How to fix "Windows can’t open Add Printer" error?

Issue: Hello. When I try to add a printer in Windows, I get the “Windows can’t open Add Printer” error. Is there a way to fix this?

Solved Answer

When trying to add a printer to their computers, many Windows users frequently run into the “Windows can't open Add Printer” error. This error message might be annoying since it suggests that there is an issue with the Printer Spooler service, which is essential to Windows PC print job management.

The Printer Spooler service's inactivity or malfunction is one of the main causes of this issue. Customers can encounter issues adding new printers if the spooler service is not operating or becomes stuck. To maintain print jobs in the proper sequence and manage the print queue, the Printer Spooler service is essential. There may be interruptions to the system's printing capability if this service is affected.

Moreover, the problem can be related to a system component that isn't working that the spooler service depends on. Should any necessary dependencies be missing or broken, the Printer Spooler service might not run properly, which would prevent adding a printer.

Those who depend on printers for a variety of tasks may be greatly impacted by this issue. Productivity may suffer if a printer cannot be added, particularly in offices where printing documents is a regular part of daily tasks. Because printing is frequently required for things like school assignments, personal documents, and family-related activities, home users may also experience difficulties.

In this guide, you will find 5 steps that should help you fix “Windows can’t open Add Printer” error. You can also run a maintenance tool like FortectMac Washing Machine X9 that can fix most system errors, BSODs,[1] corrupted files, and registry[2] issues. Otherwise, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

How to fix Windows cant open Add Printer error

Solution 1. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

  • Navigate to Settings.
  • Open the System.
  • Select Troubleshooters.
  • Select Other troubleshooter.
  • Run the Printer troubleshooter from the following menu and follow the on-screen instructions.

Run the Printer Troubleshooter

Solution 2. Restart the Print Spooler Service

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  • Press the Windows key + R to open a new Run window.
  • Type services.msc and press Enter. It opens the services menu.
  • Scroll down to Print Spooler.

Restart the Print Spooler Service

  • Right-click on the service and select Stop. The service should no longer be running now.
  • Launch File Explorer and go to the following path:


  • Delete the content of the folder. By doing that, you’ll delete the printing queue. But don’t delete the folder itself.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Go back to Print Spooler and restart the service.
  • Set the Startup Type to Automatic.

If the steps above are too complicated, you can complete the same task from the Command Prompt menu:

  • Launch the Command Prompt as admin.
  • Run these commands and press Enter after each one:

net stop spooler

del /Q %systemroot%\system32\spool\printers*.*

net start spooler

Solution 3. Clear the Printer Queue

  • Open the Services app.
  • Stop the Printer Spooler service.
  • Open File Explorer by using the Windows key + E.
  • Navigate to the following location: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS.
  • Delete all files, folders, and data inside the PRINTERS folder using the Delete function.

Clear the Printer Queue

  • Start the Printer Spooler service again using the Services app.
  • Ensure the startup type of the Printer Spooler service is set to Automatic.
  • Restart your computer.

Solution 4. Change the Spooler Key

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  • Open Run by pressing the Windows key + R and enter regedit to launch the Registry Editor app.
  • Navigate to the following address in the Registry Editor: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Spooler.
  • Double-click on the DependOnService DWORD in the right-side pane.

Change the Spooler Key

  • In the Value data box, enter RPCSS and http, then press the OK button to save changes.
  • Close the Registry Editor.
  • Reboot your PC.

Solution 5. Delete Printer Processor Entries

  • Open the Registry Editor app.
  • Depending on your system architecture, navigate to the appropriate address in the address bar:
  • For 64-bit systems:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors

Delete Printer Processor Entries

  • For 32-bit systems:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x86\Print Processors

  • Within this location, clear all folders and keys except for the winprint folder.
  • Once completed, reboot your computer.

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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