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Windows cannot open Add Printers ... and all printers show errors

Posted on 2013-02-07
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Last Modified: 2013-02-10
This morning the customer came in to find that he could not print on any of his printers, on his Win 7 64-bit PC.  Both printers show a ! , and the troubleshooter provides no info.

One printer is a simple HP 4250, so I had him disconnect it, and it's icon disappeared from the 'Devices and Printers' screen.  I then downloaded the PCL6 driver from HP, but when I go to install it, I get this error:

'Windows cannot open Add Printers.  The local print spooler service is not running.'  But if I go to services.msc, it shows that the print spooler IS running.

Initially I tried to restore a restore point, but it only shows one restore point available, and it is from earlier this morning (i.e. of no value).  Why THAT is happening is a subject for an additional post, I suppose.

Any ideas where to begin with this printer situation?  TIA
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Question by:sasllc
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Kash earned 250 total points
ID: 38864324
have you tried booting into safe mode and see what happens there. thats where I would start
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by:sasllc
ID: 38864387
What would I be looking for in safe mode?

Since safe mode doesn't bring up all the usual stuff, I wondered if it even would install printer drivers.  So, I rebooted MY Win7 PC, and found that I had the same "!" showing on my printer in the Devices and Printers screen--presumably becuase it does not load printer drivers in safe mode--but I don't know that for sure.

In any case, what would I do, or look for, in safe mode?
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by:m3mph1s1
m3mph1s1 earned 250 total points
ID: 38864490
I would reboot, it sounds like something has conflicted with the print spooler.  If a reboot doesn't restart it successfully then you will need to follow documentation similar to this but particular to OS: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverfiles/thread/6de177db-df34-4801-be93-1a8e4231f183
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by:sasllc
ID: 38873558
I could not get anything to work, and ended up having to reformat his system and reload.
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