A Windows Print Spooler World-Shaker

article #1414, updated 444 days ago

Well, it rocked my little world. This came from the excellent Terry Powell. He had a Server 2016 machine where Explorer would crash and restart every time Devices and Printers was opened. A very large number of common fixes was tried, including four different DISM methods with SFC and others, no change, DISM said the image was fixable but nothing would fix, and the only thing clearly missing according to DISM and SFC logs was a .lnk file. Terry found a reference stating that if one clears everything here except “(Default)”:

HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Devices

and then restarts the printer spooler, all begins working well. And indeed, it appears that this is space in which bad gunk can build up! He found about 100 there, removed them, and lo and behold, all is well. Powershell code to do this:

function Remove-AllItemProperties

    Remove-ItemProperty -Name * @PSBoundParameters

Remove-AllItemProperties "HKCU:\SOFTWARE\microsoft\windows nt\currentversion\devices"

Stop-Service Spooler
Start-Service Spooler