posted on February 06, 2007 05:24
I installed Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 a few days ago.
I can't help it... I'm a committed early adopter, and my MSDN subscription was burning a hole in my pocket. Also, I had a nagging problem with Outlook that I've seen documented elsewhere, namely that it kept freezing up for several seconds at a time. Ugh. I hoped that the upgrade might cure the problem.
Fat chance. Not only did the problem get worse in Outlook 2007, but my printer quit working!
Now, I have an HP OfficeJet 7310. It's a multifunction device, and I connect to it through my network. Software on the client side allows me to direct scans and such to any machine on the network. It's a slick setup, but I just couldn't get it to work at all after the Office upgrade.
After noodling on the problem for a couple of days, I finally made this critical observation: the Printer Driver Service (that's the spoolsv.exe process) was starting and stopping just as fast as it could cycle. Note that it was not failing... the service was set to log errors, and the application log was clean... but the second or two it was operating at a stretch was nowhere nearly long enough to get anything done.
While I couldn't find anything addressing the problem directly, I did find this page, which advised me that (a) problems with this process typically are caused by a faulty driver, and (b) there's a Windows Resource Kit application that has had some success in cleaning up the print spooler.
Keep in mind that the Office 2007 installation does actually install a couple of new drivers. What are they? I couldn't say... I nuked them troubleshooting this problem. As far as I could tell, though, they are for producing document images in a couple of MS reader formats that nobody uses anyway, so small loss. Still, deleting these drivers didn't solve the problem.
Enter cleansv.exe. It actually lives in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit, but my source said that it would work fine in XP, and that turned out to be the case. After downloading and installing the Resource Kit, you have to run the Command Shell, whereupon you can run the utility by entering cleansv at the command line.
The utility allows you to clean the print server on the host machine—the default—or on any other machine on your network for which you have appropriate permissions. During the process, the utility prompts you regarding each driver installed on your machine, so take care not to nuke anything you shouldn't.
In my case, since I had already manually uninstalled every driver I considered suspect, I declined all the choices. Since the utility still solved my problem, I can only assume that it performed some behind-the-scenes registry cleaning that I wouldn't otherwise have known to do.
Anyway, problem solved.