Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 979602 - Last Review: May 2, 2014 - Revision: 7.0


When you try to connect to a printer by using an alias (CNAME) resource record for a print server that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 or for a client computer that is running Windows 7 and that hosts a printer, you receive the following error message:

Windows couldn't connect to the printer. Check the printer name and try again. If this is a network printer, make sure that the printer is turned on, and that the printer address is correct.

Additionally, the following will be seen in a Network Monitor trace:
[client request]
34 4.421875  {MSRPC:9, SMB2:8, TCP:2, IPv4:1} IP addressIP address Winspool Winspool:RpcOpenPrinterEx Request, Printer = \\printsvr\Microsoft XPS Document Writer
[server response]
37 4.843750  {MSRPC:9, SMB2:8, TCP:2, IPv4:1} IP addressIP address Winspool Winspool:RpcOpenPrinterEx Response, Status = ERROR_INVALID_PRINTER_NAME


This issue can occur because of optimization changes to the spooler code for non-clustered computers. When the operating system loads, the Print Spooler service loads the local name of the computer and the other local names that are in the DNS cache. The Print Spooler service uses the local names to service requests. Therefore, the service must gain access to the network and then query for names such as an alias (CNAME) resource record. This behavior decreases the performance of the service.


To work around this issue, use the following command to add a registry key on the print server that is running Windows 2008 Server R2 and that is being accessed by an alias (CNAME) resource record:
reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print /v DnsOnWire /t REG_DWORD /d 1


  • Some 3rd party DNS Providers require the use of QWord. Please remove the DWord if it exists.
  • This registry key decreases performance. Therefore, we recommend that you add this registry key on only the print servers that must be accessed by an alias (CNAME) resource record. After modifying the registry entry, please restart the Print Spooler service for the entry to take effect.

More information

Load balancing printers by using a Network Load Balancing (NLB) technology or the Domain Name System (DNS) round robin feature is not supported. The workaround that is mentioned in this article is only for the scenario where one print server that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 is accessed by an alias (CNAME) resource record that refers to only that one server.
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