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Ten Steps How to Resolve Printer Driver Installation Problems

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If you are having problems installing printer drivers, or if documents repeatedly get stuck in the print queue even after re-installing the printer drivers, then follow these steps to solve the problems. Please note that the steps are shown both for solving problems on Windows XP 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit computers; but they may also work for Windows 7/Vista 32-bit or 64-bit systems.

1.

Delete documents stuck in the print queue, then delete the printer itself (you may need to be logged on as administrator to either clear the print queue or delete the printers).  

2.

If you cannot delete documents in the print queue or delete the installed printers, even when logged on with admin privileges, then follow these steps:
a) Stop the print spooler: Click start, click on Run (for Windows 7 just start typing in the box that opens when you click the start orb). Type Services.msc then press “enter”. In the services window look for and right click on the print spooler, and select stop. Leave services window open, you can minimize it if you want because you will need to go back into printer spooler services again.
b) Open up Windows Explorer and type the following in the location bar: &windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS and delete everything in this folder. Caution: Do not delete the PRINTERS folder; just delete the files inside the folder.
c) Restart the print spooler: Click start, click on Run (for Windows 7 just start typing in the box that opens when you click the start orb) Type Services.msc then press “enter”. In the services window look for and right click on the print spooler, and select start. Just minimize the services window for now.
A second method to manually stop and restart the spooler service and clear the print queue:
a) Click on the Start icon (orb), click Run, type CMD, and then click OK to display the command window.
b) Type net stop spooler, and then press the <Enter> key.
c) Type sc config spooler depend= RPCSS start= Auto, then press the <Enter> key. The spaces between = and RPCSS and = and Auto are important. Without these spaces, this command will fail. Minimize the CMD window as we need to go back to it again.
d) Go to the following directory: C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS. Delete all the files in this folder (don’t delete the folder itself). This process will clear the print queues.
e) Go back to the CMD window that you have minimized before and type net start spooler, and then press the <Enter> key. Exit out of the CMD window by typing exit or click on the red X in the upper right corner of the DOS screen.
f) Restart the computer.

3.

After deleting the troubled printers remove the printer drivers by following these steps (you need administrative rights to remove the printer drivers):

Windows XP:
a) Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.
b) On the File menu, click Server Properties.
c) On the Drivers tab, under Installed printer drivers, click the driver you want to remove, and then click Remove. (Remove the printer drivers giving you problems, i.e. if a HP printer is giving you problems you will remove all the HP drivers in the list).

Vista or Windows 7:
a) Click the start Orb, and click Devices and Printers.
b) Click on one of the installed printers (it does not matter which one at this point). When you click on one of the printers a new group of menus will pop up on the same menu line of “add a printer”.
c) Click on Printer Server Properties menu.
d) Click on the Drivers tab, then under Installed printer drivers, click on the driver(s) you want to remove, and then click Remove, then click ok (remove the printer drivers giving you problems, i.e. if a HP printer is giving you problems you will remove all the HP drivers in the list).

4.

Stop the print spooler: by going back into the services, right click on the print spooler, and select stop. See above how to get into the services window.

5.

Remove the following registry entries
Click Start, then click Run on Windows XP machines or just start typing. Type Regedit  
Win XP 32 bit systems
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CURRENTCONTROLSET/CONTROL/PRINT/ENVIRONMENT/ Windows NT  X86 / Drivers  / version-3 / (delete entries for your model of printer)

Windows 7 64 bit choose Windows  x64 instead of Windows NT X86 in the above pathway.
Other registry entries you may delete as well.
HKLM/Sys /CurrentControlSet  / Control / Print / Printers / (delete entries for your model of printer)
HK_Users / .Default  / Software  / (look for your manufacturer of the printer and delete entries)
HKLM /Software  / (look for your manufacturer of the printer and delete entries)
Exit out of the regedit application after deleting the registry entries.

6.

Restart the computer.

7.

Rebooting the computer should have already restarted the print spooler, but you can check the print spooler in the services to ensure that it has restarted.  

8.

To ensure that everything related to the failed printer driver is gone; search for the folder on the “c” drive where the printer drivers were installed. (i.e. there may be a HP or Dell driver folder in the root of the C: drive where the printer application installed the driver files) Delete the whole folder.

9.

You can then download the manufacturer’s drivers for the printer you want to install, making sure the driver you chose to download is for the correct Windows operating system that you have installed on your computer.

10.

When you are installing a printer locally by means of a USB cable, there is a correct and incorrect way to install the drivers. Follow the steps given by the manufacturer of the printer.
a) HP Printers always leave the USB cable from the printer unplugged from the computer, start the installation of the software, then when prompted plug in the USB cable and then the software will continue to install.
b) Dell Printers always plug in the USB cable from the printer into the computer before you start installing the software. Ignore the popup wizard if it pops up telling you it found new hardware; just continue installing the Dell printer drivers.
c) Other brand printers may request the USB cable to be plugged in before or after you have initiate the printer driver install. You need to follow the directions given by the manufacturer.
If installing a printer on a network via the network port, you will need to find out the IP address that the network has given to the printer before you can install the printer drivers. The network cable must therefore be already plugged into the printer before you install the printer drivers. On the printers that have an LCD display you can select a menu option so you can print out the network settings page that will show the IP address is that was issued to the printer. If the printer does not have a LCD display you may have to press a combination of buttons on the printer or you may need to hold down the button for a few seconds before it will print out the network settings page.
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Thanks for being gracious to me for my errors. You did a great job of editing the article, I think it is ready for submission. Thanks again for making it look more professional.
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