"Print processor does not exist" when installing printer

My computer was working fine (meaning it needed to be rebooted a few times a week). After one reboot, I tried to print a document, but the computer told me I needed to install a printer. This surprised me, as I was sure that I had a printer installed. I proceeded to install the printer, but the auto-detect didn't work. I tried manual installation, but when I clicked on "Finish", I received the following error message: "Unable to install. Print processor does not exist." Neither the help system, not MS Knowledge Base could offer any clue as to what was going on. I tried some Windows NT solutions, but they were ineffective, as I have Windows XP. How did this start, and how can I fix it? (The last time the computer rebooted before this problem started happening, it went through a VERY long disk consistency check [I estimate 1-2 hours, or more; I went to sleep])

System Specs (all hardware fully updated):
Windows XP (fully updated)
Canon S400 printer
Gigabyte GA-7VAX mobo
AMD XP 1900+
512MB PC2700 RAM
GeForce FX 5200
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This one is for NT but it may help:

First uninstall the printer and its driver.

Go to control panel-printers-file-server properties-drivers- select the driver and click on remove.

After that reboot the pc and reinstall the printer with the latest drivers for XP.

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He won't be able to uninstall printer since the spooler seems to have died.
Check this:
start->control panel->performance & maintenance->administration tools->services

Check to see if you find a service called 'print spooler', is it running, is it on automatic ?
If not, but it's there try to start it and set it to automatic.
If the service is there but won't start, this might help:

If the service isn't there you need to install it.
Only way I know how you could do this is by trying to do a repair install of XP.

ThaPyngwynAuthor Commented:
jvuz was the closest. Heskyttberg was right about me not being able to uninstall the printer, as there was nothing there to uninstall, and trying to uninstall/reinstall the driver kept giving me the same result as before. At first...

I looked in the registry to see about the whole winprint.dll thing. Well, there is no winprint.dll for XP, but localspl.dll. That existed both in the registry and in its proper folder. However, there was another, equivalent entry for my Canon printer, but it referenced a file that didn't exist. Aha! I thought. That's the problem! (it wasn't) So I dug through mounds of junk to find my Canon CD and planned to expand the missing file from that CD. But it wasn't there. I then attempted to simply reinstall the drivers through the CD's Setup program. Didn't work. I then noticed a folder entitled "Win 2000". Deep within that folder, I found another setup program that just installed the drivers for my printer without asking Windows if the printer existed. After the mandatory restart, voila! The printer worked, though not immediately (the LED indicator was going crazy; it said I had a paper jam! with no paper!). That missing file in the registry still remains missing though, and I'm still baffled, as there is no explanation as to why this began in the first place.
This happened to me in 2000 Pro with a and i followed the steps from jvuz and it worked like a charm.   Normally we would just double click on the printer in My Network Places and the OS would install the printer with the correct driver.  We deleted it as suggested below and installed the most up to date driver and the error went away!!

First uninstall the printer and its driver.
Go to control panel-printers-file-server properties-drivers- select the driver and click on remove.
After that reboot the pc and reinstall the printer with the latest drivers for 2000.

thanks again jvuz
Andreas GieryicComputer Networking, OwnerCommented:
I installed a brand new HP 3700DTN printer on a W2K Server (print cluster)
While attempting to install, I received the following error.
"Unable to install Printer. The print processor does not exist"

After researching, there were several recommended possible fixes but all required removing, reinstalling drivers, stop and starting the spooler and/or restarting the server.
The fix I attempted and appeared to work was to install the new printer using Microsoft's built-in "Generic Text" driver. After it installed the printer successfully, I then updated the driver to the required and correct driver. It tested fine.
Just wanted to chime in that agieryic's solution worked for me, too, on Windows Server 2003.

Select "Replace existing drivers" rather than "Keep existing drivers" will also do the trick.

I had this same exact problem on my Windows 2000 box trying to install a PostScript driver for an HP LaserJet 9000 printer.  "Unable to install. Print processor does not exist."

The driver I had just downloaded was listed on HP's site as being compatible with WIN2K.  I checked for HP stuff on the web and I found a forum article that had a final entry from an HP engineer saying that the solution that worked was to install the printer using the Generic Text Driver and then to go back in after and change it to the driver that you want.  Work like a charm...  Easy too...

agieryic's solution also worked for me, just replaced the drivers vs. keeping the same one's, I'm migrating about 20 printers off a terminal server to a dedicated PDC / Printer Server.
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