Fix: Can’t remove the printer in Windows 10/11

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you are unable to remove the printer in Windows 10 it's frustrating because you will not be able to refresh it and solve other issues.
  • One of the viable solutions is to remove the printer from the Registry using the dedicated tool.
  • Uninstalling the printer software can also help you remove the printer from your system.
  • You should also consider deleting the drivers and installing new ones with the help of third-party, dedicated software.
Can’t remove the printer in Windows 10 11

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We frequently use printers to print important documents, but problems with printers can sometimes appear.

To fix printer problems we sometimes need to remove the printer, but users reported that they cannot remove the printer in Windows 10.

What can I do if I get Can’t remove printer access denied message?

If you can’t remove printer in Windows 11 or older, it’s probably because you don’t have the administrative privileges. We wrote in-depth about Access is denied guide, so we encourage you to check it our for more solutions.

If printer is displayed as unspecified device that can cause additional problems with it, and prevent you from removing it. This is most likely a configuration or a driver issue.

Few users reported that A deleted printer keeps coming back, and that’s a variation of this error, but luckily, this guide will show you how to fix this problem.

What can I do if I can’t remove the printer in Windows 10?

1. Remove the printer

1.1 Change the Print server properties

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter control panel. Choose Control Panel from the results.
  2. Select Devices and Printers.
  3. When Devices and Printers window opens, select any printer and click the Print server properties.
  4. Print Server Properties will now open. Go to the Drivers tab, select the printer you want to remove, and click the Remove button.
  5. Select Remove driver and driver package option.
  6. After removing the printer, click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Users reported that they can’t remove their printer on Windows 10, and if you’re having the same problem, you might be able to fix it by deleting the printer driver from the Print server properties window.

1.2 Remove the printer software

  1. Click the Start button and select the Settings app.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Locate the printer software and remove it from your PC.

1.3 Stop the Print Spooler service

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
  2. Locate the Printer Spooler service, right-click it and choose to Stop from the menu.
  3. Go to the following folder (you’ll need administrator privileges to access it: C:\Windows\System32\spool\Printers
  4. Delete everything from the Printers folder.
  5. Go back to Services window, locate Print Spooler service, right-click it and choose Start.

If you can’t remove your printer by using the method from steps 1.1 and 1.2, you’ll have to stop the Print Spooler service first. To do that, follow the steps above.

After restarting the Spooler service, try using the Print server properties window to remove your printer.

Keep in mind that issues can occur if your printer is shared with other computers on your network, so be sure to stop printer sharing and remove printer mappings.

If you have trouble removing the printer, check out our list with the best driver removal software that you can get right now.

2. Edit the registry

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
  2. When Registry Editor opens navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControl\SetControl\Print\Printers
  3. Expand the Printers key and locate your printer.
  4. Right-click it and choose Delete from the menu. Be careful not to delete any other key from the registry.
  5. After deleting the printer key restart your PC.

If you can’t remove a printer in Windows 10, you might have to change a few values in your registry.

Changing the registry can cause problems with your PC, therefore it might a good idea to create a backup of your registry, just in case.

When your PC restarts, go to the Devices and Printers window, find your printer and delete it.

If you find it difficult to work with the embedded Registry Editor from Windows, you can try a lot of other registry editors.

3. Cancel all print jobs

Sometimes you won’t be able to remove a printer because there are still active print jobs.

Before you can remove your printer, simply go to Devices and Printers, locate your printer, right-click it and choose to See what’s printing option.

Be sure to remove all entries from the printing queue. After removing all printing jobs you should be able to remove your printer without any problems.

If the Devices and printers is not opening in Windows 10, we have an excellent guide that will help you fix the problem.

4. Remove your printer using the Print Management

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter print management. Select Print Management from the menu.
  2. Once the Print Management window opens, go to Custom Filters and select All Printers.
  3. Locate the printer you want to remove, right-click it and choose Delete from the menu.

According to users, if you can’t remove a certain printer in Windows 10, you might want to try removing it by using the Print Management tool.

5. Delete hidden printers from Device Manager

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open the Power User Menu.
  2. Select Device Manager from the list.
  3. When Device Manager opens, select View and select Show hidden devices.
  4. Delete your printer from Print queues and Printers sections.
  5. After you’re done, restart your PC.

Sometimes hidden devices can cause problems with printers, therefore you’ll need to remove them. To do that, follow the steps above.

6. Delete the driver entries from the registry

  1. Press Windows Key + S, type cmd, and click on Run as administrator to start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter net stop spooler and press Enter.
  3. Start Registry Editor. For more information on how to do that, check Solution 1.
  4. Go to the following key in the left pane: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-4
    • If you use the 64-bit version of Windows 10, you’ll have to navigate to the following key instead: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Drivers\Version-4
  5. Expand the Version 4 key and locate your printer. Right-click it and choose Delete.
    registry printer
  6. After doing that, go to the following path in File Explorer: C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\w32x863
  7. Delete all files from that folder. If you have the w32x861 or w32x862 folders instead on your PC, be sure to delete all files from those folders as well.
    • Bear in mind that some printers can have extra folders, so you’ll have to find those folders and delete them. For example, HP’s printers have hphp and Hewlett_Packard additional folders.
  8. Delete the .inf files that are linked to the removed drivers %windir%inf.
  9. Start Command Prompt as administrator and enter net start spooler. Press Enter to execute the command.

