Communication Error on Printer – What the heck

I have searched all over the Internet to find a solution . Trust me folks till date i have not fix a single issue with these steps . But i am not giving up hope , I will try to assimilate the steps once again for Communication Error on Lexmark based printer drivers which includes DELL printer drivers and will carry them on my next venture. If i get luck i shall update this post.

( I have got these steps from different lanes and corners of the web , so i do not know whom to give the credit , so the credit goes to me …)

First , Uninstall your printer software from the system

Second , clean the printer drivers from the system and restart the spooler service :


Check in Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs; if there is an entry relating to one of the printers, select it, then click Change/Remove.  Follow the dialog and “uninstall all” or “remove all” as appropriate.  Some “printer software” have programs that show up here and it will be a good idea to remove those before going any further.

If the Print Spooler service is operational:

  1. Open the Printers (Printers and Faxes on Windows XP) folder

  2. delete all of the printers

  3. click File, Server Properties

  4. select the Drivers tab

  5. for each entry:

    1. select the entry

    2. click Remove

Usually, this will do a pretty good job of cleaning out drivers with Windows 2000 and later (not so with Windows NT 4).

If the Print Spooler service is not operational, or you want to make certain there are no printer driver remnants, either follow the instructions below or use cleanspl.exe from the Windows 2000, XP or 2003 Resource Kit (  cleanspl.exe from the Windows 2003 Resource Kit tools will work on Windows XP.

Some information about cleanspl.exe:

  • cleanspl.exe does a very thorough job of cleaning up the print spooler stuff, but it does not remove the spooler service dependency on the Lexmark service (see special information about Lexmark printer drivers).

  • You can use it to clean up the spooler stuff on another computer (i.e. remotely).

  • When you run it, it asks you if you want to remove some things that are actually delivered (and installed by default) with Windows.  In most cases, you should answer No to the corresponding prompts (you don’t want to remove the Standard TCP/IP Port or the BJ Language Monitor).

Here’s how to clean up the print spooler stuff if cleanspl.exe is not available or you prefer to do things manually.

Warning! be very careful using regedit – if you delete the wrong things, you may render your computer inoperative!

  1. open regedit (e.g. click Start, key regedit and press Enter)

  2. navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintEnvironmentsWindows NT x86Drivers

under this key, there will be the keys Version-2 and Version-3 (one or the other of these may be absent – not a problem)

the sub-keys under these contain the printer driver configuration information

delete all the sub-keys inside Version-2 and Version-3, but not these keys themselves

The Microsoft Knowledgebase article at;en-us;312052 lists some other registry entries to delete, but this is not usually necessary.

  1. open a Command Prompt window

  2. key the commands
    net stop spooler
    net start spooler

  3. open Windows Explorer

  4. navigate to %systemroot%system32spoolprinters and delete any files there.  By default, this is where the print spooler stores print files.

  5. navigate to %systemroot%system32spooldriversw32x86 (%systemroot% is usually Windows, but it might be winnt or something else; this is set when the OS is installed).

  6. inside w32x86, there will be folders with the names 2 and 3 (one or more of these may be absent – not a problem)
    delete all of the files and sub-folders in each of the 2 and 3 folders, but not the folders themselves
    inside w32x86, there may be other folders with names starting with “hewlett_packard”, “hphp” or something else; delete these folders also

  7. restart the print spooler (see steps 8 and 9 above)

At this point, the system should be pretty well back to the way it was before any printers were installed.

Some would suggest restarting Windows at this point, but with Windows 2000 and later, this does not seem to be required.

If you have a Lexmark printer, these additional steps may be necessary (thanks to Robert Orleth [MSFT] for providing this information).  The Lexmark printer installation process sometimes installs a service that makes the print spooler service dependent on itself.  If there is a problem with Lexmark service or a Lexmark printer driver (or you removed it using the steps above), the print spooler service may not start (see also;en-us;324757).  The steps below make the print spooler service only dependent on the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service (RPCSS), which is normal.  The print spooler service dependencies are stored in the registry at


The sc config command at step 16 resets the value of that entry.

  1. Open a Command Prompt window

  2. key the command
    sc config spooler depend= RPCSS
    (note the space after the = but not before)

  3. restart the print spooler (see steps 8 and 9 above


Third , Run the Patch from Dell support that claims to remove any Windows XP printer driver from the system before you reinstall the printer driver for Windows Vista .

They say :

“In order to install a printer for use after upgrading your computer from Windows® XP to Windows® Vista, the old Windows® XP drivers must be removed. The Dell Printer Vista Upgrade Assistant can be used to remove all Windows® XP drivers for Dell printers that were not removed prior to upgrading from Windows® XP to Windows® Vista.
The utility will support a superset of the languages that are supported by the Dell Vista products. The utility will remove all Dell printer drivers so subsequent printer installations will be successful.
1. Step 1
1.1 Click the “setup.exe” icon.
1.2 The “Dell Software License Agreement” window displays:
1.3 Click “Yes” to accept the terms of the License Agreement.
1.4 Click “No” if you do not accept all the terms of the License Agreement (the program will close).
2. Step 2
2.1 If you have clicked “Yes” to the “Dell Software License Agreement” window, you will see the next screen as shown below:
2.2 If you choose to proceed with the program that will uninstall the Dell software from your system, disconnect the USB cable from the printer and the computer and click OK.
3. Step 3
3.1 The software utility is now running on your system. Please wait for the software utility to be fully completed running on your system.
4. Step 4
4.1 Once the cleanup utility has removed your Dell printer drivers for Windows® XP, you can choose to either reboot the system immediately, or manually. After rebooting your system, you can install the software and drivers for your Dell printer. For more information on setting up your printer software, refer to your printer documentation.”

So , that is it . After running the patch , reboot your system , run a clean installation . If that still does not work , you gotta take off the security software from the system , if still no luck ( DAMN …. why it has to be so tough !!!) ,  follow the
easiest  step on the planet earth ” Clean Format and Windows Re installation” .

16.01.09 (8:35 PM)

Folks , It works !!!! , performed all the steps as mentioned except the Microsoft uninstaller ( As mentioned that was an optional step). This time the culprit was Norton Internet Security 2005. Deleted that , ran the rest steps religiously and the DELL V305 started printing like a mad cow.

28.02.09(11:15 PM)

Good to see that this post is getting popular and has been mentioned by one of our dear friends on his reply to a printer issue ( at the techarena website. Thank you dear friend whoever you are.  UPDATE:  Folks , I would like to introduce the concept of firewall into the discussion . If the above steps do not help you at all , try taking off the firewalls from the system completely , reboot the system and retry.


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