Too Many Printers Can Cause Unsuccessful Boot

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Article ID: 244135 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q244135
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IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
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SYMPTOMS

When you start your computer, you may receive the following error message:
Windows NT could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

\%SystemRoot%\System32\Config\SystemHardware Profile/Last Known Good menu

CAUSE

This behavior can occur if there are too many printers installed. Based on the number and types of drivers involved, the problem may start at around 900 printers. This issue can occur for local printers as well as for network printers, or for a combination of both that exceeds around 900 printers.

Before you install the fix mentioned in the "Resolution" section, the information for local printers is saved to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
The information for network printers is saved to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers\LanManPrintServices
Because of this, the System subkey of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive in the registry may become too large to fit into the allocated memory space and may preventing the system from booting.

RESOLUTION

Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows NT Server version 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
152734 How to Obtain the Latest Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack
NOTE: To activate this fix, you must add the following registry value:
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print

Value Name : UseSoftwareKey
Value Type : REG_DWORD
Data : 1

Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003

There is a separate hotfix that addresses this issue for Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
277222 System may not start when creating a large number of logical units and volumes

WORKAROUND

For possible workarounds, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
102721 Err Msg: Windows NT Could Not Start Because the Following...

STATUS

Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Windows NT Server version 4.0, Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 6.

Windows NT 4.0

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

MORE INFORMATION

This fix moves the local printer keys from:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers
It moves the network printer keys from:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers\LanManPrintServices
to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Print\Providers\LanManPrintServices
The printer information in:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers
may not be evident until you open the printer properties for a connection, add a printer, or reboot.

You will still see registry keys and entries created in:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers
for every printer, although only a small subset of the normal information is added. This is necessary to support applications that query the registry directly for printer information.

Properties

Article ID: 244135 - Last Review: October 22, 2013 - Revision: 2.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
Keywords: 
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