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I have users at my work place on a couple different types of machines, all running Windows XP x86 SP3 that constantly experience the spooler subsystem app error, leading to constant crashes and printing errors. They normally have an HP printer, either a laserjet 1012/1018/1020 and the error normally comes up whenever a user attempts to print an attachment (usually a pdf) which initiates the problem.

My question would be why does this happen? What exactly is causing this issue and what can I do to eliminate it from my network besides uninstalling the printers all together? Has anyone been able to find the link between Adobe and the this issue?

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  • I had a similar issue. Somehow or another a job was corrupted. I had to clear the print queue to fix it.
    – Jeff F.
    May 17, 2011 at 17:05

2 Answers 2

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I've been experiencing this problem with Adobe Reader 9. Uninstalling Adobe Reader 9 and then installing Adobe Reader X (version 10) seems to resolve this problem, but upgrading from 9 to X does not. Don't upgrade - download Adobe Reader X, do a complete uninstall of 9, then a fresh install of X.

If you have any print jobs that are crashing the print spooler, you'll also need to clear those out of the queue manually. These print jobs are usually stored under:

C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers

If they're not there, then check the following Windows Registry setting for the customized path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\DefaultSpoolDirectory
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  • I will look into this solution, thank you for your contribution but this would seemingly only help users who use Adobe Reader, however a greater number of my users have Adobe Acrobat 8 or 9 because Reader doesn't have all of the features needed for our staff. Any other recommendations? May 17, 2011 at 16:34
  • You mentioned "printing a PDF" and so I assumed you implied Adobe Reader was being used since this is what most people use. Also, when users have printing problems they usually don't know which program caused it (due to being non-technical) as they usually try a few different programs before asking for help. May 17, 2011 at 16:47
  • Yes I understand, I should have clarified. Well yes the case is they are using Adobe Acrobat and I have been able to replicate the issue is normally caused after a user tries to print a PDF. I do have a few users on Reader so I will uninstall and reinstall Reader X. May 17, 2011 at 17:25
  • Adobe Acrobat, if not version 10, could actually have the same problem. Trying to fix this on the other machines first is a good idea though. Also: Make sure you're using the PCL 6 series of drivers as these are newer and result in smaller print job files (the PCL 6 language is more efficient than PCL 5). May 17, 2011 at 17:34
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All the printers mentioned use host based printing. Have you checked to be sure you have latest drivers? Also try setting the printer to use WinPrint and RAW default data type rather than an HP provided. Right click printer-then click Properties then click advanced. Have seen the HP ones give this error

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  • Yes the HP ones give this error. It seems as though the problem lies with these particular models. The only way I know to fix the sub spooler system app issue is to follow steps to remove the printer from the registry and do a complete reinstall, each time I get the latest driver but this often only temporarily remedies the issue (it will re-emerge later). What would I be setting to use RAW and/or WinPrint? Can you explain? May 17, 2011 at 16:33
  • The use of RAW and WinPrint are how the data goes to the printer and the print processor used. Switching is simple as you just select from a list and you can easily change back. This has fixed this on several 10XX printers in the past.
    – Dave M
    May 17, 2011 at 18:53

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