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How to Troubleshoot the “Cannot Delete Network Printer” Error in Windows

Print Spooler Service Not Running

Common Printer Issues

If you are working in an office, you most likely have a list of printers added to the PC that are network printers, which are not connected directly to the system. However, as printers in the network become non-existent or if computers move places, the devices from the list have to be cleared occasionally.

Sometimes, when you attempt to remove a network printer, you may receive an error message from the Windows OS that reads, “Cannot delete network printer”. Thankfully, you can get rid of a network printer from the system through the Windows Registry. This way, you can avoid having several unwanted printers clogging up the list of devices. Yet note that in order to perform the following troubleshoot, or to clear some steps in it, you have to sign in as an Administrator or get the required permissions first.

Prior to making any changes to the Registry, make it a point to back it up. If you are not familiar with making changes to the Windows Registry, then it is best to seek professional help. Besides, you can also try the last method mentioned below to work around the issue and delete unnecessary network printers.

Steps to Remove a Network Printer through Windows Registry Editor

  • Press and hold down Windows and R keys at the same time. This opens the Run dialog box.
  • In the dialog box, type regedit and click on the OK This opens the Registry Editor.
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections
  • In the Connections folder, you should see the network printers list. They will be mentioned with the name of the server, a comma, and the actual printer’s name at last.
  • Right-click the printer and select Delete. When done, you have to get rid of the printer from another registry location, in order to clear any traces of it from the system.

Windows Registry Editor

 

  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control and open Print\Providers\LanMan Print Services\Servers\Printers
  • Now expand the registry key named Servers, select the Print Server key, and press on Delete to remove the target printer. You should also be able to expand the print server, hosting the device you want to remove.

Printer Server

Close the Windows Registry Editor and restart the system. Now, the network printer should be gone. In case you have a local printer, which you want to delete you can do the same through the registry. For that, navigate to the below registry keys and follow the same procedure.

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\ Windows NT x86\ Drivers\Version-3\
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\

Clear the Print Queue

The print queue in Windows contains a list of documents sent to a target printer and waiting to be printed. In other words, the print jobs are being enqueued. It is a known fact that you will not be able to get rid of a printer in case a print job is in the queue. A shortcut to know whether a print job or document is stuck in the print queue is to navigate to the C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS directory and ensuring that the Printers folder is empty. To open the directory, open Windows Explorer, type the aforementioned path in the address bar and press the Enter key.

Printer Spooler Folder

Alternatively, you can forcefully clear the print queue. Once you clear the enqueued print jobs, you should be able to delete a printer from the system.

Steps to Clear Windows Print Queue and Restart Print Spooler

  • Open the Run dialog box as mentioned earlier.
  • In the command box, type services.msc and press Enter key. This opens a list of local services in Windows.
  • Select any service, and press P on the keyboard to quickly highlight the Print Spooler. Right-click on the Print Spooler service and then select Stop. This means that no other users in the network will be able to send print jobs to the system that hosts the print server

Windows Services

  • Then, you have to open the Printers folder as mentioned above.
  • Delete the files in the Printers This clears the print queue.

Note that if you are doing this in a Windows Server, it is advisable to first ensure that there are no print jobs being processed for other printers, as doing this deletes all those print jobs too.

After doing all these steps, you can restart the spooler service to get it up and running. For that, go back to the Services list, right-click the Print Spooler and select Start. For your information, restarting will fix the print spooler service not running error too.

Once you clear the print queue, go ahead and remove the unwanted printer from the computer. Of course, if you want to troubleshoot print spooler service not running or assistance with anything else related to printing, getting in touch with our service professionals through the toll-free number would be the best bet.

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