Delete printer drivers

If the Print Spooler service is operational:

  1. Open the Printers (Printers and Faxes on Windows XP) folder

  2. delete all of the printers

  3. click File, Server Properties

  4. select the Drivers tab

  5. for each entry:

    1. select the entry

    2. click Remove

Usually, this will do a pretty good job of cleaning out drivers with Windows 2000 and later (not so with Windows NT 4). 


If the Print Spooler service is not operational, or you want to make certain there are no printer driver remnants, either follow the instructions below or use cleanspl.exe from the Windows 2000, XP or 2003 Resource Kit (  cleanspl.exe from the Windows 2003 Resource Kit tools will work on Windows XP. 

Some information about cleanspl.exe:

  • cleanspl.exe does a very thorough job of cleaning up the print spooler stuff, but it does not remove the spooler service dependency on the Lexmark service (see special information about Lexmark printer drivers). 

  • You can use it to clean up the spooler stuff on another computer (i.e. remotely). 

  • When you run it, it asks you if you want to remove some things that are actually delivered (and installed by default) with Windows.  In most cases, you should answer No to the corresponding prompts (you don’t want to remove the Standard TCP/IP Port or the BJ Language Monitor).

Here’s how to clean up the print spooler stuff if cleanspl.exe is not available or you prefer to do things manually.


Warning! be very careful using regedit – if you delete the wrong things, you may render your computer inoperative!

  1. open regedit (e.g. click Start, key regedit and press Enter)

  2. navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintEnvironmentsWindows NT x86Drivers

under this key, there will be the keys Version-2 and Version-3 (one or the other of these may be absent – not a problem)

    the sub-keys under these contain the printer driver configuration information

delete all the sub-keys inside Version-2 and Version-3, but not these keys themselves

The Microsoft Knowledgebase article at;en-us;312052 lists some other registry entries to delete, but this is not usually necessary.

  1. open a Command Prompt window

  2. key the commands
           net stop spooler
           net start spooler

  3. open Windows Explorer

  4. navigate to %systemroot%system32spoolprinters and delete any files there.  By default, this is where the print spooler stores print files.

  5. navigate to %systemroot%system32spooldriversw32x86 (%systemroot% is usually Windows, but it might be winnt or something else; this is set when the OS is installed).

  6. inside w32x86, there will be folders with the names 2 and 3 (one or more of these may be absent – not a problem)
           delete all of the files and sub-folders in each of the 2 and 3 folders, but not the folders themselves
         inside w32x86, there may be other folders with names starting with “hewlett_packard”, “hphp” or something else; delete these folders also

  7. restart the print spooler (see steps 8 and 9 above)


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