SOLVED: “Access is denied, unable to remove” when deleting printer

It’s amazing to see that many years after I first wrote this post, visitors are still finding it useful!

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Many organisations push out printer installations via Active Directory. If you want to tidy up those printers (removing ones you don’t use) you may find Windows 7 doesn’t let you delete them, even though you may be a local administrator and even if you use an elevated Explorer session:

Access denied error

Use the following steps to resolve this annoyance.

From an elevated command prompt:

C:\Windows\system32>net stop spooler
The Print Spooler service is stopping.
The Print Spooler service was stopped successfully.

Then fire up regedit. Navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections and delete the offending printer:

printers regedit

Finally, restart the print spooler:

C:\Windows\system32>net start spooler
The Print Spooler service is starting.
The Print Spooler service was started successfully.

36 Replies to “SOLVED: “Access is denied, unable to remove” when deleting printer”

  1. Thanks for the excellent tip. I must have visited 20 websites today. Most of them said stop the spoiler service which did not stop the error. No one made it as simple as you did.

  2. This is awesome!

    Thank you so much!!

    I’ve been looking at so many threads and yours hit it right on the money. I finally got rid of that darn printer that was like a torn in shoe πŸ™‚

    Great post!

    1. The most likely explanation is that this is a domain-connected (corporate) PC and the printer is being pushed out by Group Policy. If so, there’s little you can do about it except inform your IT department you don’t need that printer.

  3. Thanks for the nice tip. It was removed first but after I refreshed, it popped up again (Ouch!). I also deleted it when I found it under a different User Profile. I have not had time to check Group Policy yet but will give it a shot.

  4. …and Bob’s your uncle!~

    Had a couple of printers on a Windoze box that were removed from the domain controller and were unable to remove them through control panel. Used the above instructs and it work flawlessly.

    Easy as Pi (not Raspberry)…thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you. That worked.

    Found that I needed to remove the printers from server2003 or else they would come back. Could not find a group policy that was pushing this and the printer is not on the domain controller, but deleting the printers and then the registry entry did the trick.

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