Error Message Occurs When Attempting to Delete Unknown Printer Ports

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When you attempt to delete a port that is listed in your printer's properties page, you may receive the following error message:

This port is currently in use by a printer and cannot be removed. Make sure no printer is connected to this port.


This issue can occur when programs automatically install a printer port path but do not assign or use a port assignment. For example, Microsoft Fax and Microsoft Publisher install a printer port path but do not associate a printer port. These programs use the default printer to print files.


To work around this issue, edit the Win.ini file and disable the lines for the unknown ports:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.

  2. Type msconfig, and then click OK.

  3. Click the Win.ini tab, click to expand the Ports section, and then click to clear the check boxes associated with the ports.

  4. Click OK, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.

NOTE: The line "File:= is" should not be disabled.

More Information

These ports may be listed in the Print to the following port section, on the Details tab of your printer's properties page. If you click the list of ports, you may find a listing for one or more "unknown local port".

The unknown local ports may be listed as:

PUB: (Unknown local port)
FAX: (Unknown local port)
The entries for these ports are listed in the Ports section of the Win.ini file:

NOTE: If the program that installed this port entry has been removed from your computer, you may be able to delete the port with the Delete Port feature.

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