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Print Spooler Keeps Crashing - Vista

On a Vista PC, the printer spooler keeps crashing.  
Tried quite a few different things, uninstalling printer drivers etc and the entries in the registry but it still keeps crashing.  
I can go in and start it but when I go to the Printers menu to try and add a printer or look at the Server Properties I just get an error saying that the Print Spool Service is not runng as it has crashed again.  
Installed SP1 but no joy either and there is no old System Restore points to try restoring it to.
Any idea's what I can try?
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harris9999
Asked:
harris9999
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3 Solutions
 
LeeTutorretiredCommented:
To quote from the link given below:

If the Print Spooler service fails when printing, when Windows starts or it can not be restarted, the usual reason is that one or more printer drivers is defective.

This page has some very good advice on how to clean up installed printer drivers so that you can reinstall the printer and hopefully correct your problem:

http://members.shaw.ca/bsanders/CleanPrinterDrivers.htm

The above page is written for XP, but may still have relevance for Vista too.
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harris9999Author Commented:
Been through that as before.
Only point I can't so is go to Server Properties as the Spooler Keeps crashing.
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GeisrudSystems AdministratorCommented:
Any information on the printer/drivers?

I had printer spooler crashing on my vista box when I was trying to print to a network printer using RPCS drivers.  Once I installed PCL drivers all was better.
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harris9999Author Commented:
It's a Epson Stylus Photo R 300.
Connected by USB.
NOt sur what drivers were on it but I think they are all removed using methods like above.
When I go into Printers now there is nothing there.  But if I click on Add Printer or Server Properties it says can't open as the printer Spooler is not runnign.  When I start it again in services and then try to add printer again I get that error again.
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GeisrudSystems AdministratorCommented:
Uninstall all your printers.  Then:

In your printers window, click File > Server Properties > Drivers tab

Remove all the drivers from here.  One of these could be corrupt and causing the funk.
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harris9999Author Commented:
I can't get into Server Properties.  
It says Can't open as printer spooler service is not running.
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GeisrudSystems AdministratorCommented:
Try in safe mode
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Gregg DesElmsCommented:
How big is the drive C: partition?  And how much of it is now free?
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harris9999Author Commented:
C: is the full size and loads free.
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Gregg DesElmsCommented:
That's not what I asked (nor, actually, do I really understand the answer in any case).

How big is the C: partition... in gigabytes?

And how much of those gigabytes are free (unused)... that number also stated in gigabytes.

For example, if it's a 250 GB drive; and if 15 GB is devoted to the recovery partition (usually Drive D:), then that would, theoretically, mean that Drive C: should be 250 - 15 = 235 GB; and of that 235 GB, Windows and all programs and data will use-up a bunch, leaving a certain number of gigabytes (let's say, just for example's sake, 130GB) free.  (Your actual numbers would be different, of course.)

So, then... I need to know the size (in gigabytes) of Drive C:...

...and then I also need to know how many of those gigabytes on Drive C: are free and open and not currently being used.

The reason I ask is because the print spooler uses those free gigabytes... and variably adjusts itself larger and smaller, using-up available free disk space, dynamically, as it needs it while it's printing; and then it releases it after printing is done.  If the disk space that the spooler normally requires is just too small for it to do its job, then it can crash.  Or if the disk space used by the spooler got corrupted at some point along the way, and so the spooler gets a little confused whenever it temporarily expands large enough to where it needs said disk space, then it can crash.

I'm not saying that that's the problem... but only a fool woudn't want to make sure that that's not it as part of troubleshooting.

So, then... what's the size of the C: partition; and how much of it is free (as in "unused" or "available")?
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harris9999Author Commented:
Sorry, I didn't know the spooler works that way.  
Will have to check the size etc.  
Its a friends computer so can't see just at the minute.  

If what you said is causing the trouble how can it be resolved?
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Gregg DesElmsCommented:
By freeing-up more disk space on Drive C:  Probably lots more.

See, the thing is, that darned spooler is a disk hog.  I've seen graphical manipulation programs (like PhotoShop, for example, just to name one... or maybe PaintShop Pro... whatever) go to print a... oh... let's say it's a photo file that, as it sits on the hard drive, is only 2 MB in physical size; and because of its compression, opens-up to maybe 6 MB is RAM whenever it's open in a graphical viewing or manipulation program... I've seen programs go to print 2 physical MB files (6 MB uncompressed and opened) and take-up a gigabyte or more of spooler space when printing.

So, therefore, my point is, you'd be amazed... seriously, seriously amazed... how much darned space that spooler can require.  I once printed-out a 280-page (not even 20MB in physical size on the disk) Microsoft Publisher document on a machine with 28 GB of free space on Drive C:... and for however long it took to print out, Windows Explorer temporarily showed something like 2 GB free.  Then as soon as the print job finished, all 28 GB of free space showed back up again in Windows Explorer.

So that's the only reason I brought it up.  I'm not saying that this is what's wrong.  If I had a gun to my head, I might suggest that it's probably something else.  But I'm just saying that it's something worth looking at... what the heck... just in case.
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Gregg DesElmsCommented:
Oh, yeah... I forgot to pursue the "freeing-up" part.

