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How do I remove orphaned printers which don't show up in the printers control panel?

Posted on 2011-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have several printers which I have uninstalled (no apparent error), but still appear in application's print dialogs but do not show up on the control panel (see attached image).  How do I remove these orphaned printers? Is there a nice way besides manually hacking the registry to do this?

NOTE: Printers do NOT show up in the Device Manager under Windows 7 (as I have seen suggested multiple times on other forums).

Thank you. Print Dialog & Control Panel Dialog
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Question by:lesterw2
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by:CombatGold1
CombatGold1 earned 800 total points
ID: 35155351
You may still have the hardware instances present for the printers. You can remove these in the device manager, though you will need to enable showing non-present devices first. Ensure device manager is closed.

1) Open the System control panel (winflag+pause)
2) Advanced system settings on the side bar
3) Enviroment variables
4) Add a new system variable:
Name: DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES
Value: 1
5) OK-out of this back to the System control panel -- do not open the device manager right away without closing the System Properties window as the variable won't have saved yet
6) As you're now in the fancy System control panel, select Device Manager on the side bar
7) In the View menu enable Show hidden devices

The device manager should now show hardware instance installations for devices that are not currently present. Non-present devices will have their icon faded. This should let you find the orphaned printers, of which you can delete.

This is also useful for removing many old USB devices and such you no longer have, or if you dislike hardware being labelled #2 #3 #4 etc when putting them in a different USB port or PCI slot.
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by:CombatGold1
ID: 35155368
Forgot to mention -- if after adding that variable the device manager does not show non-present devices, you may need to log off/on or even restart the computer for the variable to take effect. That shouldn't be needed though.
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by:Tony_the_PC-Tuner
ID: 35155431
The easy way for most instances:

1. Go to Start
2. In "Run" or "Search" type the following: "control printers", then hit enter.
3. If it is still there, right click on the device and select "Uninstall" or "remove device"
4. Run CCleaner on the registry cleaner utility and it will get rid of old and orphaned registry files.
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by:Tony_the_PC-Tuner
ID: 35155445
Aw for crying out loud, I just read the rest of your post, and I was too quick to respond.  My apologies.  I can see now that the devices are not showing up in the device manager for you.  CombatGold's advice is spot on.  Cheers!
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by:
CSI-Windows earned 1200 total points
ID: 35155491
This sometimes happens with printers that were / are connected via a parallel port add-in card or sometimes wireless printers.

If you have Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can use the print management console to delete the printer.

Click start and type "printmanagement.msc" and press enter.
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Author Closing Comment

by:lesterw2
ID: 35155800
CombatGolds1 tip is great and did show the printers, but the Uninstall did not work (no error but also did not remove printer). The printmanagement.msc brought up a printer control window I have never seen. From there, I was able to select DELETE and that did the trick!
Thanks to both!
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