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Windows Print Spooler Service Keeps Shutting Down

Posted on 2014-11-02
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Last Modified: 2014-11-11
I am unable to print due to problems with the Windows Print Spooler service.  This started happening a couple of days ago without any apparent reason that I can think of other than after a routine overnight Windows update.  The worst is that this happened on both of my computers that I use in my home office, Windows 7 and Windows 8, which are part of a "Homegroup" network.  I have tried many different recommendations from Microsoft and other sources that I have researched online, but I have yet to find a good solutions.  I am attaching a document which shows all the different things I have tried, event viewer info, and screen captures, but here are some of the things I have tried:

I cannot delete or re-add the printers because the print spooler service keeps shutting down.  I have tried following Microsoft recommendations:
1)      In Windows Safe Mode deleted the spool printer and driver files from
a.      C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers
b.      C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers\w32x86

2)      In the Windows registry I removed subkeys from the following sections
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86
In the subkey list, there should only be the following subkeys:
i.      Drivers
ii.      Print Processors

3)      I also removed subkeys from the following section
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors
In the list of subkeys, there should only be the following subkeys for the default print monitors:
i.      BJ Language Monitor
ii.      Local Port
iii.      PJL Language Monitor
iv.      Standard TCP/IP Port
v.      USB Monitor

4)      I also followed recommendations to remove printers in the registry:
a.      Open Regedit, goto:
b.      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-3
c.      Remove the print driver from there.
d.      Also goto:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
e.      And remove the printer from that list.
f.      Locate and then click the following registry key:
 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Spooler
g.      Right-click Spooler, click Export, Save a backup file on your desktop.
NOTE: If an unexpected issue be encountered after modifying registry, please double click the file to restore the backup .
h.       4. In the details pane, if the DependOnService value shows values of RPCSS and other key, right-click DependOnService, and then click Modify.
i.      5. In the Value data box, delete other key, and then click OK.

I am desperate to get this issue resolved since I cannot print with either of my printers, HP Officejet and Brother MFC, from neither of my computers.  Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed and greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Jaime Bonilla
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40418484
Be careful what you delete in the registry - that can have side effects.

Shut down and clear the spooler as per the first part of your question.

Open an admin command prompt and run SFC /SCANNOW. Allow to complete and restart the computer.

You may want to remove Homegroup before the next step. You can always remake Homegroup.

The next step is to try removing the printers (Devices and Printers) and then delete the Driver (Print Server Properties). Assuming successful, restart again and add the printers.
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Author Comment

by:Jaime Bonilla
ID: 40418581
I have tried the SFC /scannow without results, and I also tried disabling the Homegroup and deleting the printers from the Devices and Printers, but I cannot do this when the Print Spooler service keeps shutting down a couple of seconds after I restart it.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40418593
First, start in Safe Mode and try SFC again. Also see if you can remove the printer in Safe Mode.

If not, look at running Windows 7 Repair Install. You need the Windows 7 DVD for this. Seven Forums has a tutorial you can use to help you with this.

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html
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Expert Comment

by:Armenio
ID: 40418639
On the windows 7 machine run system restore and revert back to before the spooler stopped working.  I have had some good results with system restore.
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Accepted Solution

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Jaime Bonilla earned 0 total points
ID: 40426982
Thanks for the advice, but the safe mode delete option did not work and I did not want to do a full system restore because I was going to loose all of my software installation and settings.  So, I tried a suggestion that I found in some forum online that included deleting all the contents of the "C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers" folder.  After I deleted all the folder I was able to re-install the printers and get things working again.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Armenio
ID: 40427314
Windows 7 system restore is not a full restore you do not lose any files it just undoes any setting changes you may have inadvertently done. It would most likely have resolved you issue. Its a great little feature built into windows 7 and has resolved many issues for me in the past. Windows system restore is not a system refresh like in windows 8 it just undoes settings and configuration changes.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jaime Bonilla
ID: 40434618
Doing a system restore is a last option when it comes to fixing problems in Windows, so I ended up trying the best solution that I found after searching online on various forums.
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