How to remove a printer that can’t be deleted

Are you trying to remove a printer, but it just won’t delete? I’ve got some great tips that should get rid of it in no time.

I was working on a computer the other day – we needed to remove the printer and reinstall it again. The problem was, when we right-clicked on the printer and tried to remove the device, it just stayed on ‘removing device’. Nothing we did would get rid of it. Now like with any IT problem, the first thing we did was turn the computer off and on again, but in this case that wouldn’t do it.

So, I’ve got a list of 6 things I’d like to share with you that should get rid of a stuck printer that you can’t delete.

We’re going to be working in Devices and Printers, so first I’ll show you how to open that if you’re not there already. Go into the Start Menu, and just type in ‘control panel’. Go to Control Panel, and under Hardware and Sound you should find View Devices and Printers – click on that. Now just scroll down until you see your printer.

1. Cancel all documents

The first thing we’re going to try is cancelling all the documents before we remove the printer again.

To do this, right-click on the printer icon and click See What’s Printing. You may see a list of documents waiting to be printed.

Click the Printer menu at the top, and click Cancel All Documents. Click Yes to confirm.

Restart the computer, then try to remove the printer again.

2. Remove printer software

The next step is to remove all the printer software.

Go to the Start Menu and type Programs, and you should find an option to Add or Remove Programs in System Settings.

When the Apps & features window appears, scroll down until you find the manufacturer of your printer. If you find anything to do with your printer, click on it then click Uninstall. Remove anything else you find that relates to your printer.

Then, restart the computer and try to remove the printer again.

3. Print Management

If that doesn’t work, the third thing we’re going to try is Print Management.

Go into the Start Menu and type Print Management. Open the Print Management app.

In the left-hand panel, click on All Printers.

Then find your printer in the list. Right-click the printer, and click Delete.

Click Yes to confirm.

Restart the computer, and check Devices and Printers again. If your printer is still there, try to remove it again.

4. Print Server Properties

The next step is to try removing your printer in Print Server Properties.

Go to the Start Menu, type ‘control panel’ and open the Control Panel. Click on View Devices and Printers again.

Click once on any printer (it doesn’t have to be the one you’re trying to remove). At the top of the window, click on Print Server Properties. If you don’t see this option, click on another printer and then click Print Server Properties.

In Print Server Properties, click on the Drivers tab, and look through the list for your printer. Click on the printer, then click Remove. Select Remove Driver and Driver Package, and the click Ok.

You might find that this doesn’t remove the printer straight away. If it’s still there, close the Print Server Properties box, but leave Devices and Printers open.

Right-click on the Start button, and click Run. this will open the Run dialog. Type in ‘services.msc’ (without the quotes) then click Ok.

Scroll down the list of services until you find Print Spooler. Right-click this, and click Stop. Notice that Print Spooler should no longer say ‘Running’.

Now, open File Explorer and open C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS . Click Continue. Now delete anything you find in the PRINTERS folder, then close File Explorer.

Go back into the list of Services and find Print Spooler again. Right-click Print Spooler, and click Start. You should see Print Spooler marked as Running again.

All you need to do now is go back to Devices and Printers, click on any Printer. Click Print Server Properties, then go to the Drivers tab. Click on the printer you want to remove, then click Remove, then select Remove Driver and Driver Package, then click Ok.

5. Delete printer from the registry

If that still doesn’t work, we can try to delete the printer from the registry. WARNING: making changes in the registry can be dangerous, so if you don’t know what you’re doing in the registry, stay out of it.

Go to the Start Menu and type in ‘regedit’. Click on Regedit, and this will open the Registry Editor.

Navigate to the registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print .

Find the registry key for your printer in the left-hand panel. Right-click this, then click Delete.

Close the Registry Editor, then restart the computer. Then check Devices and Printers to see if your printer has been deleted. If it’s still there, try to remove it again.

6. Device Manager

If all the previous steps have failed, we can try deletint the printer in Device Manager.

Open the Start Menu, and type ‘device manager’. Click on Device Manager.

At the top of the Device Manager, click View and Show Hidden Devices.

Look down the list of devices. There should be a Print Queues section and a Printers Section. First, expand Print Queues and find your printer in the list. Right-click on your printer, then click Uninstall Device. If there’s a checkbox asking if you want to delete the drivers too, check that box. Then click Uninstall.

Then expand the Printers section, find your printer, and then right-click and remove it in the same way.

Once more, restart the computer then check that your printer has been removed from Devices and Printers.

That’s all!

Hopefully one of those 6 steps removed your printer, and you can now click on Add Printer to install it again. You may need to download the printer drivers again from the manufacturer’s website.

Did one of the 6 steps help you remove your stuck printer? Let me know in the comments below!

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