We have to mention that this is an advanced procedure, so be extra cautious while performing it. First, you need to uninstall all printers from your PC. After all, printers are uninstalled, do the steps above.

Bear in mind that this is an advanced solution, therefore we advise you to create a System Restore point so you can restore your PC in case anything goes wrong.

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If you can’t access the Registry editor, check out our comprehensive article to solve the issue quickly.

7. Update the printer drivers

7.1 Update the drivers manually

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager from the list.
  2. Expand Print queues and select your printer.
  3. Right-click your printer and go to Update driver.
  4. Follow the instructions to update the printer driver.
  5. Restart your computer.

If none of the previous workarounds resolved the problem, let’s try updating the printer driver to the latest version. Follow the steps above to do that.

7.2 Update the drivers automatically

If you don’t want the hassle of searching for drivers on your own, you can use a tool that will do this for you automatically.

The software recommended below will help you update drivers automatically and hassle-free with minimum effort on your part.

If you want a capable drivers program to update your printer drivers in minutes, this job is perfectly made for DriverFix

What can I do if I can’t remove the printer driver in use?

1. Delete the driver as every user

If you have multiple users on your PC, you might not be able to remove the printer since the driver is in use.

In order to fix this problem, you need to log in to each user account that has the printer connected and delete the device. After that, log in to the administrator account and delete the driver package.

2. Close all applications, restart explorer.exe and delete the driver

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Once the Task Manager opens, go to the Details tab.
  3. In the Details tab, locate explorer.exe, right-click it and choose End task.
  4. In Task Manager click on File and select Run new task.
  5. Create new task window will appear. Enter explorer.exe and click OK.
  6. When Explorer starts again, try to delete the printer driver.

If you can’t delete the driver, stop the Print Spooler service and try again. Be sure to turn on Spooler service back on after you delete the driver.

3. Use Kyocera Deleter tool

If you can’t remove the printer because the driver is in use, you might want to try using the Kyocera Deleter tool from Kyocera’s download center.

Users reported that this tool will delete your printer without any problem but be sure to run this tool as the administrator since it requires administrator privileges to remove your printer.

If you are the owner of a Kyocera printer, you might also be interested in consulting our comprehensive guide on how to download and use Kyocera printer drivers for Windows 10.

4. Try to delete the printer quickly after restarting the Print Spooler service

A few users reported that you can fix this problem by trying to remove the printer after restarting the Print Spooler service.

We already explained how to restart this service in one of our previous solutions, so we advise you to check it out.

This process requires speed, therefore be sure to remove the printer as soon as you restart the Print Spooler service.

According to users, you only have a few seconds to remove the printer, so be sure to do it as fast as you can. If Print Spooler doesn’t work, we have a helpful guide on how to solve its issues.

5. Disable the Bidirectional support

  1. Open Devices and Printers.
  2. Locate your printer, right-click it and select Printer properties.
  3. When the Properties window opens, go to the Ports tab and uncheck the Enable bidirectional support option.
  4. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Users reported that you can fix this problem by disabling the Bidirectional support. To do that, follow the steps above.

6. Set the Print Spooler service to Manual

Users reported that you can fix this problem by setting the Spooler service to Manual. To do that, open the Services window, locate the Print Spooler service and double click it to open its properties.

Set the Startup type to Manual and click Apply and OK to save the changes.

After that, try to remove your printer. If the uninstall tool mentions Print Spooler service, simply go to Services, locate Print Spooler service and start it.

After that, you should be able to remove your printer without any problems.

Not being able to remove a printer in Windows 10 can be a big problem, but you can usually fix this problem by restarting the Print Spooler service and trying to delete the printer again.

If that doesn’t work, be sure to try all other solutions from this article. If you have any of the following issues, the solutions presented above also apply in such cases:

  • Remove printer drivers Windows 10 Registry – sometimes, you can bypass removal errors by editing the registry. Be careful in performing any changes here.
  • Unable to remove printer windows 10 – you are in the right place since if the default way of removing a printer doesn’t work, this article has a ton of ways to help you.
  • How to remove Printer driver from Registry – users need a step by step instruction in performing this operation, which we provide in the article.

If you’re still unable to remove the printer in Windows 10, you can also consider changing your printer to a better one. You can choose one of the best wireless printers from our extensive list.

Note icon
There has been a PrintNightmare vulnerability regarding the Windows Print Spooler service. To fix the problem and counter the issue, read our guide on how to download the KB5004945 patch and stay clear.

We hope that our solutions helped you fix the printer problems. Make sure you provide us with your feedback in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • First, you uninstall any software that came from the manufacturer or that you installed. Then, go to Device Manager and uninstall the device from there. Finally, perform a scan and clean up your computer.

  • Old printers can be removed by searching in the Start menu for Devices and Printers, right-click on any one of them, and select Remove Device.

  • You can either go to All programs and features, click on HP software and select uninstall or, better yet, perform a complete uninstall using a software removal tool.

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