How To Solve "Spooler Subsystem App Has Encountered A Problem"

I recently had a troubleshooting call in my computer repair business involving an office printer that would not install the print driver software. During the installation, an error message appeared that read “Spooler subsystem app has encountered a problem and needs to close”. This occurred at an automotive repair garage that had to be able to print invoices and automotive diagrams, so they were in a real bind.

Spooler Subsystem App

After researching the problem, I came across a Microsoft support article that described how to resolve the issue.

  • The first step is to restart the Windows XP computer. Pressing the F8 key every couple seconds at the beginning of the reboot process will bring up a black and white text screen showing a number of options. Just use the up and down arrow keys to select “Safe Mode”. The screen will scroll up with some information and enter Windows after a couple of minutes.

  • The next step is to delete the spool printer and driver files. Remove these folders,


    • C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers
    • C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers\w32x86

  • The next step is to edit the system registry keys. To start the registry editor, click “Start” then “Run” and type “regedit” in the run box then press enter. Locate and expand the following registry key: 

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86 

    In the subkey list, there should only be the following subkey: "Drivers and Print Processors". If there are any other subkeys, they need to be deleted.

  • Next, we need to check another registry entry. Locate and expand the following registry key: 


    In the subkey list, there should only be the following subkeys,


    • BJ Language Monitor
    • Local Port
    • PJL Language Monitor
    • Standard TCP/IP Port
    • USB Monitor


If there are any other subkeys, they need to be deleted.

After exiting the registry editor, I went into the Windows control panel and clicked the "Add/Remove Programs" icon. I uninstalled all the printer software so I could start over with a clean slate. It may also be a good idea to perform a registry scan using Eusing Registry, Glary Utilities, C Cleaner, or something similar. I then restarted the PC and reinstalled the print driver software. It proceeded without a hitch - the printing worked fine.

Spooler Subsystem App

As intimidating as these arcane error messages may be, they can still be quickly overcome when one has the right information for dealing with it. Quite often, it’s not what or how much you know, but rather how good you are at researching what you don’t know.

Reference: Microsoft support article #810894