FIX: The specified printer driver is currently in use by Bas Wijdenes

“Unable to remove print driver.”  the basics.

My canon printer was not functioning properly anymore. I tried to remove the printer by right-clicking and select remove. During the removal I received the following error message:

“Print Server Properties”

“Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.”

You get this error message because the printer keeps the print spooler service busy. So even if you cannot print, you cannot delete the printer. A re-start could be the solution, but if you’ve already tried that, you can try the tutorial. The tutorial includes screenshots.

'Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.'
‘Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.’

Let’s fix “The specified printer driver is currently in use”.

Go to start and search for Services.msc.
Or press CTRL + R and type in Services.msc.

Now search for the Print Spooler Service.
You can also sort it by name and type in ‘Print’.

Stop the Service.

'Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.'
‘Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.’

Go to start and type in printmanagement.msc.
Or press CTRL + R again and type in printmanagement.msc.

'Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.'
‘Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.’

2. Choose the printer driver you like to delete, but do not click ‘delete’ yet. Go to step 3.

Go to Custom Filters and open the All Drivers tab.
Select the printer driver that’s faulty.
Right click the driver and select Delete.

'Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.'
‘Unable to remove Print driver. The specified printer driver is currently in use.’

Now go back to the Services.msc application and re-start the Print Spooler Service.


Another solution to the problem.

Because several users had indicated that the problem was still playing, I went researched further. In my search I found a technet post from Luka. I have not made any screenshots of this, but I did extend the steps a bit.

See the solution below:

  1. First go to Devices and Printers and remove the printer.
  2. Now stop the print spooler service.
  3. Open regedit and go to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
  4. Re-name all Print Processors you see here, such as: Winprint to Winprint.old, Hpcpp107 to Hpcpp107.old, and so on …
  5. Now go back to Services and start the Print Spooler.
  6. Now go to Printmanagement.msc and remove the full printer driver package.
  7. Now open the registry again and go again to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
  8. Now rename all Print Processors to OLD.
  9. Now go to Services and restart the Print Spooler.
  10. Reinstall the new drivers and test again.

Thanks Luka!


A third solution to your problem..(Not tested).

A third solution has arrived from a user in the comments:

1. Open Print Management (Run: Windows Key +R “printmanagement.msc”)
2. In “View” tab” Select “Custom View” and tick “Console tree” and “Action pane”>” OK” (This Custom View is not mandatory)
3. Within “All Drivers,” navigate to your printer driver (the one to be deleted): (Print Management > Custom Filters > All Drivers)
4. Right click your printer (in “Driver Name” column) – [Alternatively, in “Actions” column select your printer and select “More Actions”]
5. From the “Driver Isolation” drop-down menu, select “Isolated.”
6. Within “All Printers,” navigate to your printer (the one to be deleted): (Print Management > Custom Filters > All Printers)
7. Right click your printer (in “Printer Name” column) – [Alternatively, in “Actions” column select your printer and select “More Actions”]
8. Select “Properties” (or “Manage Sharing”)
9. In “Sharing” tab, de-select “Share this printer.” Select “Apply” (Then patiently wait for it to “apply”)
10. In “Advanced” tab, select “Print directly to the printer.” Select “Apply.” (Then patiently wait for it to “apply”) [This disables spooling (for this printer), so you can leave the “Print spooler” (“Spooler” in Task Manager) service still running].
11. Within “All Printers” right click your printer and perform “Delete.”
12. Within “All Drivers,” right click your printer and perform “Delete.”

If still not fixed, also try this: In “Properties” > “Security” tab, allow “Manage this printer”


Summary

The blog post was reviewed again on 2-7-2018 and is still relevant. I made some adjustments to the screenshots because they were still in Dutch.

Because the error message is quite generic, several things can be the solution.

If you found a new one, could you indicate this below?

If you have other comments or feedback you can also indicate this in the comments.

Published by

Bas Wijdenes

My name is Bas Wijdenes and I work full-time as a Services Engineer. In my spare time I write about the error messages that I encounter during my work. Furthermore, I am currently occupied with Office 365, Azure infrastructure, and PowerShell for automating daily tasks.

9 thoughts on “FIX: The specified printer driver is currently in use by Bas Wijdenes”

  1. Now open the registry again and go again to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
    Now rename all Print Processors to OLD.

    That’s Helped me!!!!
    Thank you very much!
    I had a big headache before that solution at my big company.

  2. This is driving me nuts. When I stop the Print Spooler, all the drivers disappear from every single list, so I can’t delete any drivers because I can’t see any. My list of printer drivers is blank. When I restart the Printer Spooler service, the drivers appear again but can’t be deleted because they are “in use”.

  3. Thanks you very much Luka, your’s worked out best for me. You just relieved me from the stress of a week i have been going through.

  4. Problem uninstalling print driver (Windows 10)
    Error: Fail to Remove Printer Driver in Use
    Windows 10
    This problem is an issue only when the regular method of re-installing a potentially corrupted printer driver fails to overwrite the corrupted drivers. The next step is to delete the printer and its driver(s). But…
    Problem:
    When trying to delete the printer and/or its driver you get the following error: “Failed to remove driver (driver name). The specified printer driver is currently in use.”
    Fix:
    How to delete printer driver:
    1. Open Print Management (Run: Windows Key +R “printmanagement.msc”)
    2. In “View” tab” Select “Custom View” and tick “Console tree” and “Action pane”>” OK” (This Custom View is not mandatory)
    3. Within “All Drivers,” navigate to your printer driver (the one to be deleted): (Print Management > Custom Filters > All Drivers)
    4. Right click your printer (in “Driver Name” column) – [Alternatively, in “Actions” column select your printer and select “More Actions”]
    5. From the “Driver Isolation” drop-down menu, select “Isolated.”
    6. Within “All Printers,” navigate to your printer (the one to be deleted): (Print Management > Custom Filters > All Printers)
    7. Right click your printer (in “Printer Name” column) – [Alternatively, in “Actions” column select your printer and select “More Actions”]
    8. Select “Properties” (or “Manage Sharing”)
    9. In “Sharing” tab, de-select “Share this printer.” Select “Apply” (Then patiently wait for it to “apply”)
    10. In “Advanced” tab, select “Print directly to the printer.” Select “Apply.” (Then patiently wait for it to “apply”) [This disables spooling (for this printer), so you can leave the “Print spooler” (“Spooler” in Task Manager) service still running].
    11. Within “All Printers” right click your printer and perform “Delete.”
    12. Within “All Drivers,” right click your printer and perform “Delete.”

    If still not fixed, also try this: In “Properties” > “Security” tab, allow “Manage this printer”

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