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Print spooler causes Word 2007 startup to hang

Posted on 2011-10-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am working on an HP Pavilion Entertainment laptop for a client.  It is running Win 7 64-bit, has 4 GB of RAM, uses Office Professional 2007, and is current on all Windows updates.  The client complained that just in the last couple of months, when he starts Word, its spash screen comes up and then nothing further happens.  

In trying to isolate the problem I used msconfig to selectively disable startup programs and services.  I eventually determined that if the print spooler service is stopped, Word will start up just fine.  In fact, while Word is hanging, I can stop the spooler and Word will come out of its hang and start up normally.  Another piece of related info:  going into Control Panel / Devices and Printers will also hang until the spooler is stopped; then it will resume.  Another piece of (maybe) related info: there were two Quicken PDF printers on the system which I tried to remove -- thinking they might be part of the problem -- but they cannot be removed.
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Question by:SeniorRabbit
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21 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36979983
John, thanks for the quick reply.  I think, though, unless I'm missing something (which is entirely possible), that this addresses a different problem.  In my case, Word is not attempting to print anything and there is nothing in the spooler's queue either.  Word is just attempting to start up, and hangs in the beginning stages of doing that.
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36980321
By the way, I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling all of Office.  The same symptoms persist.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Raheman M. Abdul
ID: 36980383
Try
Right click on the PDF creator, click Properties -> Advanced -> select the radio button:
Print Directly to the printer
instead of spooling.
Try one by one at a time for the PDF creator printers and then start doing with the other printers in the Printers window.

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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36980463
There is no Advanced tab on the properties for this "printer."  Only "General" and "Hardware" and no direct printing option under either of these.
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36980567
Actually, if I stop the spooler and then restart it, the Advanced Tab WILL appear for this printer but all of its contents are grayed out.  The other printers on the system are FAX, Microsoft XPS Document Writer, and another Quicken PDF Printer located on another of my client's computers (which I don't have access to at this time).  That last one, though, does show that "Print Directly to the Printer" is already selected. The default printer is the XPS writer.  Its Advanced tab contents are also grayed out but show that it uses the spooler. I will try to remove this printer entirely and let you know what happens...
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36980697
Set a restore point, changed the default printer to FAX and removed the XPS writer.  Same symptoms persist.
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36980893
Interestingly, after I removed Microsoft's standard XPS Document Writer, the one remote Quicken PDF printer no longer appears under Control Panel / Devices and Printers either.  Hmmm.  So now the two printers I have are FAX and Quicken PDF Printer.  Main symptoms persist.

As a reminder, we can even take Word out of the equation and still have a problem in that after a fresh boot, Contol Panel / Devices and Printers will always hang until the spooler service is stopped.  Then it will display devices, but no printers.  If I then restart the spooler and refresh Devices and Printers, the printers will appear.

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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36981966
Found a description of essentially the same problem on http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/3e920e4e-33b0-4e0e-a266-00f378de6a6c.  I've added my particular description of the problem on that forum now as well.  No solutions that work yet, though.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Raheman M. Abdul
ID: 36982121
Make the spooler service not startup automatically    Disable it and test

Login as administrator and test
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Raheman M. Abdul
ID: 36982135
Greyed options means you dont have rights so try to Run the program As  Administrator
Try to right click and Run As.. Administrator and test
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36982226
I don't know how to run Devices and Printers as admin.  There is no righ-click context menu item for Run As Admin.  Only items in the context menu are Open, Open in New Window, and Create Shortcut.

As for the suggestion to disable the spooler, as I've described before, the symptoms go away when the spooler is not running.  This makes part of the problem go away but still leaves me without a spooler.  So there is still an issue.
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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 36982566
I might have missed this, but have you renamed the Global Template "normal.dot", to say "Normal.OLD"?

%appdata%\microsoft\Templates if not mistaken.....
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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 36982571
"Another piece of (maybe) related info: there were two Quicken PDF printers on the system which I tried to remove -- thinking they might be part of the problem -- but they cannot be removed."

Why not? a repair of the apps would reinstall them.....
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36982840
thanks for the responses, Johnb6767.

I had not renamed normal.dot to normal.old yet but tried it just now.  No joy, unfortunately.

As for the uninstall of the PDF printer, I have tried to do it, and it appears that the uninstall completes but then the printer continues to show up on Devices and Printers, even across a re-boot.  I have even tried to use Quicken's own setup app do get rid of it and it seems to complete normally but again, the printer remains.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Raheman M. Abdul
ID: 36985033
I understand, but even if the spooler is disabled you can still print it.
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36993599
Yes, but this is causing other issues, like not allowing me to install other printers using the normal user-level Devices and Printers wizard, for example.  That wizard needs the spooler to be running in order to complete an installation, but won't even start if the spooler is running initially. Then if I start the spooler during an installation, the install will usually hang or not complete fully.

Is there any way for me to selectively repair the spooler using an HP windows 7 Upgrade DVD that I have for this system?  I've already tried an SFC scan which found no problems in its verfication phase.
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 36994526
Well, okay, I've managed to make the symptoms all go away, but I don't fully understand why this has worked.  Maybe someone else here can rationalize this.

I deleted (moved, actually), all files from c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\x64, then rebooted the system.  The system (spooler, I guess) replaced some of the missing files.  I then tried to install a new printer.  I was able to do get through the steps of the install by turning the spooler off and on during certain points to avoid hangs.  The newly installed printer was able to print a Test Page but prints from apps like Word did not work (the printer made a few noises but didn't print anything).  From Word's viewpoint, the print succeeded.  There was nothing left in the print queue.  But no actual printed page, either.

Then I uninstalled this printer, rebooted, and attempted to reinstall it, forcing it to reinstall the driver from scratch and not use the existing one.  The installation succeeded without a hitch, even with the spooler running.  I'm now able to print from any app, with the spooler running, with no hangs anywhere.

Again, I don't really understand what all happened behind the scenes here.  If anyone can help me rationalize this, that would be great.  But, at least I'll be able to return a working system to my client.

Thanks.
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LVL 66

Accepted Solution

by:
johnb6767 earned 1500 total points
ID: 37021722
Corrupted drivers cause issues in the spooler service all the time. It is common to have to remove them and rebuild......

Kinda surprised I didnt suggest that....   :^)
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Author Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 37025394
Thanks, johnb6767 and all others.  I'm sure you're right, john.  That must have been the issue.  I'm going to accept your solution as you've contributed many other helpful items as well.
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Author Closing Comment

by:SeniorRabbit
ID: 37025417
The answer really only came in response to my own conjecture but was a very useful confirmation.  I appreciated everyone's input on this.
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