Updated for MS Windows 10 – How To ‘Really’ Remove Unused Print Drivers From Your Windows XP/7/8/10 PC or Tablet

How To Completely Remove Print Drivers From Your System – Windows XP

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Let’s assume that you have deleted the print drivers from your Printer Folder in the traditional manner and that your Printer Folder is still open.

Microsoft Windows Printer Folder

Next, select “Server Properties” from the “File” drop-down menu.  Then, click on the “Drivers” tab.

imageHere you can see that there are three print drivers installed for a single printer, the Hewlett-Packard  2500C Series.

But wait, there is only one icon for this printer in the Printer Folder. How can that be?  This is a result of failed attempts to get the right print driver installed for this cranky but reliable and versatile printer, and a perfect example of why you need to periodically perform advanced maintenance chores on your PC. However, which drivers should I delete?  Deleting the wrong driver is not a good thing. However, Windows usually complains (what else is new?) if you try to delete the drivers for an active printer.  Just to be sure, I will verify which version of the print driver is currently in use. Back in the Printer Folder, I click on the printer icon, select “Printer Properties” and navigate to the “Advanced” tab.

Here, we can see that the driver in use is called “hp psc 2500 series.”  Now we will go back and delete the unused “HP 2500C Series” and “HP 2500C Series PCL5Ce” print drivers from the system.

imageHighlight the print driver in question and click “Remove” to really delete the print driver from your system.

imageOnce you click “Yes,” it’s over and done with.  Now let’s remove the other unused print drivers from my system.

But wait!  What is this “PCL 6 Driver for Univers…” all about?  Is it related to the HP Universal Print Driver that I have chosen to remain on my system?  I highlight the print driver and click “Properties.”  The following screen shot explains it all and clearly shows who the culprit is.

This driver is left over from my evaluation of Ricoh‘s Universal Print Driver.  Since I am not using the driver, and the icon has been deleted from the Printer Folder, I conclude that it can safely removed.


What does this mean?  This message means exactly what it says.  Even though the icon is not in the Printer Folder, the system is still using the software.  Now we must take the process a step further in order to completely eradicate this print driver from the system.

My experience has shown that when this happens, there are several complicit factors: 1) there are jobs in the print queue; or 2) another printer is attached to the port to which this print driver was previously assigned.  I discover that there are no print jobs in any queue so let’s once again take a look at the port settings under “Server Properties.”

Nothing looks too out of place here except a “PrinterSwitcherPort” that was created during the Ricoh UPD evaluation.  Sounds like a likely suspect!  Let’s click “Delete Port” and see what happens.

(At this point, I realize that I haven’t rebooted the PC since I removed the Ricoh UPD.  Ten minutes later after the reboot process, the “Delete Port” process works successfully.  Now I can try to delete the remnants of the printer driver once again.

As you can see, I was still not able to completely delete the print driver from my system.

At this point, I really don’t know what more I can do to get rid of the useless print driver. I know that I’ve got more research to do and suspect that I may have to ultimately edit the Windows registry to get things straightened out. I do remember that in the past, I’ve had to reinstall a print driver and then repeat the arduous process outlined above to truly eradicate it—and I don’t want to go through that particular installation process again (see previous post).

For now, I’m down but not out and I guess I’m just going to have to live with it.  After all, I did get rid of a couple of useless print drivers that I do not use or need.  You may be wondering “what’s the big deal?”  The big deal is that this is a perfect example of how over time, your shiny new PC can turn into an overweight slug and you can’t do anything about it. Oh, I just thought of a surefire solution—I could buy a new PC!  Somehow I get the sinking feeling that this is what “they” really wanted me to do in the first place . . .


47 Responses

  1. Ken says:

    Just browsing around and came across this deleting print driver stuff. Having tested thousands of devices here in the US and Japan, Singapore or wherever the methods Terry described are accurate but quite a few manufacturers are still very poor at creating clean uninstall utilities. The worst is when a newer driver is installed from the same manufacturer over an existing older driver and the dlls get overwritten, then it is very difficult to uninstall the older driver or if a different driver from the same manufacturer will cause a similiar problem. Sometimes with these drivers it is faster and more efective to start over with a fresh image of the drive and then reinstall the devices that were lost or just save the current image as is for use later. When you think about it for most, How many devices is an individual really going to install in their personal pc? In addition probably some of the code gets lost in translation. Nonetheless, from the start I would always create a clean system image of the primary drive using Windows bulletproof Backup and Restore which thankfully MS retained in Win10 and in fact labeled it “Bakup and Restore Windows 7” in control panel. This is not the same as using any Restore point or any other built in restore/recovery method in Win10 as it can be used to create an exact “image” of the drive. In fact, at times when traveling when I needed to use the current image I would back that up and then restore it for later use because I needed to look at the drivers for evaluation. If using a pc as the test rig, the first thing is to make the primary partition an acceptable size. Hopefully you do not need 1 Terrabyte drive for a test rig and are not using the pc as your personal pc but it still can be done as any image can be retored to exactly where it was but have to be careful to not delete anything you may need. If using a very large drive it will work too but more time consuming. Probably do not need the entire drive but Windows made resizing partitions convenient too, finally. If right click on “This PC” and select “Manage” the Disk management then create new partition. Once the primary partition is to the size you want with no devices installed and Windows updated. If a mechanical drive I usually defrag the drive and wipe the free space clean because it makes the backup go faster. You do need to create a repair disc as the PC has to be rebooted to restore an image (if the pc has a CD drive or most new pcs, a USB drive can be used). I had to with virtually no available resources available when in another country or in the field somewhere would save a “clean” image to a partition on a separate partition on the internal drive or can save the image to an external USB device, most are relatively inexpensive now. Unfortunately appears I am unable to post any screen shots. Anyway, to create the image after selecting the backup and restore select “Change Settings”, then on the next screen select where you want to store the image, there will probably be several selections. If you have an external drive select that or can use a partition on the internal drive. One the next screen “What do yo want to back up?” uncheck everything in the top part and only check on the bottom which should say, “Include a system image of drives: Windows Recovery Environment, (C:)”. Select Next and then Save settings and run backup”. Windows automatically creates a folder on the selected drive named “WindowsImageBackup”. Multiple images can be stored in the same folder from the same pc or from other devices and if you open the folder you can see they use the PC name. If different pcs images are stored there in the same folder you do have to know the name of the pc you want to restore. If accidentally restore an image fro another pc, then have to start the restore process over. Probably sounds complicated but is quite efficient. It is faster than reinstalling windows though Win10 is better at that and much more reliable than using a restore point which is also better on Win10. The nice part of using this is you can always save the current image in the state that it is in before overwritting it with a “clean” image but have to be observent of the date/time when the image was created. This pc is just a run of mill pc I built, guess I am getting old I still build my own PCs, my C drive is about 75GB and takes about 20 minutes to restore the drive. I guess could use a cloud server to save/restore too. I have tried this on one of my PCs that has a SSD and haven’t ran into any problems either. The process always requires some periodic maintenance in the form of running updates after restoring a clean image but Win10 is quite efficient and usually reliable.

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