If you work in an office, there are probably multiple printers added to your computer that are network printers, meaning they are not directly connected to your computer. However, as you move through companies or printers die, this list needs to be cleared from time to time.
Sometimes, when you try to delete a network printer, you may receive a message from Windows “Unable to delete network printer”, and that’s it! Great, now you have useless printers cluttering up your printer list. Fortunately, there is a way to remove any network printer from your computer through the registry. Note that you need to be an administrator for this.
Before making any changes, be sure to read my post on backing up the Windows registry. If you’d rather not mess with the registry, there is another possible solution, which I list below, that might solve the problem as well, so be sure to scroll down.
Remove network printers from Windows via Registry Editor
Step 1. Click Start, Run, then type regedit and press Enter. The Registry Editor will open.
Step 2. Navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER – Printers – Connections
You should now see a list of all network printers with the server name first, followed by a comma, and then the actual printer name.
Go ahead and click the printer in the left menu and click the Delete button, or right-click and select Delete. Unfortunately, there is more to come! You also need to remove the printer from one more location in the registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE – SYSTEM – CurrentControlSet – Control – Print – Providers – LanMan Print Services – Servers – Printers
Now, under the servers key, you should be able to expand it and see the name of the print server that actually hosts the printer you want to delete. Go ahead and expand the print server key and remove the printer from the list.
Now close the registry editor and restart your computer. The refurbished network printer should be gone! Please note that the above method is only for network printers. If you have a local printer and want to delete it in the same way through the registry, you need to go to the following registry keys below:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Print Environments Windows NT x86 Drivers Version-3
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Print Printers
Clear print queue
It is also a known issue that you will not be able to delete a printer if a print job is stuck in the printer queue. You can determine if a print job is stuck by navigating to the C: Windows System32 spool PRINTERS folder and making sure it is empty.
If not, then you can follow my previous article on how to force flush the printer queue in Windows. Once you clear the printer queue, you can remove it from your system.
If you need to reinstall the printer on your computer, check out my post on How to Install a Network Printer on Your Home or Office Network. Enjoy!