Make sure that Drive C: isn't full of music or video files.  They can be huge.  If it's a notebook that's as new as only 2007, it might have a little 160 GB hard drive... which, I don't know about you, but the free space on which (after Vista itself and all other program and data files)I can fill-up with downloaded movies and MP3 music files in a single weekend if I try hard enough!  On such machines, there's nothing like a good external, USB-connected drive onto which all those music and/or movie (or they could be big graphic files, if he's into that) can be moved/archived so that primary disk space on C: can be recovered.

Or, if he's like me, he's got *WAY* too many programs installed.  I love to try out stuff... mostly open-source and freeware... which means that there's no incentive for me to remove them after I've installed them because they never time-out.  I've go so many programs installed on one of my Vista notebooks that I had to triple the size of the icon cache so that Vista could properly display and handle all the desktop and start menu icons.  It's ridiculous!  And it's nobody's fault but mine.  I'll bet if I uninstalled everything that I've tried and fiddled with for a while just to see how it worked, but then never looked at again, I could free-up 50 GB or more on that notebook's 250GB drive!

That's the sort of thing you have to do to free-up disk space.  Figure out what you don't need and remove it; and then figure out what it would be okay to keep on an external drive and then archive it.

There are other reasons why free hard dirve space disappears so fast in Vista, too... but there's no point in discussing any of those until one first makes sure that one is being the best possible steward that one can be with whatever free disk space there is on Drive C: by just making sure to archive as much data stuff off onto external drives as possible; and only installing programs which one will actually use.

Also, keeping-up with temporary files and folders, and routinely deleting them off the hard drive; and also letting a utility routinely prune the registry... those are important too.  For example, though I consider it to be kind of a lightweight utility in its class, the venerable "CCleaner" is a worthwhile thing to use a time or two or three per month.  In my case, I've seen CCleaner, between its regular "Cleaner" function, and its "Registry" function, clear 300 MB from my hard drive.  That's a third of a gigabyte, right there!

Duplicate files is another disk space waster.  It's really easy to accumulate a lot of dupes... especially if one is into versioning.

Also... and this is an often-overlooked one:  Do you (or does your friend) empty his recycle bin once in a while?  (And CCleaner can be configured to include that... but I never let it just in case I might need something I"ve put there.  I always empty the recycle bin manually... but that's just me)  I have a client who didn't empty her recycle bin... well... ever!  And she does graphic stuff on her machine... which means she deals in big files.  She had something like 60 GB of stuff in her recycle bin.  It was unbelievable!  It can really accumulate if one's not careful.

Here's a Google search that might help:  http://tinyurl.com/d666c8
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harris9999Author Commented:
Hi, Thanks for all the info.  Interesting stuff which I never knew much of.  
I just originally never thought it could be due to hard drive space.  But will get a look.  
It's a family with kids with no intensive programs on it I would think.  
Main use for homework, internet email etc.  But must check.  I think I seen Limewire on it so could be full of stuff.
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Gregg DesElmsCommented:
You wrote:  "I think I seen Limewire on it so could be full of stuff."

And we have a winner!  [grin]

Well... maybe not.  Just a guess.  But, if so, then someone's probably been downloading music and/or movies.  Each movie tends to be 700MB... that's two thirds of a gigabyte.  And MP3s can be various sizes, depending on their bit depth.... some of them 1, 2 or 3 MB in size, per song... or larger.  If they're direct-ripped from a CD, and not simultaneously converted to MP3, then they're still in .WAV format... which is maybe ten times larger, per song, than high-grade MP3s.

And, same with movies:  If they're ripped from a DVD, but not simultaneously converted/compressed to smaller file formats of the type usually downloadable via the bit torrent system (which, like I said, tends to be maybe 700MB per movie, give or take), then said DVD rips are quite likely to be from 4 to 8 GB in physical size on the hard drive... per movie.  Do ten of those and you've eaten-up 40 to 80 GB... which is one half of a 160 GB drive C:... which is all the bigger most laptops came with as recently as a couple years ago (larger 250GB and 320GB... and now even 500GB drives were not common in laptops as recently as 2007 like theyare now).

Again, disk space may not be it.  Probably isn't.  But it's sure worth eliminating, just to be thorough.

And don't let my having brought it up distract you from pursuing what other posters here have written about.  Keep going.  Follow all leads.
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harris9999Author Commented:
I'll check that one out.  Not sure if they'd be up to the downloading moves or that yet but will look into it.  
It's been doing my head in.  
Tried most of the options above before, by searching through google and trying millions of different things.  Will give that cc cleaner a run as well.  

I'm getting to stage where it might just bve easier to restore it to original condition.  Or maybe startup repair might help.  
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harris9999Author Commented:
Friends computer still having the same issue with the printing.  
I now have it here instead of connecting remotely like I was before.

The hard drive is 224GB and of that there is 158GB Free so it mustn't be that issue causing the problems.  
Any other idea's?
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