Taking extra steps to remove stubborn Windows 7 printer problems

Rob HutchinsonDesktop Support Specialist
Current strengths are Office 365 and Dell laptops: 7450, 7470, 7490, 5410/5420

How to solve seemingly unsolvable printer issues.

( for Windows 7 - 32 bit version) in the instructions below, change the folder:
C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64 to this folder: C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\W32X86 )
( for Windows XP, see: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Peripherals/Printers_Scanners/A_1998-Taking-extra-steps-to-remove-stubborn-Windows-XP-printer-problems.html )

Techs sometimes run into printing issues where all the normal printer troubleshooting steps do not seem to work. This article shows how to take one extra step beyond the normal steps needed to fix problem printers.

A tech can first remove any stuck print jobs waiting in the printer's print queue -- the Print Spooler service may have to be stopped and restarted to remove these old print jobs. The tech will then be able delete the printer by right-clicking on it and choosing the remove device menu option...then the printer can be reinstalled the normal way.

Tech note:
To properly remove a printer driver from the workstation open the Devices and Printers box; delete the problem printer as decribed above; then press the Windows key + r to bring the run command prompt and type in “printmanagement.msc” and click OK. From the Print Management box, click the Drivers folder to see the list of installed printer drivers, highlight the printer driver or drivers you want to delete and click the Action menu option choosing Remove Driver Package…( you can also reach this menu option by right-clicking the drivers after highlighting them).

If the printer driver package cannot be removed this way (make sure the logged in account is a computer Administrator account equivalent) then try stopping and restarting the Print Spooler service. After doing this try removing the printer driver package again (sometimes it requires a reboot to remove these printer drivers).

Now, if the previous steps do not resolve the printing issue; there is still something else to try. First, re-perform the previous removal steps, then perform these additional steps:

Look in the following folder:

In this folder are drivers from some or all of the computer's printers including printer drivers for Adobe Acrobat etc. This is the trick: only remove the drivers for the printer causing problems.

To do this:
Create a temp folder and move everything out of this folder to this temp folder.
The instructions are to move the contents of the C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64
folder. (Do not move this actual folder, i.e., do not move the x64 folder. The Print Spooler service might need to be stopped and restarted—Windows 7 will likely force you to boot into safe mode to move them--to get the files moved into the temp folder). Important: It is necessary to move these folders/files--'not' copy as you need to retain the original folder/file permissions.
Here's the trick: after moving these files to this temp folder (then booting back into normal mode if you previously needed to boot into safe mode) reinstall the printer driver of the printer having problems.

After reinstalling this printer driver, move everything from the temp folder back into the
"C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64" folder -- EXCEPT, do NOT choose to overwrite any existing files. What this step does is to make sure that the problem printer's new files are retained, and all the other existing old printer files( for your other printers, Adobe Acrobat, etc) get returned to their original location.

Addional info on moving printer files from the temp folder:
Some subdirectories of these files, may have to have the files visually verified to make sure all the same original files of the other printers get returned to the original location located at C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64( again not overwriting any files if Windows already reinstalled them). 

Again, the key thing to remember, is to put back all the files that were there before, but 'do not' overwrite any of the new installed printer files.

Hope this info helps!
Rob HutchinsonDesktop Support Specialist
Current strengths are Office 365 and Dell laptops: 7450, 7470, 7490, 5410/5420

Comments (0)

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.