The handle is invalid: Here’s how to fix this error

By: Madeleine Dean
6 minute read

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  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues (requires upgrade).

If you’re getting the ‘ERROR_INVALID_HANDLE’ error code with ‘The handle is invalid’ description, follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to fix it.

‘The handle is invalid’ error background

This error affects Windows 10 users when they try to log in to their computers. The “The handle is invalid” error message prevents users from connecting to their accounts and actually using their PCs.

There are two main causes for this error: a recent Windows 10 update didn’t install correctly or some system files got corrupted or damaged. Here’s how one users describes this problem:

So I just installed the upgrade and it was working just fine for a while .
But now it went bat sh** crazy and BSOD […] I tried restarting the PC and it gives The Handle is invalid. […]
Another issue is when I press shutdown after the Handle invalid it stay on and wont shut down.

On Windows 10, this error also blocks the print process, leaving users unable to add a printer or use the one already installed.

‘The handle is invalid’ error also affect older versions of Windows, preventing users from installing any updates or software on their computers.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to fix the ‘The handle is invalid’ error on Windows 10, as well as on older Windows versions.

Fix: The handle is invalid on Windows 10

“The handle is invalid” error prevents users from login in

Solution 1 — Press the restart button

If you can’t access your user account due to “The handle is invalid” error, try restarting your computer several times. Many users confirmed that this simple action solves the problem.

If you don’t want to perform a hard reset, you can hold down the shift key and click the on-screen power button, select the restart option while holding the shift key, and then select “Continue to Windows 10“. This will force Windows to repair damaged or corrupted update files.

Solution 2 — Boot into Safe Mode and uninstall security updates

1. Hold down the shift key and click the on-screen power button

2. Select the restart option while holding the shift key

3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > hit Restart

4. Wait until Windows 10 reboots, and select Safe Mode.

5. Go to Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > View your update history > uninstall the latest updates > restart your computer.

Many users report that cumulative updates KB3135173 and KB3124262 are actually the culprits, and uninstalling these two updates fixed the problem.

Solution 3 — Update Citrix VDA

This solution works only for users running Citric VDA. Some Windows updates are incompatible with Citrix VDA 7.6.300, causing “The handle is invalid” error. To fix this, download cumulative update VDA 7.6.1000.

If you’re using VDA v7.7, download the newer versions of the tool, VDA 7.8 or higher, which contain the fix. For more information and a step by step guide, go to Citrix’s support page.

‘The handle is invalid’ printer error

Solution 1 — Run a full system scan

Malware may cause various issues on your computer, including errors. Perform a full system scan in order to detect any malware running on your computer. You can use Windows’ built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, or third-party antivirus solutions.

Solution 2 — Update your PC drivers

Outdated drivers may also trigger ‘The handle is invalid’ error. As a result, install the latest driver updates on your PC and see if this action solves the problem.

How to update drivers on Windows 10

You can fix the most common driver issues by installing the latest Windows updates. Simply type “update” in the Search box, and click Check for Updates to download and install the latest updates.

If you want to install particular drivers, launch Device Manager. Expand the available categories and select the device that you wish to update the driver for. To install the latest driver updates for that device, right-click on it and select Update Driver.

A third option is to download the available driver updates directly from the manufacturer’s website.

We also strongly recommend TweakBit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to automatically download all the outdated drivers on your PC. It’s a great tool which scans for updates as an antivirus scans for threats. This tool will keep your system safe as you can manually download and install the wrong driver version.

Solution 3 — Update your OS

Make sure that you’re running the latest Windows OS updates on your machine. As a quick reminder, Microsoft constantly rolls out Windows updates in order to improve the system’s stability and fix various issues. Go to Windows Update, check for updates and install the available updates.

Solution 4 — Repair your registry

The simplest way to repair your registry is to use a dedicated tool, such as CCleaner. Don’t forget to first backup your registry in case anything goes wrong. If you haven’t installed any registry cleaner on your computer, check out our article on the best registry cleaners to use on Windows 10 PCs.

You can also use Microsoft‘s System File Checker to check for system file corruption. Here’s how to run an SFC scan:

1. Go to Start > type cmd > right-click Command Prompt > select Run as Administrator

2. Now type the sfc /scannow command

3. Wait for the scanning process to complete and then restart your computer. All corrupted files will be replaced on reboot.

Solution 5 — Download the HP Universal Print Driver

Many Windows 10 users reported that downloading the HP Universal Print Driver fixed ‘The handle is invalid’ error. As a quick reminder, this tool automatically detects and configures supported HP devices and some non‑HP devices.

You can download the HP Universal Print Driver from HP’s website.

Solution 6 — Uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Print to PDF

Some users confirmed that removing the printer and installing it again fixes the issue, so you might want to try that as well.

  1. Go to Devices and Printers section.
  2. Locate Microsoft Print to PDF, right click it and choose Remove Device.
  3. Click the Add a printer button.
  4. Click The printer that I want isn’t listed.
  5. Select Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings and click Next.
  6. Select PORTPROMPT: (Local Port) from the menu and click Next.
  7. Select Microsoft and Microsoft Print to PDF.
  8. Select Replace the current driver option and click Next.
  9. Add a name for the printer and wait for Windows to install it.

Fix: ‘The handle is invalid’ on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8.1

As far as older Windows versions are concerned, ‘The handle is invalid’ error occurs when printing, when trying to copy code or text, when using Synergy to share mouse and keyboard between multiple computers, etc.

Here’s how to fix  ‘The handle is invalid’ error on older Windows versions:

Solution 1 — Install the latest updates or upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft regularly rolls out updates to all supported Windows versions. Go to Start > type “update” > click “Check for updates” > install the available updates.

Microsoft still offers Windows 10 as a free update via the Upgrade Assistant for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. If your computer is compatible with the Creators Update, hit the upgrade button to install it.

Solution 2 — Update the app affected by this error

Installing the latest version of the app affected by ‘The handle is invalid’ error may help you fix the problem. To do this, you can either use the update button of the app or go to the app’s official website and install the latest version from there.

Solution 3 — Download the HP Universal Print Driver

If ‘The handle is invalid’ error is preventing you from using your printer, download the HP Universal Print Driver. This tool automatically detects and configures supported HP devices and some non‑HP devices. You can download the HP Universal Print Driver for Windows 7 and newer from HP’s website.

We hope that these solutions helped you fix ‘The handle is invalid’ error. As always, if you’ve come across other workarounds to fix this error, you can help the WindowsReport community by listing the troubleshooting steps in the comments below.


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