Massive handle leak in spoolsv.exe -- on all computers


Charles Lavin

Hi --

I've been trying to get to the bottom of a problem with a Windows XP Pro
machine that repeatedly runs out of resources, seemingly without rhyme or
reason. I was able to track the problem to a spoolsv.exe process that
continually increases its handle count until the machine becomes inoperable.

The PCs in the office are all part of an SBS 2003 domain.

Using Process Explorer, I was able to zero in on the problematic handles:

Type: Token
Handle: <varies>
Access: 0x00000008
Object Address: 0xE96E9408

I can find hundreds if not thousands of these stacked in there, depending on
how long the spooler service has been running. If I restart the spooler
service, all these handles are cleared out -- and slowly start to build up

I just confirmed that there are several Windows XP PCs that are having
virtually identical problems with spoolsv.exe. But apparently this one PC
I've been zeroing in on suffers the most with this because it's the most
heavily used PC in the office.

But now I also confirmed that this problem is happening on the SBS 2003
(SP2) box. I checked Task Manager and found spoolsv.exe hogging 50,549
handles. When I ran Process Explorer on the server, I found 50,312 identical

Type: Token
Handle: <varies>
Access: 0x00000008
Object Address: 0xE1F6ABD8

When I restarted the print spooler on the SBS box (by which time the handle
count had increased to 51,106), the handle count dropped to the mid-100s ...
but started creeping upwards almost immediately. The handle count on the
server increments at a faster clip than on the PCs.

It's now obvious that this is not just a PC problem. Whatever this is is
affecting the entire network. And it seems to have something to do with

How do I get to the bottom of this?


Mark Lasky

I had a similar problem as this a few months back. It turned out to be the
HP TCP/IP printer port. When an HP printer was setup on the server the IT
person used the HP port instead of the Microsfot IP port when he installed
the printer. That HP port was the issue. As soon as the port was removed
and replaced with the MS TCP/IP port all memory and resource issues were

Charles Lavin

Oh goody ... This installation has four HP network printers, including a
networked All-in-One ...

Thanks for the info!


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