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The Windows NT print spool shadow file format

, 2 Mar 2005 CPOL 81.7K 27
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Describes the (undocumented) layout of the .shd file.


The shd file (spool shadow file) is a small file that accompanies each spooled print job. It contains the information that is used when you query a print job (with the GetJob API) and it is kept in a separate file so that this operation doesn't interfere with the spooling and despooling of a print job. The format of this file is not documented and so it is liable to change between versions of the windows operating system.

Currently it is like this:

  • [INT32] SpoolShadowFileFormat

This can be one of:

Public Enum SpoolShadowFileFormats
  SHD_SIGNATURE_WIN2003 = &H4968
End Enum

Then for the newest two spool shadow file formats, we have:

  • [INT32] HeaderSize - The size of the fixed part of this record.
  • [INT16] Status - the job status flags.
  • [INT16] Padding - I'm not sure what (if anything) this is used for though it does often contain non zero values.
  • [INT32] JobId - the unique number of the print job, which is the JobId parameter in any call to GetJob() etc..
  • [INT32] Priority - A number between 1-99 which is the print job priority (higher is more priority).
  • [INT32] OffsetUserName - The offset of the user name that submitted the print job.
  • [INT32] Offset_NotifyName - Offset to the name of the user to notify when the job status changes.
  • [INT32] Offset_DocumentName - Offset to the document name.
  • [INT32] Offset_Port - Offset to the printer port name.
  • [INT32] Offset_PrinterName - Offset to the printer device name.
  • [INT32] Offset_DriverName - Offset to the printer driver name.
  • [INT32] Offset_DEVMODE - Offset to the DEVMODE structure in the file.
  • [INT32] Offset_PrintProcessorName - The offset in the file to the print processor name in the file.
  • [INT32] Offset_DataType - The offset in the file to the data type of the spool file...can be EMF or RAW.
  • [INT16] Year - The year of the date of submission of the print job.
  • [INT16] Month
  • [INT16] Day of week
  • [INT16] Day
  • [INT16] Hour
  • [INT16] Minute
  • [INT16] Second
  • [INT16] Millisecond
  • [INT32] StartTime - The start of the time window for this job.
  • [INT32] EndTime - The end of the time window for this job.
  • [INT32] SpoolFileSize - the size (in bytes) of the spool file.
  • [INT32] PageCount - and lastly the page count of the job.

Note that the dmCopies in this DEVMODE will hold the wrong value when the Microsoft Word multiple copies bug occurs.

Portions of this article based on These portions are subject to the GNU Free Documentation License and are copyright © 2003-2005 Free Software Foundation, Inc.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Duncan Edwards Jones
Software Developer (Senior)
Ireland Ireland
C# / SQL Server developer
Microsoft MVP 2006, 2007
Visual Basic .NET

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: On 64 bit platforms ... Pin
Duncan Edwards Jones24-May-07 7:43
memberDuncan Edwards Jones24-May-07 7:43 
GeneralIsn't this dangerous Pin
Tony Edgecombe13-Nov-05 0:13
memberTony Edgecombe13-Nov-05 0:13 
GeneralRe: Isn't this dangerous Pin
Duncan Edwards Jones14-Nov-05 4:39
memberDuncan Edwards Jones14-Nov-05 4:39 
GeneralHi, about how to parsing .spl files Pin
ankea12-Nov-05 15:57
memberankea12-Nov-05 15:57 
Hi, I want to get the corrent page count of MS-Word document. Through the Internet,I find your artices about this. Can you send me some working codes & documents. I also find your source code in, but it does't work to my spooled .spl file.(My printer is Hp Laser Jet 1012) when i open .spl file, some GDI error occured. and i don't know how to debug it, because they're all wrappered into dlls. could you send me a copy of dll source code ?

My E-mail addr:
GeneralRe: Hi, about how to parsing .spl files Pin
Duncan Edwards Jones14-Nov-05 4:45
memberDuncan Edwards Jones14-Nov-05 4:45 
QuestionHow to preview a Job in the Queue or Get the Contents of a Job in the Queue Pin
ankea1-Sep-05 22:45
memberankea1-Sep-05 22:45 
AnswerRe: How to preview a Job in the Queue or Get the Contents of a Job in the Queue Pin
Merrion1-Sep-05 23:01
memberMerrion1-Sep-05 23:01 
GeneralRe: How to preview a Job in the Queue or Get the Contents of a Job in the Queue Pin
ankea6-Sep-05 23:51
memberankea6-Sep-05 23:51 
GeneralRe: How to preview a Job in the Queue or Get the Contents of a Job in the Queue Pin
Merrion7-Sep-05 0:28
memberMerrion7-Sep-05 0:28 
GeneralIntercepting a print job Pin
AlexEvans2-Jul-05 16:44
memberAlexEvans2-Jul-05 16:44 

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