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Printing PDF Files cause Print spooler to crash with HP Laserjet 1020

Problem Description:

You are unable to print a PDF document using adobe acrobat version 7, 8, or 9 on Windows XP, Vista, or on Mac OS X. This only happens when you print to an HP printer, in particular a LaserJet 1020.

When you try to send a PDF to the printer you get a message saying that the print spooler has crashed, or has become unresponsive. As a result you are unable to print to any other printers, or access your print jobs.

Cause of the Problem:

There is a bug in the HP print driver. This particular issue has been seen the most with HP LaserJet 1020's and has also been seen on a few other HP printers including inkjets.

Adobe acrobat will try to make use of advanced printing features when it detects that they are available. The HP driver reports these features as available, and as a result a bad print spooler file is created causing the print spooler to crash.

HP has been notified of this issue for several months and has yet to provide any working patches to correct the issue, and claim the problem is not with their driver.

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If you have not already you will need to remove the bad files from your print spooler.

  1. Stop the printer spool service by right clicking on your My Computer icon and selecting "Manage"
  2. Expand "Services and Applications" and the click on services
  3. Browse through the list of services and find "Printer Spooler".
  4. Right click on the "Print Spooler" service and select "Stop" if Stop is grayed out or disabled and "Start" is an available option, then the service is already stopped.
  5. Go to the c:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers folder
  6. You should see some files in this directory with a .SHD file extension or a .SPL extension you will want to delete these. In some cases you may see other files in this directory as well, and in general it is safe to delete them. Files besides the .SHD and .SPL should be backed up before you delete them to be safe.
  7. You may either reboot the computer or Start the "Print Spooler" service manually.

Once your print spool is clear you can now proceed with the following on the trouble computer:

First you will want to turn off any advanced printing features for your printer.

  1. Click on Start then control panel, and then Printer and Faxes
  2. Right click on the HP Laserjet 1020 (or other affected) printer and select Properties
  3. Click on the Advanced tab
  4. Uncheck "Enable advanced printing features"
  5. Click the OK button

With that done, you will also need to make sure that you do not create PDF print jobs that the printer may still not work with.

  1. Open a PDF file with Adobe reader
  2. Go to File and then Print
  3. Look for the Advanced button towards the bottom left and click on it
  4. You should see an option on this screen that says "Print as Image". Place a check mark there and press Ok.
  5. You can now press the print button and it should work fine. Be sure to always check that "Print as Image" option before printing a PDF document.

You may also opt to use another PDF viewer/reader called Foxit as it does not have these additional printing capabilities built into it. However checking the "Print as image" option will work for most people.

Related Programs and Devices:
HP Laserjet 1020 , Windows XP , Windows Vista , Mac OS X , Adobe Acrobat

Last Updated: 10/01/2009 09:07 AM

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