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How to disable or enable application isolation in Windows 8 and in Windows Server 2012

Application isolation is a new printing feature in Windows 8 and in Windows Server 2012. This feature isolates applications from print drivers so that applications do not crash if a print driver crashes. Application isolation makes every application that interacts with a printer driver more stable.
In Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012, a printer driver that is running in isolation from applications may not have full functionality. For example, watermarks do not print correctly.
If your printer driver does not have full functionality, change the following Group Policy setting to disable application isolation:
Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Printers/Isolate print drivers from applications
  • This Group Policy setting applies only to applications that are opted into application isolation.
  • This Group Policy setting applies only to printer drivers that are loaded by applications. Printer drivers that are loaded by the print spooler are not affected by this setting.
  • After you change the Group Policy setting, you must restart the running application to apply the setting.
To have us disable or enable application isolation for you on Windows 8, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you prefer to change the setting yourself, or if you are running Windows Server 2012, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.
More information

Fix it for me

To disable or enable application isolation automatically, click the Fix it button or link. Then, click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
  • The Fix it solutions apply to Windows 8 only.
  • Close the Local Group Policy Editor before you run this wizard. Otherwise, you have to restart your computer after you run this wizard.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
  • We would appreciate your feedback. To provide feedback or to report any issues with this solution, please leave a comment on the "Fix it for me" blog or send us an email message.

Let me fix it myself

Use the Local Group Policy Editor

  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 gpedit.msc.
  3. Tap or click the displayed gpedit icon.
  4. Under Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and then select Printers.
  5. Double-tap or double-click Isolate print drivers from applications.
  6. Select Disable, and then tap or click Apply.
More information
Not all applications support isolation. By default, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, and certain other applications are configured to support application isolation.

For more information about application isolation, go to the following Microsoft MSDN website:

Article ID: 2732814 - Last Review: 02/04/2013 05:01:00 - Revision: 4.0

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2012 Foundation
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • kbexpertiseinter kbsurveynew kbhowto kbfixme kbmsifixme KB2732814