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.)