or 9192 have been blocked on the firewall. To troubleshoot, confirm that the Print Provider is configured to point to the correct server hostname, and that the server is accessible on the network over port 9191.
- Log into the affected Secondary Server, Site Server, or client workstation running the Direct Print Monitor.
- Browse to the print-provider.conf file, which is typically located in <application-directory>\providers\print\<operating system>\print-provider.conf. For example, on a 64-bit Windows server running PaperCut MF the path would be C:\Program Files\PaperCut MF\Providers\Print\Win\print-provider.conf.
- Open this file with a plain text editor like TextEdit or Notepad++ as Administrator.
- Look for the line starting with ApplicationServer= and confirm the correct hostname or IP address is listed for your PaperCut Primary Application server. If this is incorrect you will need to make changes as needed, save the file, and restart the server for the changes to apply.
- Confirm you are able to reach the web interface of the PaperCut server over the network from this remote server or workstation. The easiest way to test this is to open a web browser and try navigating to http://<ApplicationServer>:9191.
The Print Provider’s timers are lapsing
For this feature there are few key Config Keys that we rely on in order to judge whether we should hide a print job from a user. These are found in Options → Actions: Config Editor (Advanced):
You should never need to deter from these default values found in the Config Editor. The values between one another are interlinked, if one is changed it can have an unexpected effect on another timer Config Key for this feature. If previously recommended to change these values by the PaperCut Support Team, as of v19.2.1, we would recommend to revert them to the default values shown above.
For example, the print-job.offline-if-no-contact-seconds is set to 90 seconds by default. The long polling period instructed by the Application Server is set to 80 seconds is not configurable. So, if print-job.offline-if-no-contact-seconds key is set to 80 seconds or lower, this would cause hidden print jobs.
Another way that these timers can lapse is simply by poor network connectivity or poor performance of machines where the Print Provider is installed. Another common scenario is peak periods of print job saturation in your print environment.
A simple and easy way to begin checking this in a Windows environment isto check your CPU and RAM usage in Task Manager. Equally making sure that you have enough available space on your HDDs and checking your machine’s specification is in line with our Server Sizing Guide.
The Print Provider service is running… into trouble
Some customers running specific versions of PaperCut might see this error because the print Provider is encountering trouble, such as in 18.2.4, 18.3.6, or 19.1.4. Please upgrade PaperCut if you are running one of these versions.
Check to see whether your version of PaperCut is mentioned on the Known Issues page. It’s possible that your issue has already been reported and resolved. Please feel free to contact PaperCut Support if you are unsure.
Is this a resource or performance issue?
If you’ve ruled out all of the above scenarios, it possible this could be happening because the print server is running into a performance issue because of inadequate resources, which is causing it to simply act slow. When this happens the Print Provider and PaperCut server are unable to communicate with each other in a timely manner, which can trigger this error. If you’ve ruled out all other causes, be sure to check the other symptoms listed in the article Troubleshooting Server Performance Issues to see if this is a possible cause.
Can this behavior be disabled?
This feature cannot be disabled. If it could be disabled, the situation would be even worse for the user. To understand why, imagine this scenario with and without this feature…
With this feature: the user submits a job, disconnects thier computer from the network, and tries to release the job. PaperCut sees that the Print Provider on the user’s workstation is not online and hides the job. It’s frustrating, but there’s a good reason why.
Without this feature: the user submits a job, disconnects thier computer from the network, and tries to release the job. PaperCut lets the user release the job, but thier computer is offline so nothing prints out. Later they reconnect to the network, the Print Provider releases the job, and now it prints out while the user is nowhere near the copier. This could result in a frustrated user whose print job never printed but still got charged, wasted paper, and an accidental data breach.