Printers

DIY: How to delete pesky printers

Jack Wallen offers a TechRepublic member advice about how to delete a printer when the traditional methods don't seem to work.

Here's a question I recently received from a TechRepublic member, interestingly, on the same day I had to deal with the very issue with a client. After you read my answer, please post any additional tips you have for the member in the discussion.

Q: I have a client who seems to have a corrupted printer driver. But when I delete the printer from Devices and Printers and re-add the printer, there is no change. How do I completely remove this printer from the machine so it can be successfully re-added? A: You need to delete the printer from the registry. As with any time you monkey around with the Windows registry, please make sure you make a backup before you do any sort of editing to this precious Windows resource.

After you make your backup, kill the print spooler from the Services Window and then navigate to (with the Registry Editor):

For Local printers:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\ Windows NT x86\ Drivers\Version-3\
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\

Delete all entries for the corrupt printer.

For Network printers:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections\
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers\ LanMan Print Services\Servers\\Printers\

If you see the printer listed here, click on it and delete it.

Once those entries are deleted, restart the print spooler, and you can re-add those printers.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

4 comments
acecducec
acecducec

Thank You This worked got about 4 hrs in this one thanks for the help After you make your backup, kill the print spooler from the Services Window and then navigate to (with the Registry Editor): For Local printers: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\ Windows NT x86\ Drivers\Version-3\ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\ Delete all entries for the corrupt printer. For Network printers: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections\ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers\ LanMan Print Services\Servers\\Printers\

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

You also want to manually remove all of the system files related to this driver. Sometimes a vendor will use similar file names for different products. You want to avoid version mismatches and myserious "helper" programs.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

...the method of deleting a printer as demonstrated in Office Space. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Or you can just open the Printers windows, click Printer, Server Properties, and delete them from the Drivers tab. Problems deleting a former network printer? Try disconnecting the network cable.

Editor's Picks