Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Windows - Unable to remove printer driver - The specified printer driver is currently in use

Sometimes you may need to uninstall a printer driver from a computer (because of corruption, to re-install etc), and may get the below error message;

"Unable to remove printername. The specified printer driver is currently in use"

This may even occur AFTER you have removed the printer itself from your list in Devices & Printers.

Here are some steps I found that allowed me to remove the printer and printer driver without having to restart the computer;

  1. Open Devices and Printers
  2. Right click the device you need to remove and select Remove Device
  3. Open Services.msc and locate the Print Spooler service
  4. Right click the Print Spooler service and select Stop
  5. Open regedit
  6. Browse to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\
  7. Depending on whether you are running a 32 or 64 bit windows, expand the key for Windows NT x86 (if you're running 32 bit windows), or Windows x64 (if you are running 64 bit windows)
  8. Expand the Print Processors key
  9. Rename any entries under Print Processors to have .old on the end. In the example below, there is one entry, winprint which I renamed to winprint.old

  10. Go back to services.msc and start the Print Spooler service
  11. Open the Print Server Properties and try to remove the driver pack - it should now remove successfully
  12. Once the driver pack is removed, stop the Print Spooler service again
  13. Go back to regedit and rename the key(s) you renamed to have .old on the end back to their original name(s) - as per my example, winprint.old will be renamed back to winprint
  14. Start the Print Spooler service from services.msc
  15. Re-install printer & drivers as required

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