Monday, September 19, 2011

Resolving ghost printers in Win7 - delete redundant print queue

My corporate Win 7.64 box had a printing problem. Everything looked fine, but jobs sent to some printers didn't appear.

I was also seeing "ghost" printers -- they displayed in Windows print dialogs, but they didn't show in Control Panel "Devices and Printers".

For example, from the print dialog I saw "biz-c1" and "biz-c1 (copy 1)", but from the control panel I saw only "biz-c1 (copy 1)".

I think this glitch came from running an XP or 32 bit Win 7 printer installer on a 64 bit machine.

The printers that had this problem had an extra context menu entry "delete print queue". After a I deleted the "older" (non-copy 1) queues this context menu item disappeared! (Google was no help, this was my closest hit.).

The transient "delete print queue" menu item worked to fix the print dialogs. They again show a single queue. Even better, my printing was restored.

I assume this is a bug in Windows 7 that Microsoft knows about. There has to be a reason that the "delete print queue" option appeared on printers that had a redundant print queue. It's odd that it's not better documented however.

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