Removing printer drivers from Windows 7 (The specified print driver is currently in use..)

Posted on 2011-05-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I am having a lot of problems with removing print drivers in Windows 7 and was wondering if anyone could offer some advice.

We currently have around 25 printers that are deployed via a script to all user's machines. One of these machines, which has been working fine for a couple of months, has started to show no printers available as the print spooler keeps stopping after a couple of seconds of being started.

To try to resolve the issue, I wanted to completely remove the printers and their drivers incase one is corrupt. I have managed to remove all the printers but when trying to remove the drivers from Print Management I get the message "Failed to remove driver "Driver Name". The specified printer driver is currently in use." No matter what I try I can't stop any of the drivers from being 'in use'. I have had this more or less every time when trying to remove a print driver from Windows 7, not just on this machine.

So far I have tried restarting the spooler and then removing them, restarting the machine in selective startup with all services other than Microsoft stopped and also a script to try quickly removing the drivers as soon as the print spooler service is started but it still says they are in use.

Can anyone explain how I can find out what is making the drivers in use or another way to remove them from the machine?

Thanks in advance.
Question by:Malc
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment


    I have come across this issue in xp before and usually it is because the port the printer is using is still open so windows thinks the driver is still in use.

    if you go into control panel\devices and printers and select any installed printer an option should appear along the top. Select Print Server properties and then the ports tab. Remove the ports that are no longer needed and then try to remove the driver.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment


    Author Comment

    LHT_ST - The ports in there do not seem to display the IP address ports that the printers are using, only the local ports?

    npinfotech - You do not see the printers in safe mode as the print spooler service is stopped and in safe mode it does not allow you to start it.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    can you remove the driver using the same method as i suggested for the ports but selecting the driver tab?

    or is that what you are trying to do?
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    by:Ernie Beek
    If you stop the print spooler service and then try to remove them?
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    Try the steps mentioned in this link to remove the printers.


    Author Closing Comment

    The steps in the link were for 64 bit drivers but managed to follow the same path in the registry to the 32 bit equivalent and it solved the issue.

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