System Restore Does Not Restore Printer Drivers to Original State

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This article was previously published under Q293889
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If you run System Restore to return to a checkpoint that you created before you installed your current, problematic printer driver, which has some files in common with a previously-installed printer driver, System Restore does not automatically roll back the driver to the previously installed driver.
This problem occurs because the architecture for printer drivers does not define exclusive file extensions that are used when you create printer drivers. Therefore, it is impossible to define a list of file extensions that exclusively represents printer drivers.

If you perform a search for Microsoft-provided printer driver file extensions, the results yield:
  • .dll
  • .drv
  • .cfg
  • .ini
  • .dat
  • .ntf
  • .gpd
  • .ppd
  • .out
  • .hlp
  • additional files with no extensions
This list is not exhaustive. There are additional extensions that are in use by driver manufacturers, most of which represent binary information that the printer driver needs. Unfortunately, some of these extensions are also in use as data files, and there is no exclusive way to decipher them from those files.
To resolve this problem, open the printer properties, on the Advanced tab click the last driver that you installed from the Driver list, and then click OK to apply.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

Sample Scenario

  1. You have a working printer driver installed.
  2. You use System Restore to create a checkpoint to preserve the current configuration.
  3. You upgrade the driver or install a new driver with files that are in common with the currently installed driver.
  4. After the installation, you cannot print because one of the printer driver files has a problem or is otherwise incompatible with the other drivers that are installed on the computer.
  5. You restore the computer to the checkpoint that you created before using System Restore.
  6. The printer still does not work.

For troubleshooting steps and an automatic fix for common printer problems in Windows, please see the following Microsoft web page:

Troubleshooter: Printer problems in Windows

Article ID: 293889 - Last Review: 12/06/2015 01:39:35 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional

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