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Cannot add printer - Printer Ports is empty...

Posted on 2011-10-08
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
This has been going on awhile, but just like a plumber has leaky faucets, my wife can't add a printer and the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is working on a laptop...

Windows 7, 64 Bit, Home Premium, SP1

What is happening, I cannot add any printer using the manufacturer disc or driver download.
Going into Add Printer, Local Printer, the Use an Existing Port, the drop down box is completely empty and Create a new port is greyed out.

The Network printer options finds network and shared printers, but eventually fails with a 'printer installation failed" message.

No System Restore points that are old enough exist.

All MS Updates are done

sfc /scannow has been run

The user account is an administrator

Any clues?

Thanks!
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Question by:toe_mas
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17 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:toe_mas
ID: 36936819
Nothing in the Event Viewer
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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 36936901
What model printer are you trying to connect?

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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 36936944
is the printer on a network? or is it plugged into another computer and shared or is it plugged into this computer?
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36936952
TBH I have not seen a locally attached printer in years that needs you to manually select a port.  If its a USB printer then in will install the port itself.

Always follow the manufacturers instructions for installing.
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Expert Comment

by:BlueThunda
ID: 36936964
It sounds like a registry issue from what I can tell. If that's the case then your options are:

1. Copy the printer port keys, and possibly USB or other needed keys from a known good system and replace the corrupted ones. This can be complicated due to different configurations and numerous keys involved.

2. Try a registry repair program such as CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

3. Perform a repair install http://www.matthewglover.co.uk/2010/06/29/how-to-do-a-repair-install-to-fix-windows-7/

There may be other options, but these are the top three I can come up with at the moment. Good luck figuring it out ;)
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Author Comment

by:toe_mas
ID: 36937031
The Port selection is  symptom of the underlying problem, the fact that no ports are listed is part of the issue itself.
The printer model isn't relevant since no type of printer can be installed at all, but for the record it is a Photosmart 310.
Attaching with a USB cable gives the same result as the network install, "printer installation failed".
Something is stopping any type of port, network or local, from being created at all.

BlueThunda, I did a CCleaner reg repair before posting, didn't do it.
The repair install was going to be a last ditch effort...
I wasn't sure what registry keys to export, but that was a though of mine too. Any idea which keys I should get from a working machine?

Thanks for all the quick suggestions!

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Accepted Solution

by:
edbedb earned 1500 total points
ID: 36937059
The ports on my Win7 computer are under this key.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports
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Expert Comment

by:BlueThunda
ID: 36937077
The ones you would need are most likely the Local Port keys and the USB Monitor keys. You can run regedit and find them by searching for Local Port or USB Monitor.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Monitors\Local Port
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control\Print\Monitors\Local Port
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors\Local Port
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Monitors\USB Monitor
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control\Print\Monitors\USB Monitor
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors\USB Monitor

Try those as a first effort, and you may need to dig deeper to the actual Printer Port keys or associated .dll or .inf files, but hopefully it will take less work rather than more ;)
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36938062
is the printer port enabled in the bios?  normally in the integrated devices section
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Author Comment

by:toe_mas
ID: 36938495
The BIOS setting doesn't matter either,as it is a USB printer, LPT, network, or serial for that matter. Thanks though!
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36938631
why does the nios setting not matter?  on many boards you can enable, or disable usb
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Author Comment

by:toe_mas
ID: 36938647
No printer can be installed, LPT, USB, Network, Serial, PDF Creator, any type of printer.

But, yes, in the BIOS, all USB ports are enabled.
When the printer is attached through a USB port it finds the hardware, begins the installation then bombs like the other examples above.
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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 36938774
Use the Device anager to remove then reinstall the printer and com ports then see if they are available in the Add Printer.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36938969
then i suppose your OS can be corrupt
you can run sfc - or a repair install then to fix it : http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html            repair windows 7
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1538-sfc-scannow-command-system-file-checker.html         SFC
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Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 36943999
"but eventually fails with a 'printer installation failed" message."

Can you please post a screenshot of the failed install?
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 36944036
I'd suggest a quick look at the Print Server in services to make sure it is started.
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Author Closing Comment

by:toe_mas
ID: 36973788
Ended up reinstalling... thanks for the help though!!
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