How to Remove a Printer Driver from the Registry
By Finn McCuhil
Modern printers reduce business printing costs with remarkable flexibility and quality output. The downside of improved printer quality and flexibility is the increased complexity of the software responsible for formatting the output. Once installed, the software drivers that communicate with the operating system and individual programs on the computer are referenced in the registry. Not all print drivers behave as they should during the uninstall process, leaving behind registry references that may interfere with other printing procedures. When this happens, knowing where to find the orphaned entries is the first step toward cleaning them out.
Click the “Start” button.
Type “regedit” in the “Search” dialog box and press the “Enter” key.
Click the “Continue” button when the User Account Control pop-up window appears.
Navigate to the registry key containing your printer control set by clicking the following entries in the registry editor’s left-hand panel in this order: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SYSTEM | CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments | Windows NT x86 | Drivers | Version-3."
Click the folder with the label corresponding to the printer you want to remove to highlight it.
Press the “Delete” key.
Click the “Yes” button when you are prompted to confirm deletion of the key.
Close the registry editor and reboot the computer to complete the removal process.
When deleting a shared or networked printer, delete the printer’s registry entries under “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections\” and “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers\LanMan Print Services\Servers\Printers\” as well.
Changes in the registry are immediate and permanent. It’s a good idea to make a backup of the registry prior to making any changes.
Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.