Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

A Failure To Print

Posted by William Diaz on April 16, 2013

We saw a rash of complaints in one of our offices where users were unable to print to any HP printers. They would contact the helpdesk, they would delete the printer and add it back again but the issue kept returning after the initial successful print. The was no error message but the print balloon in the notification area would not indicate a printed job was sent to the printer while at the same time the print icon appeared in the notification area showing 0 pending jobs in the print queue. In the past, I had seen this in isolated instances, and it can be resolved by

  • First removing the printer (or printers if they share the same print driver, .e.g. HP Universal Print Driver)
  • Stopping and restarting the print spooler (CMD > net stop spooler > net start spooler)
  • Opening the Print Management console (Control Panel > Administrative Tools)
  • Opening All Driver
  • Select the driver package for the problem printer > right-click Remove Driver Package. This has the effect of removing the print drivers from the Windows driver file repository (64 bit Windows – C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository) and deleting the registry key that’s holds the various values for the driver package (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Drivers\Version-3\HP Universal Printing PCL 5 (v5.4))
  • Reconnecting to the printer. This would download the print drivers from the print server to the file repository and install them locally into C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64.

To try and determine what was causing this to occur, I asked the local office tech to contact me when he encountered another user with the same issue so I could compare the drivers in spool\driver and the file repository folders on the problem workstation with those on a behaving workstation for the HP universal print driver package but everything looked identical. Next, I compared the registry key of the two workstations and spotted the problem.

On the problem workstation:


On the working workstation:


As a proof of concept, I deleted the data for the Dependent Files value, rebooted the workstation and was able to reproduce the issue. Manually importing the missing registry data then corrected. The other two values affected are Help File and Monitor. The why of why this is happening is not fully known but there is some further discussion about the issue here:


After seeing another rash of this outbreak in another office, I encountered issues trying to remove the HP Universal Printing PCL 5 (v5.4) package from the Print Management console:


Not sure why, but the print spooler hooks one of the print driver files after it restarts. To remove the hook, got to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\ and delete the key that corresponds to the print driver you are trying to remove, .e.g hpcpp118, stop and restart the print spooler, then remove the driver package from the Print Management Console.



This should be resolved with KB3001232


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