There is a defect within Windows 7 that will cause workstations to not reliably detect an attached print server as a Windows 2008/2012 server. This forces bizarre “point and print” behavior resulting the print driver's settings within in the Windows Registry to become corrupted. The corrupted / missing values within the registry, typically within the “Dependent Files” key, will cause inconsistent and unexpected output when printing to any print queue using the affected print driver.
Printing through an affected print queue may result in one of more of the following conditions:
- Corrupt spool files that are discarded by the print server.
- Corrupt spool files that are discarded by the printer.
- Printed output containing missing glyphs (letters).
- Printed output containing missing sections of text, graphics or images.
- Printing anomalies such as multiple pages of information printing atop one another on a single page.
An affected print queue is quite easy to spot through inspection of the queue’s printing preferences.
The illustration to the right shows the printing preferences of a proper, non-corrupted HP print driver. Note there are manufacture specific options and settings, and various tabs for quality, paper, finishing, color, etc.
The printing preferences shown in the illustration to the right depicts those of a corrupted print driver. Note the manufacture specific settings are not present. The available settings are consistent with a generic, text-only printer.
Printing through an affected print queue, like the one shown to the right, will result in very inconsistent and unexpected output, as well as the potential for the complete loss of the print job.
Digging a bit deeper into the Windows registry, it will become obvious that values are missing from required registry keys, such as the “Dependent Files” key. The illustration below shows a null value within the Depend Files key of the print driver’s registry settings.
The registry key containing print driver specific settings is:
Correcting an Affected Print Driver
Please be aware that simply correcting the print driver will not prevent the print driver from becoming corrupted once again in the future. To prevent any future occurrence, the Microsoft provided hot fixes
listed within the “Prevention” section of this document must be applied to the workstation.
- Remove (delete) all affected print queues from the workstation.
- Remove the affected print driver and print driver package from the workstation.
- Install the Microsoft supplied hot fixes referenced within the “Prevention” section of this document.
- Reboot the workstation.
- Re-add the desired print queues and print drivers to the workstation.
Prevention of Future Occurrence
Two Microsoft hot fixes have been released to address this defect in Windows 7. For more information, please refer to the Microsoft knowledge base articles listed below.