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Removing all Windows 2000 Server printers

Posted on 2009-05-20
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
We're experiencing some issues with HP LaserJet 4250 printers installed on one of our Windows 2000 servers. Originally one of the printers was installed using the latest PCL6 drivers for the model, but then users complained that the printer would not select paper types correctly (even though everything is set up ok on the printer menu). The driver was changed to an older PCL5e version that works fine on another server and all seemed ok, until users tried to print duplex or look at the Properties for the printer - Word just crashed when attempting to use duplex, or when the Properties were attempted to be viewed.

I've looked at the list of drivers loaded on the two servers and noticed some differences e.g.

unidrv.dll is at 0.3.1296.1 on the ok server and 0.3.6000.16386 on the faulting server
unidrvui.dll is at 0.3.1296.1 and 0.3.6000.16386
unidrv.hlp is at 6.19.2003 and 8.28.2007
hpmini.dll is at 1.0.0.13 and at 1.0.0.19
hpboid.exe is at 1.0.44.0 and 1.0.45.0
hpbpro.exe is at 1.0.44.0 and 1.0.45.0

It seems to me that there is a mixture of drivers, possibly from PCL6 and 5e installs.

I've thought about deleting all printers and starting again using the PCL5e that seems to work ok on one server, but what creates the unidrv drivers - I understand they are Microsoft drivers and I don't understand why they are at different levels on the two servers. Is there a way to completely remove all printer drivers including the uni drivers and start again with a new set?
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Question by:jon_kershaw
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4 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Cuteadder
ID: 24435931
are you able to just simply update the drivers? looking at the properties of the printer... rather than delete them all etc...
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Assisted Solution

by:Rodney Barnhardt
Rodney Barnhardt earned 150 total points
ID: 24435950
The best way I have found to remove all printer driver is to uninstall the printers, then stop the print spooler. Using regedit go into the registry to HKLM-Software-Microsoft-WindowsNT-CurrentVersion-Print-Printers. Here is where the registry information for each printer is stored. You will see that even though you have uninstalled the printer, this information remains. You can delete the printers you no longer want, the restart the print spooler and re-install the printers.
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Author Comment

by:jon_kershaw
ID: 24439537
I've tried just changing the drivers. This weekend I will uninstall printers as proposed and re-install using only one set of drivers (this has been recommended for Terminal Servers).
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Accepted Solution

by:
CyberLex earned 350 total points
ID: 24456931
Greetings

- you might see different versions of unidrv.dll because it is distributed with but not allways:
   - Windows Service Packs
   - Microsoft .NET Framework or .NET Framework Service Packs
   - Sometimes Microsoft KB Hotfixes
   - The Universal Print Driver from HP v4.7
   - maybe other vendors drivers

- The hickup you see on the server is a known problem. Microsoft recently (with .NET Framwork 3.0) introduced a new version of the unidrv.dll which was incompatible with older versions of unidrv.dll, thus printer driver relying on the old version were showing very strange behaviour like crashes and settings mix or printing all pages of a document on one page (layered).

- one way to solve the problem is to replace the new unidrv.dll with the old version from the other server. But sooner or later you will face this problem again if you don't update your drivers.

- my recommendation is to remove all queues and then remove all drivers from the server. You don't need to remove the registry entries necessarily, once the queues are deleted, the registry keys and most important one the devmode strucutre will get overwritten when a new queue is installed.

- do not update queues by replacing the driver with the new driver button. If you do that you will face another problem of devmode structure incompatibilities from old hp drivers to very new ones. And thanks to microsoft when updating a queue with the new driver button the old devmode structure from the queue gets preserved, thus no beeing compatible with the new drivers.

- on the clients you will have to remove the queues and reconnect them, if you don't do this you also might take a high risk of running into problems as point and print should update the clients when a new driver is installed on the server, but that is not allways working. I have seen very strange things happening. You might want to see if it works, if yes, lucky you, if not, remove the queues and reconnect

good luck
Lex

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