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Printers: Starting from Scratch

Ran into an instance of the Print Spooler service (spoolsv.exe) crashing continuously on a few machines. This seemed to be tied to a recent update and a particular printer. Early speculation pointed to the BrPrint print processor used by Brother printers and the Dell 1700. Since the Print Spooler was crashing, I was unable to delete printers, adjust drivers, or adjust the print processor.

I first used PrintMigrator to look at the current printer setup on the machine to gather port names, drivers, and names to make the fix as painless as possible for the user. I then used the Clean Print Spooler (cleanspl.exe) from the resource kit for the operating system, in this case Windows Server 2003. Cleanspl.exe reverts everything to default, removing drivers, print processors, and deleting printers. Simply run the executable and point it at the machine that is having the problems (works over the network) and answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the follow-up questions relevant to your print server environment. After the tool finishes, you may have to restart to get rid of any in-use files. You can then re-install printers like normal and print successfully again.

Download the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit.

I used PrintMigrator after setting up the printers on one machine to quickly migrate these newly setup printers to the other problematic machine after wiping it out with the cleanspl.exe

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