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Windows 7; Printers Have Disappeared; Printer Spooler won't stay running.

    Question

  • I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium and an Epson Stylus Photo R220 printer. I also had a few virtual printers (ie: Snagit) installed before the problems started.

    All of the printers (from my Devices and Printers) have disappeared, except for a generic "USB Printer" selection that shows it is my Epson R220. I can't print to it, and when I try to print a document and try to "Add Printer", a warning pops up saying "Can't Add Printer. The local print spooler service is not running. Please restart the spooler or restart the machine." I've tried both with no success.

    Sometimes, when I try to start the Print Spooler, I get a message "Error 1067: The process terminated unexpectedly." or it starts and just stops again.

    I have also tried reinstalling the driver for my printer as specified from Epson's website, but the installer can't detect my printer, and if I try manually finding the port, nothing comes up, which I find odd since my computer recognizes when the printer is attached.

    Lastly, and I'm hoping it's not connected although I think it likely is, last night my computer had troubles starting Windows. So I did as it directed and I loaded my Windows CD into the computer and had it "Repair the problem". After several minutes, Windows booted fine again.

    Now I really don't want to have to reinstall Windows, as that will remove all of my program files, so I'm hoping that's not the only solution. Any ideas?

    Thursday, February 17, 2011 5:14 AM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Please let me know when this issue began to occur? Have you installed any software before the issue occuring?

    Try clearing Printer Spooler files and restart the service again:

    Clear Printer Spooler files and enable the spooler service

    ===================

    1. Click the Start Button, type "Services" (without the quotation marks) in the open box and click OK.

    2. Double-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list.

    3. Click Stop and click OK.

    4. Click the Start Button, type "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" in the open window, and delete all files in this folder.

    5. Click the Start Button, click Run, type "Services" (without the quotation marks) in the open box and click OK.

    6. Double-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list.

    If any error is received, please let me know in details.

    Regards,

    Niki


    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" on the post that helps you, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:39 AM
    Monday, February 21, 2011 3:27 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    Please let me know when this issue began to occur? Have you installed any software before the issue occuring?

    Try clearing Printer Spooler files and restart the service again:

    Clear Printer Spooler files and enable the spooler service

    ===================

    1. Click the Start Button, type "Services" (without the quotation marks) in the open box and click OK.

    2. Double-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list.

    3. Click Stop and click OK.

    4. Click the Start Button, type "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" in the open window, and delete all files in this folder.

    5. Click the Start Button, click Run, type "Services" (without the quotation marks) in the open box and click OK.

    6. Double-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list.

    If any error is received, please let me know in details.

    Regards,

    Niki


    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" on the post that helps you, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:39 AM
    Monday, February 21, 2011 3:27 PM
    Moderator
  • I am having the same issue, even after I deleted the files in the specified folder and restarted the spooler.  I still get the "Can't Add Printer. The local print spooler service is not running. Please restart the spooler or restart the machine." I've tried logging in w/ the admin account locally, as well as in safe mode w/ the same results.
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011 7:29 PM
  • You can only do this as the administrator. I had our outside IT consultant help this this issue. You have to view hidden files and then delete all the files in the folder.
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 10:26 PM
  • Tx a lot. It solved my problem !
    Wednesday, December 07, 2011 11:48 AM
  • It looks like clearing out the two files in that "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" directory fixed the problem for me too... fingers-crossed!  Thank you!!!
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 6:15 PM
  • Update for those that are fighting with this like I was...

    Clearing the files from "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" only worked temporarily.

    It looks like the culprit was IE 9, but only some pages (printing the page) caused the problem to come back.  My only solution for now is using FireFox instead of IE.

    Clearing files from "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" (after stopping the print spooler service) is key to getting the system back in order after IE 9 breaks it. Just remember to restart the print spooler service after clearing the directory!


    • Edited by StanSteliga Thursday, December 22, 2011 7:24 PM
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 7:22 PM
  • Thank you!

     

    Had the same problem, deleted all files in the folder, and all back to normal again.

    Monday, January 30, 2012 1:10 PM
  • I work as tech support for my office and have had this same problem with two laptops in my office.  Deleting the files in the %WINDIR%\System32\spool\printers doesn't fix the issue for me.  I have several network printers and copiers I use in the office.  They just disappeared and upon finding that I couldn't add any printers because the print spooler was stopped, I began searching for answers.  I cant get the print spooler to run properly. The service fails to start at boot time. Manually starting it doesn't work because when I run Add Printer it just crashes.  Any suggestions?
    Monday, February 13, 2012 10:01 PM
  • I have a small network in my office which I manage, and had 2 Windows 7 PCs with exactly the same symptoms.  (There are only 2 Win 7 PCs in the network .. in addition to a Mac with MacOS 10.6.6.  There was no problem with the Mac, only the PCs)

    In our case, rebooting the PCs caused all of the printer drivers to reappear, and printing resumed normally.  We have 2 physical printers (one Lexmark, one Epson) as well as a small number of virtual prnters for creating files.   All of the printers disappeared, leaving only the computer with it's name on the Printers page.

    I wondered aloud to my partner whether there had been some sort of Windows Update that had a bug in it, and then Microsoft patched the bug in a subsquent update ... since we couldn't solve the problem for a day or two.

    Just saying, it seemed strange that two of our computers lost the ability to print on the same day, and then the ability magically returned a few days later.

    Jerry

    • Proposed as answer by mocklin Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:08 PM
    Monday, March 05, 2012 8:51 PM
  • Hi,

    If you clear out the contents of the %WINDIR%\System32\spool\printers folder and it allows you to start the spooler again thats great - however often the driver is corrupt which causes this issue to return further down the line

    if you cant start the spooler its worth checking the event logs of the computer as it often points to the driver that is causing the problem.

    Good luck


    MyPchealth


    • Edited by Chunks_ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:59 AM
    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:59 AM
  •  I am running into the same problem with my Dell Printer, I have found that everytime Windows 7 does an update my printer disapear, normaly after I have been on the internet and pulled up a map, or tried to print a map. the only solution i have found which works is to restore system to before Update, this becomes a problem because we run a business and need to print invoices or checks all the time. If someone has another solution I would help me. thanks.,
    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 6:01 PM
  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  I lost all my printers as well.  Went into the Printer Spooler and saw it was stopped.  Hit "start" and everything reappeared. T hanks!
    Saturday, April 07, 2012 6:01 PM
  • Thanks. Similar problem and although it some files were still being help by a program (I had stopped the spooler) it deleted heaps of others and the printer is working again.
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:38 AM
  • this problem seems to happen when you install a 32bit print driver on a 64 bit system.  remove the driver, install the correct one and the print spooler will stay started.  
    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:08 PM
  • it also happens with 64bit drivers.

    The strange thing is that this occured for the first time after 9 months in use. Why not before?

    Friday, September 07, 2012 2:38 PM
  • Finally!  THANK YOU
    Thursday, October 04, 2012 2:36 AM
  • Oh, one and half year from first post and the problem still persists.

    I administrate small office with 20 laptops and two AIOs. All laptop´s owners take the laptops from office for the trip or to home. All laptops have installed two or more another printers (from other networks or home networks). The laptops use Win XP, Vista and Win 7 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.

    Only laptops with Win 7 64-bit disappeared all devices in the last two weeks. The laptops worked fine three months from the installation of the last device. The installations are correct - with 64-bit drivers (32-bit driver can not work). By this error the spooler is not stopped. The laptop´s restarts do not solve the problem. The new installation or "add a printer approach" are needed.

    Can the automatic updates cause this behavior? 

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:56 PM
  • I too am having this issue, I have a windows 7 64-bit machine which has been working fine for about 4 month. Today the user gets an error saying that a program is not responding correctly, and when he shuts down and restarts, it appears that his printers have disappeared, I have ran the service under admin login to see if it was his account but still as soon asI have started the Spooler, it stops again meaning i cannot add the printer back on.

    I followed the instruction to delete files from the %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers"  but there are no files in here. I have tried giving the user ownership of the exe file, but seen as it won't work under the admin log in which has access, it still isn't working. Is there a fix for this, could it be a windows update? Or is there anything else I can try?

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 4:36 PM
  • I have wrestled with this issue on a client's computer for a few days now and I am coming to the conclusion that a Windows Update (do not know which one) has caused the problem.

    Windows 7 Professional 64-bit installation

    Printers disappeared from Devices and Printers and from the list of printers within applications.  A reboot does nothing and there is a DCOM error that occasionally pops up, but the client has only seen it and I don't know the specifics.

    Any attempt to start the Print Spooler gives me a 1053 error, which is "The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion."

    Doing a NET START SPOOLER from a command prompt gives me "The service is not responding to the control function."

    As a last resort I did an in-place upgrade of Windows 7 (run setup on the installation DVD from Windows - not from boot - and choose the upgrade option.  All Windows system files are restored and user information is left in tact.)

    This completely solved the problem.  After doing this, however, the Windows Updates need to be brought up to date, so I went through the updating process.  15 minutes after I left, the client called me and said his printers were gone again.

    I have come back today to figure this out and after trying a couple more things I decided to do a System Restore, the last of which was created before the installation of Windows Updates.  After running restore, the system rebooted and all printers were there and the spooler was running normally.

    Because I thought there was some other issue, I again ran Windows Update to bring back the same updates I had done before.

    Guess what?   No printers, spooler not working.

    I am now going to restore again to before the 64 windows updates that installed and turn off the automatic update function until Microsoft figures out what is wrong and comes up with a patch.

    This is what I believe the problem is.  I am going to look at the list of updates and check to see if Microsoft did a DCOM update, because that might be the problem, since DCOM is a dependency of the spooler and because there was some kind of DCOM error.

    Tuesday, December 04, 2012 11:04 PM
  • I have a new PC (4 months) - windows 7 Ultimate. everything working great - I printed some documents, no problem. I then printed a PDF document I had and the printers disappeared. I did a  registry restore and the printers reappeared but when I tried to print THAT DOCUMENT, it happened again. I tried another registry restore but windows will not let me do that. I'm just doing an entire disk image restore. I've had this same problem in the past on a windows 7 Home Prem system, always when printing a particular PDF document. I even got rid of Adobe thinking that was the problem and have been using Sumatra PDF for a year. Apparently, that is not the issue.  Windows has a major bug somewhere and it's been around for more that a year.

    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:47 AM
  • Launch printmanagement.msc

    Open the Drivers section.  Select all the print drivers , right click, Set driver isolation, shared.

    This will prevent the print driver from corrupting the memory of the spooler service during the rendering process.  The job most likely will not print, but the spooler service will not crash due to this failure.  Printdriverisolation.exe will now get the memory corruption and happily terminate.  Send the WER reports so someone can take a look at the crash dump file created and assign the failure to the correct party.


    Alan Morris Windows Printing Team

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:19 AM
  • Dear Alan,

    As soon as I launched printmanagement.msc I got the following message: "MMC could not create the snap-in".  As a result, I could not open the Drivers section; any suggestions?  Thank you!

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012 1:33 PM
  • Nollert is using Ultimate.  If you have a Home version, printmanagement is not included.


    Alan Morris Windows Printing Team

    Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:20 AM
  • I recently started with the same issue.  I've tried everything suggested.  Running Windows 7 home premium 64 bit.  There ARE no files in system32\spool\printers.  I've viewed with hidden files.   If you go to services it says print spooler is off - clicking start gives  error 1503.   I do not know exactly when this started but it has been several days since I tried to print until yesterday.  The spooler simply is gone!   There was a windows update on Dec 21 - a security update - I can't uninstall that update because when I click on installed updates it's not there but it WAS installed.  So can't try that. 
    Tuesday, December 25, 2012 4:06 PM
  • I have the same problem and same resulting error.........and it happened after an update around the same time you mention.  

    Thursday, December 27, 2012 8:37 PM
  • I too have the print spooler service has stopped, I simply turn it back on and I can print for a few minutes then it shuts itself off.

    I have tried everything in print.

    This all started in early December on two pc's.  I was able to update the print driver on the other PC but mine is still acting up.

    We have over 20 windows 7 systems mostly pro.  I am glad it is only my pc but I want and demand an answer.  This is not acceptable Microsoft!

    Monday, January 07, 2013 10:10 PM
  • There were no files to delete in the folder %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers. I enabled hidden files hoping to find some but there were none. Still cannot print! Now what?
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 3:22 PM
  • specifcations

    Windows 7

    64bit

    sp1

    Networked desktop

    Local printers and desktop printers missig

    Has anyone from microsoft got back to you on this one as no one here has the right long term answers to resolve this problem .

    Is this a windows update that is casuing the print spooler to stop and all printers to dissappear (local and networked) . I have also cleared out the driver folders too in windows which helped for a little while and then the problem came back.

    help please !

    Monday, February 11, 2013 4:29 PM
  • If you manually deleted the driver files and the problem came back, the top of the list points to one of the print drivers you have installed on the client machine which is corrupting the process memory of spoolsv.exe and the process terminates.

    Look in the Application Event Log for Print Spooler failures.  Report back the Faulting Module name if it's something other than ntdll.dll.

    thanks


    Alan Morris Windows Printing Team

    Monday, February 11, 2013 11:18 PM
  • I just got a call from a small company and noticed that there was a similar challenges.
    Windows 7 machine's Print Spooler was stopped all printers disappeared - Restarting works, but it did stop quite soon again (in about 10 seconds or so)
    The problem started after some automatic windows updates - I checked through all your very good ideas, but they didn't help - Finally I had to do the restore to the time before those windows updates.

    Now it's time to solve which one it was. Or was there something going on at the same time which caused the windowsupdate cause this challenge.

    And by reinstalling those very same Windows updates no problems ...

    What is the real cause and how this challenge can be avoid ?
    • Edited by Tavasti Thursday, February 14, 2013 8:27 AM
    Thursday, February 14, 2013 6:58 AM
  • Same problem here: 

    Sony Vaio laptop, Windows 7 Pro 64 (factory installed). Uses a Dell network printer as primary printer. 

    Symptom: After a recent Windows update: no printers listed, print spooler service is not running, manual restart of spooler service fails (1503 error)

    Workaround: system restore to early January, reboot, print spooler and printer works - until the next automatic update - I've done this twice so far.

    My conclusion: Some component of a recent update breaks the print spooler. I will meet customer again this afternoon and try to narrow it down somewhat more. Of course, I could just disable auto-updates as a last resort. Not a good idea in the long run though.

    I'll post more once I know more.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:44 AM
  • I have the same problem, which appeared after about 8 Feb 13. My printers dissappeared from my devices file. I restored back to a point on 8 Feb 13 and my HP printer reappeared. I noticed on switching my computer off two nights ago that some updates took place. When I tried to use my printer last night it had disappeared again, Tonight I restored back again to 8 Feb, but while doing so noticed that 3 Critical updates had occured on 13 Feb 13. Tonight after the restore I noticed on the shut down button that some installs were ready to be done on shut down. To check, I shut my computer down and then switched it back on and sure enough the Printer in the devices section had disappeared once again. My restore date of 8 Feb 13 now has also gone, but in any case I don't want to continually keep restoring my system. This must clearly be a system update problem which is corrupting th printer devices.

    I have tried the print spooler action but when I double click the Print Spooler file the "stop" button is greyed out, the service status says "stopped" but when I press start i get an error message

    "Windows could not start the print spooler serviceon the local computer. Error 1053: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion" 

    I have just recieved an International phone call from a woman with an Indian accent saying that she was from Windows (not Microsoft) and that I had Windows issues and could I switch my computer on. Is this genuine. How did she get my phone number? I asked her to email me so that I could check if she was genuine and I was expecting a reply on this forum to prove it. No email, no reply on here, so clearly a Scam. Does anyone get nuisance calls after they log a complaint or erro on this forum?
    • Edited by NeilSKN Friday, February 22, 2013 1:27 PM
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:23 PM
  • When I type "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers in Run nothing happens and I need to add the network printer
    Sunday, July 14, 2013 4:38 PM
  • I too have the print spooler service has stopped, I simply turn it back on and I can print for a few minutes then it shuts itself off.

    I have tried everything in print.

    This all started in early December on two pc's.  I was able to update the print driver on the other PC but mine is still acting up.

    We have over 20 windows 7 systems mostly pro.  I am glad it is only my pc but I want and demand an answer.  This is not acceptable Microsoft!


    Did you also try "print directly to printer" (bypassing the spooler). Granted that can tie things up during the transmission of the document to the printer, but it may help determine where the issue lies.
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 3:42 PM
  • Just ignore it. It's a scam. They're just calling phone numbers. We got several of those calls too. My son took it and had a blast as he's on a MacBook - the caller could not get understand why there was no Start menu. My son led him along for 15 minutes just so he couldn't call someone else, then got tired of it and hung up on the caller.

    Basically it's not due to this forum you got the call.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 3:49 PM
  • Hello:

    I am experiencing the same problem on a Windows 7 Pro 64 bit machine. Have checked the spooling service and the folder, and no files are there set to view hidden files as well). The printerspool service is set to automatic, and seems to start fine.

    The printers do show in the dialog box when I hit CTRL+P, and I can print to them, but there are no printer devices shown at all in the Devices and Printers.

    This just happened this past week. I have no yet tried uninstalling and Windows updates, or restoring the system to an earlier point.

    Tried running the MicroSoftFitIt.Printing utility. No success. Have not changed any user or machine policies, or done any regedits.

    Very aggravating-please help!


    • Edited by Audioguy10 Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:46 PM
    Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:45 PM