Corrupt Win2K Printer Registry Keys

We recently ran into a problem on our Windows 2000 client systems in which a user with Administrative privileges couldn't launch applications such as Jasc Software's Paint Shop Pro 5.0 and Netscape Navigator 4.76. When the user attempted to launch these applications, explorer.exe would crash.

To solve this problem, I tried logging on to the machine by using a different administrator-level account and launching the problem applications. The applications worked fine, so I knew the problem wasn't the applications or corrupt system files. This discovery also led me to believe that the problem was related to the first user's profile.

Over the past few months, several Microsoft articles have attested to Win2K's inability to monitor print jobs on network printers in a mixed Win2K and Windows NT 4.0 environment. In addition, under certain circumstances, Win2K doesn't let users remove printers from their profiles. Given this history, I looked to the user's printer configuration for a solution to the problem.

I began by trying to uninstall two network printers from the first user's profile. While I was logged on as that user, Win2K wouldn't permit this action, saying the system couldn't find the share. I knew the share was valid because I could print to the printers from the first user's account. Using a registry editor, I navigated to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Connections subkey and deleted the subkeys that referenced the two printers. The problem applications immediately worked again. I reinstalled the network printers and the problem was resolved.

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