Splwow64.exe process does not end after a print job finishes in Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012

Applies to: Windows 8Windows 8 EnterpriseWindows 8 Pro More

Symptoms


Consider the following scenario:
  • You have a computer that is running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.
  • You print a file by using a 32-bit application.
  • The print job is finished successfully.
In this scenario, the Splwow64.exe process does not immediately end.

Note The Splwow64.exe process is used to translate the driver model of a 64-bit operating system and a 32-bit program. Splwow64.exe is used to support the Printer Driver Isolation feature. The 32-bit version of Windows 8 has its own Splwow64.exe file, and the 32-bit version of Splwow64.exe is also affected by this issue. For more information about application isolation, see the following MSDN website:

Cause


This issue occurs because the Splwow64.exe process stays in memory for longer than necessary in order to increase system performance after a print job is finished.

Resolution


This hotfix is also available at Microsoft Update Catalog.

After you apply this hotfix, the hotfix sets the default time-out value for the Splwow64.exe process to remain in memory to two minutes. Therefore, the Splwow64.exe process ends two minutes after the last print job is finished. Additionally, you can configure this time-out value by changing the registry value. To configure the time-out value, follow these steps:

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
  2. In the search box, type regedit, and then tap or click regedit.
    UAC If you are prompted to enter an administrator password, type the password. If you are prompted to provide confirmation, provide confirmation.
  3. Locate and then tap or click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then tap or click DWORD Value.
  5. Type SplWOW64TimeOutSeconds.
  6. Press and hold or right-click SplWOW64TimeOutSeconds, and then tap or click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, enter a value, and then tap or click OK.
  8. Exit Registry Editor.
Note You must enter a value that is greater than zero in the Value data box. The value that you enter is the seconds that the system periodically waits while it checks whether the Splwow64.exe process is unloaded. This behavior occurs when that same number of seconds elapses after the last 32-bit print process has closed. Therefore, when a service process prints, the print capability is not released until the service closes, and at least the time that you specify in the Value data box has passed. For example, if you type 15 in the Value data box, and the last 32-bit process takes two minutes to print and then close, the print capability is released between two minutes 15 seconds and two minutes 30 seconds. If no time-out value is specified, the default time-out value is two minutes.

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix Download Available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft website: Note The "Hotfix Download Available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

Prerequisites

To apply this hotfix, you must be running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.

Registry information

To use the hotfix in this package, you do not have to make any changes to the registry.

Restart requirement

You must restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace a previously released hotfix.


Status


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More Information


For more information about the similar issue, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
2815716 Splwow64.exe process doesn't end after a print job finishes in the 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2
972616 You cannot use the "runas" command to print from different user accounts in a single session from a 32-bit program on a computer that is running 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista

For more information about software update terminology, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates