Drivers and utilitys to handle drivers

Windows 7 codec

So you upgraded to Windows 7 but are as always having issues with Codec’s (A codec is the ‘decoder/encoder’ for a video or soundfile in a specific format eg. DivX or Xvid).

Under Windows Vista the Vista Codec pack seemed to work perfectly, but I was reluctant to install it on Windows 7 out of fear to create problems for H.264 (H.264 is now native to Windows 7, which was not the case for Windows Vista).  However in the end I had to (too many things did not work without these codec’s), anyway it turned out that the Vista Codec Pack would not install on Windows 7, it cleverly detected that it was a new OS and pointed out that a new package was available here.

So all in all, my worries was laid to rest and I downloaded Windows 7 codec pack and everything was back to the old working state.

Do you need this codec pack?  Well very likely not, most users can download the VLC player this player has build in most common codec’s and can thus play most video/snd files you get hold of, however if you need to do video conversion etc. then it is a different matter, Windows then need to be able to ‘understand’ the fileformat and this may ofthen require a codec.  The rule should be, try VLC player, if its enough dont install anything more if not install the Windows 7 codec pack or Windows Vista Codec pack (also works for Windows XP).

Recovering from a dead spooler service in windows 2003

So yesterday I had a go on restoring a dead printer spooler service, a user had tried installing a HP printer using the installation wizard on the CD and something went terribly wrong and crashed the service.

spoolerservice2The service would start but would quickly come to a halt displaying a DEP warning and you would never get anywhere near the printers.

 

 

 

 

spoolservice3I tried reinstalling Windows Server 2003 SP2 in the hope that any corrupted DLL’s etc would be refurbished but to no avail, in hindsight I should have tried SFC.EXE /Scannow (checks vital Windows files) but hindsight is often way too easy 😉

 

 

 

There was no HP Jetdirect or other suspect things to uninstall.

Then I moved to restore the printers using PrintMig (we do have backups handy for just such occations see http://www.kanmandet.dk/?p=256) however as the Spooler service was not running this was impossible.

Then the time came to cleanspl.exe from the resource kit for Windows 2003 server, this was a partly success as it actually enabled the service to start – great – but as I just had clicked ‘yes’ to everything even the regular TCP/IP printing was disabled as well as ALL printers (the latter was to be expected as that is what cleanspl.exe does), ok so I tried again restoring the printers backed up with PrintMig and the problems was back the service once again could not start.
spoolservice1Examination of the eventlogs and the registry let me to believe that the culprit was the “HP Standard TCP/IP port” monitor, so after making an export of the registry, I moved to delete ALL but the LPR, Standard TCP/IP Port, USB monitor and local Port under the registry key “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintMonitors”, and sure enough now the spooler service again was up and running. Now I reverted to the exported registry and then repeated the process just removing one monitor at the time, and viola once the “HP Standard TCP/IP port” was gone the service worked fine.

So here are my suggestions if you ever run into a similar problem;
1. Before this ever happens make a backup of your printers using PrintMig

2. Run SFC.EXE /Scannow just to be sure no important windows files are corrupted.

3. Check the eventlog see if you can find any references to a “monitor” name (from the; “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintMonitors” registry key).

4. Make an export of the registry branch;
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintMonitors”,

5. Try to delete one sub-branch of the;
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintMonitors”,
branch at a time, after each delete try to start the spooler service.

 

A tip to prevent things like this to happen is to avoid all custom “monitors” (specially installed printer management software and ports), use regular TCP/IP and LPR ports whenever possible, sure it’s easier to install using some HP installation wizard but it is often not necessary and your windows installation will love you for not installing all that ‘crap’.

Some helpful links;

http://members.shaw.ca/bsanders/CleanPrinterDrivers.htm

http://www.windowsreference.com/windows-xp/how-to-clean-print-spooler-in-windows-xp2003/

http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/thread-3490411.php