[German]Microsoft has just confirmed that some Windows systems may experience problems with printers after the September 2019 updates has bee installed. Here are an overview and also the details I know so far.
The printing issues – a brief review
In Windows 10 version 1903, some users recognized that the printer queue crashes after installing the KB4517211 update and they could no longer print. Specifically, the spooler service for the printers crashes, causing no printers to be detected by applications. The affected person can restart the service, but it crashes again during printing.
After a reader comment, I had briefly mentioned the issue within my blog post Windows 10: Issues with Updates KB4522015, KB4522016 / KB4517211 (Sept. 2019). When writing the post, I still assumed that this could be an isolated case for one user. Afterwards, however, a number of independent confirmations came from readers both here and in the German-language blog. So later I decided to create a separate blog post Windows10 V1903: Update KB4517211 causes printer issues.
After receiving additional confirmations from more users, I found a post in the Microsoft Answers forum and escalated the issue to Microsoft moderators – together with the request to forward this with a link to my post above to Microsoft’s developers (as a Microsoft Answers community moderator I still can do that). .
Issue confirmed for all Windows versions
Meanwhile Microsoft has confirmed this error in the Windows 10 V1903 status page (my colleagues noticed this, because I haven’t found anything in the KB articles yet). Microsoft writes with date September 30, 2019:
Intermittent issues when printing
The print spooler service may intermittently have issues completing a print job and may result in a print job being canceled or failing. Some apps may close or error when the print spooler fails and you may receive a remote procedure call error (RPC error) from some printing utility or printing apps.
So everything that my blog readers have also reported here as comments to my posts. Interesting is, however, that all Windows versions may be be affected.
- Client: Windows 10, Version 1903; Windows 10, Version 1809; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019; Windows 10, Version 1803; Windows 10, Version 1709; Windows 10, Version 1703; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2016; Windows 10, Version 1607; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015; Windows 8.1; Windows 7 SP1
- Server: Windows Server, Version 1903; Windows Server, Version 1809; Windows Server 2019; Windows Server, Version 1803; Windows Server, Version 1709; Windows Server 2016; Windows Server 2012 R2; Windows Server 2012; Windows Server 2012; Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1; Windows Server 2008 SP2
Microsoft is working on a solution and pans to release an update for Windows in future. Currently uninstalling update KB4517211 may solve the issue.
At this point I took a closer look at the Microsoft article, because this issue doesn’t hit all users. And in contrast to the comments, which I got here in the blog, users of Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or Windows Server can also be affected. I will outline more within the following text.
Is there a workaround?
Microsoft writes that affected users can try to print again and that this might even work. If that doesn’t work, and you can’t print by retrying, you should restart the device (interesting workaround ‘have you tried to switch it off and on again).
If the device uses a v4 printer driver and a v3 driver is available, you can also try to install the older v3 driver as a workaround. This also explains why for some people have been successful, installing the printer driver using the .inf files in device manager fixed the issue, while re-installing the latest printer driver doesn’t repair it.
Just in case, somebody wondering what v3 drivers are. It’s the old driver architecture used for Windows 2000 7 up to Windows 7. Microsoft decided to establish a new printer driver architecture v4 for Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 and declare old v3 drivers as legacy. See this post and this article for more details.
But I’m guessing that some people can’t avoid uninstalling update KB4517211 and then waiting for a fix from Microsoft.
Microsoft blame Internet Explorer Update KB4522016
When I then saw that Microsoft was providing the security update KB4522016 (for Win 10 V1903) from September 23, 2019, things became clear to me. Because that was the security update for Internet Explorer that I described in the blog post Windows: Vulnerabilities in IE and Defender (09/23/2019). And that explains, why not all users are affected. Because this update was only available for download in the Microsoft Update Catalog.
Question: Can affected persons confirm that the IE security update was installed there and that the bug is gone after uninstalling the security update? A list of updates for distinct Windows versions may be found in the blog post Windows: Vulnerabilities in IE and Defender (09/23/2019).
Addendum: According to the feedback I got within my German blog, my doubts that KB4522016 is the root cause of the printer issues are confirmed. Users with printer issues did not install the KB4522016 update (or one of the other update for distinct Windows versions). So I guess it can’t be the (only) roote cause.
Addendum 2: Microsoft released a fix on October 3, 2019 – see my blog post Windows Updates fixes printer bug (Oct. 3, 2019) for further details.
Windows 10: Issues with Updates KB4522015, KB4522016 / KB4517211 (Sept. 2019)Windows 10 V1903: Update KB4517211 released (09/26/2019)
Windows 10 Version 1903: Ready for broad realease
Windows 10 19H2 Insider Preview in Release Preview Ring
Windows10 V1903: Update KB4517211 causes printer issues
Windows: Vulnerabilities in IE and Defender (09/23/2019)