[Samba] Printing problems with NT/Samba

Mark Dixon ccaamad at ucl.ac.uk
Wed Oct 30 09:57:00 GMT 2002


This is a message requesting help for the following problem:

Printing Word 97 documents, stored on a Samba server, on an NT4 system to
an LPD print queue fails under certain well-defined conditions, creating
an empty file called 'Ne<number>:' (e.g. 'Ne120:'). The problem appears to
be easily reproducable, as long as you have more than 99 print queues on
your NT system.


Running Samba 2.2.6 on Slackware 8.0 with a 2.4.19 linux kernel. The
Microsoft operating system attempting to print is NT4 Terminal Server
Edition. Approximately 400 remote LPD network print queues are installed
on NT4.

Looking back at the samba mailing list archives, it appears to be a
continuation of the problems with Samba 2.0.x discussed in the references
I've appended at the end of this email. Which is why I sent this message
to this list. If you feel I should have sent this message to another list,
please let me know.

Detailed description of problem:

(in the following, the document involved is a simple 'hello world'
document, prepared using Word 97. The 'logical port names' mentioned are
those defined in the registry, at location
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Devices)

Scenario (a): Double-clicking on a Word document served by Samba (loads
file into Word 97), then attempting to print to a queue with a logical
port name greater than Ne99: (e.g. Ne100:) results in an empty file being
created in that directory with the same name as the port, while Word

Scenario (b): Double-clicking on a Word document served by Samba (loads
file into Word 97), then attempting to print to a queue with a logical
port name lower than Ne100: (e.g. Ne50:) results in a normal print job.

Scenario (c): Double-clicking on a Word 97 shortcut from the desktop and
then using the File->Open dialog to open the same file served by Samba,
then attempting to print to a queue with a logical port name greater than
Ne99: results in a normal print job.

I presume that Word 97 attempts to create a file of the same name as the
port being printed to, in the current working directory, and printing only
proceeds if it cannot create it. In scenarios (a) and (b), the working
directory is served by Samba. In scenario (c), the working directory is
served from NTFS. Could it be that Samba appears to realise that, say,
'Ne12:' is an invalid/special filename but not for, say, 'Ne123:'?

Although the workaround mentioned in the references at the bottom of this
email (adding a 'veto files' directive to smb.conf) still appears to work
with 2.2.x, I'm sending this message because the original problem appears
to be half-fixed. That is, in 2.2.x, print queues associated with the
ports 'Ne01:' through to 'Ne99:' work correctly, but those associated with
'Ne100:' and above do not.

I've attempted to look in the Samba sources for evidence of the half-fix,
but I admit defeat. In case anyone wants a look, I've got multiple
annotated level 10 debug listings for scenarios (a) and (b) and my
smb.conf at:


To my naive eyes, it looks like Samba is performing the following
operations in response to me hitting the print button:

Scenario (a): SMBnttrans -> SMBnttrans -> SMBntcreateX -> SMBclose ->
              SMBnttrans -> SMBnttrans -> SMBntcreateX -> SMBtrans2 ->
              SMBfindclose -> SMBtrans2 ->SMBntcreateX -> SMBntcreateX ->

Scenario (b): SMBnttrans -> SMBtrans2

Does this mean anything to anyone? Any helpful pointers on what I can try
next to get to the bottom of this?

Thanks for reading this rather long email,

Mark Dixon                Email    : m.dixon at ucl.ac.uk
Systems Integration       Tel (int): 34371
Information Systems       Tel (ext): 020 7679 4371
University College London, UK

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Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 08:39:17 -0500
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