I was trying to help a friend with a printer problem—running Windows 7 Home Premium, with an HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw.
The printer was not printing. Even attempting to open the "Print" dialog from Windows notepad would give an error and crash the program. Attempting to access information about the printer from "printer properties" would give an error with "C:\Windows\Explorer.exe" in the title bar; I didn't copy it down but it had some computer pointers in it (i.e. very low level).
I tried the following:
Attempted to remove the printer; printer icon didn't go away.
Attempted the solution described in this comment; was unable to remove the printer driver because it was in use.
Rebooted the computer into safe mode (with networking) and followed these steps to remove the registry entries related to the printer. On the last step, I didn't remove the "inf" files (just the registry entries), because there were so many "inf" files and I couldn't tell which (if any) referenced the printer we are having trouble with.
Booted the computer up normally, and checked the printers list. The printer was removed (yay!) and notepad could successfully open the print dialog, but complained that no printers are installed.
Then, we tried adding the printer again through the "add printer" dialog. We clicked "add network printer" and chose the correct printer (with the correct IP address) from the list.
The printer installed but then the installer crashed.
The printer icon had not appeared. We clicked "add printer" again and got the error: "Windows can't open Add Printer. The local print spooler service is not running. Please restart the spooler or restart the machine."
The printer icon did briefly appear, and didn't disappear when we attempted to remove it, but is currently not listed. Notepad successfully opens the print dialog box but there are no printers available (none installed).
I think there is a corrupt driver involved.
How can I get rid of the errors when I try to install this printer (maybe wipe out the driver completely?) and then successfully reinstall it?
More simply, how can I get this printer reinstalled correctly and working again?