06 April 2011

Unable to remove printer driver from Windows 7

I was contacted by a customer few days ago with yet another challanging problem. He called and said: “Luka hi, we can't upgrade or remove some printer drivers from one third of our Windows 7 x64 SP1 machines.”

The error message when we tried to remove different printer driver packages was:
Failed to remove driver HP Universal Printing PCL 6 (v5.2). The specified printer driver is currently in use.
Failed to remove driver HP Universal Printing PCL 6. The specified printer driver is currently in use.
Failed to remove package hpcu111u.inf. Driver package is in use.

and

Failed to remove driver Kyocera Classic Universaldriver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.
Failed to remove package oemsetup.inf. Driver package is in use.


I started troubleshooting this and tried almost all suggested solutions I could found on the net like:
- stop / start spooler
- reboot to safemode and unistall driver from there
- msconfig disabling all non Microsoft services
- cleanspl.exe
- logged on as every user, deleted both the printer and the driver
- disabling bidirectional support
- RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /dd /c \\MachineName /m "AGFA-AccuSet v52.3" /h "Intel"
- printui /s /t2
- MS forum post: Deleting Printer drivers from Vista system 
- MS Answers question: Trying to un-ininstall print driver error message ...
- Skidzopedia post: How To Fix “Cannot remove or delete network printer” Error in Windows 
- and probably other solutions that also didn't help ...

At the end I found interesting workaround that went like this:
1. First I removed printer in "Devices and Printers"
2. Then I stopped print spooler
3. In registry I opened

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\

4. I renamed all Print Processors that were listed. Like Winprint to Winprint.old, Hpcpp107 to Hpcpp107.old, and so on ...
5. I started print spooler
6. Removed problematic driver pack in Print Management MMC
7. Reopened registry location

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\

8. Renamed back all Print Processors to original name. Like Winprint.old to Winprint, Hpcpp107.old to Hpcpp107, and so on ...
9. Restart print spooler
10. Installed new printer drivers
11. Tested printing

Maybe this procedure will also help someone else with similar problems :)

This is it for today. Have fun!

93 comments:

  1. THIS IS A TERRIFIC FIX! Thank you - just saved me a lot of work.

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  2. Ditto! I had tried most of the other fixes without any luck and came across your post. Worked like a charm! Thank you!

    Cathy

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  3. You just made my day!!!

    Thank U very much!

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  4. Awesome, thanks for your post.

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  5. works on 32bit systems too, thanks a lot!

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  6. Thanks. Was able to remove 5/6 of my drivers. Still have difficulty with a Xerox Global Print Driver.

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  7. Thanks very much, huge help!

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  8. Thank you, this worked! A nice solution to a frustrating problem.
    Note: we have 32-bit Windows 7 and this is the registry location I used:
    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, this worked!!

      Delete
  9. Thank you! This has help us a lot. Never thought a simple rename in registry would work as a charm. Microsoft should look into this.

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  10. Works with Server 2003 also! Thanks so much!

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  11. Thanks that worked for me too. Andrew

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  12. Finally I found your blog. It worked like a charm.
    Here just some extra words for google to index the problem:
    2008 r2 Failed to remove driver The specified printer driver is currently in use.

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  13. Works great!! It is enough to just rename the Print Processor key. Fredrik

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  14. Wow.. thanks a lot for taking time out to share the workaround. Its just what i needed after a day long head banging to delete the drivers and ports.

    Cheers :D

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  15. Another anonymous THANK YOU for posting this. Time saver.

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  16. You are the man dude. Finally managed to get rid of the damn driver!!! Thanks for your help.

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  17. This has definitely worked for me. Thanks for posting and sharing.

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  18. click the internet explorer go to file print. there you find all the list of printers. From there right click the printer which you want to delete. this will solve the problem

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  19. To above:
    I'm in a situation where it doesn't give me an option to delete one particular printer in the control panel. Going to try to work through the original suggestion and see if it works for me.

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  20. Not going to work for me :( because of the lack of an option to remove my one remaining printer

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  21. Since Luka's excellent blog post, Microsoft have released a new fixit tool for printer problems, and a 'pre-sp2' hotfix rollup package for the printer subsystem.
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2012/02/24/microsoft-fixit-for-printing.aspx

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2647753

    But for me, Luka's advise fixed things in the first instance.

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  22. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!

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  23. This is a good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. thank you so much. Keep up the good works...

    Printhead911

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  24. Thank you! I had a Canon MP driver that I need to install but there was a previous version left over that I couldn't remove. I couldn't even do it with the removal utilities that ship on the disk from Canon. You point pointed me to the Print Management snap-in which was able to remove the left-over driver crud.

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  25. This is such a great tip! I was going bonkers over this issue.

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  26. This is Works like charm!!

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  27. Hey that's really a great post and a wonderful description out here, I really like the way things are being executed and discussed here.Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff.

    Solvent Ink

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  28. Only removing the problematic driver pack in Print Management solved my problem. I didn't have to deal with anything else. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. thanks.... saved me big time.... stuck for 2 days trying to fix a problem

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  30. For me, I had to edit:

    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers

    Find the questionable driver/printer, stop spooler, rename that reg-key, start spooler, refresh the print-driver page, then remove the driver.

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  31. Thanks for the help, was working on something for hours and this did the trick.

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  32. Wow, renaming in registry worked! Unfortunately it was not the root of the problem I was trying to solve..

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  33. Great fix, thanks Luka.

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  34. YAY!!! Worked for me. I didnt rename the registries, just deleted them and then I was able to do printui /s /t2 to remove both driver and package as admin. MS, what a pain!!!! Why is this so difficuilt?!?!? cry cry cry.

    Oh, and this was on windows 7 pro.

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  35. Excellent, thanks Luka. You made my life much easier today.

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  36. Used this to fix my 0x000003eb error and associated "Print driver in use" error when attempting to uninstall a print driver in Windows 7 x64.

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  37. This worked like a charm. Thanks Luka!

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  38. Great work saved my butt!!!!

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  39. Genius! Thanks for posting this, it saved me a headache.

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  40. Awesome worked great.

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  41. That worked while nothing else did ! TFS

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  42. Great stuff. I added in a couple little additions of my own like removing from the registry a reference to an old print server etc... Great guide to resolve this issue. Most importantly, removing the driver was did correct my underlying problem of a printer that wouldn't print! Thanks!

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  43. Tried this a few months ago and it worked like a charm!!!

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  44. Thank you for posting this fix! It worked great when I was getting frustrated with the whole situation. (Win7 Pro, 32bit and 64bit)

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  45. Old post, but a life saver :-)

    Thanks a bunch

    ReplyDelete
  46. It's really nice blog Its helps you to find error and fix them please go through this site and make good solution of your problem.
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    Aalia lyon

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  47. Awesome post! Got it right the first time.

    Thank you.

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  48. Worked like a charm. Thanks a million

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  49. wow - the renaming to .old etc was the only thing that worked after hours of trying other methods.
    thank you so much!!!
    (I only had to rename the one offending print processor to be able to remove the driver)

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  50. Thanks for this , you saved my ass on some difficult printer issues with this article

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  51. Worked Great for removing the PCL6 HP Universal Print Driver.

    Thank you

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  52. Nice post due to your blog i am now aware with too much Kyocera's printers do you know any Printer Cartridges Specialist for Kyocera and Lexmark branded printers also for compatible.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Removed Lexmark universal driver on PC with 15 user acc.
    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  54. This worked like a charm! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING else worked. Thank you for the fix!!!!!

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  61. This is magic - stuck on removing driver in Win8.1 for a week, this was the answer!

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