Stubborn printer drivers in Windows – Driver in use

Since the introduction of Windows Vista, through to Windows 7 and Windows 8, I have encountered an issue where certain printers along with the printer drivers cannot be uninstalled or removed completely.

To keep users from accessing old printers, to keep a lean and efficient network and most importantly to stop printer driver errors, it is always recommended to remove unused or old printer drivers.

The normal way is to navigate to Devices and Printers and right click a device and then select “remove device”.
Then navigate to Programs and Features and uninstall the associated extra software for the printer.
This method works sometimes but I have found that printer divers remain behind if you have a look at the print management console.
Now if you try and remove the drivers from within the print management console, most likely you will get an error preventing its removal (Driver in use)

The following method will help you get around this stubborn issue and has helped us resolve many driver related issues with printers from many of our customers.

WARNING – Use at own risk as this fix involves editing the Windows registry! – WARNING

1. Then we stopped print spooler
2. Open registry editor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
3. Rename all Print Processors that are listed. Like Winprint to Winprint.old, Hpcpp107 to Hpcpp107.old, and so on …
4. Start the print spooler
5. Remove all unwanted driver packages in Print Management Console
6. Reopen registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
7. Rename all Print Processors back to Winprint.old to Winprint, Hpcpp107.old to Hpcpp107, and so on…
8. Restart print spooler
9. Install your new printer drivers