Microsoft Windows Experts

Windows cannot connect to the printer. Operation failed with error 0x0000007e October 9, 2011

Recently we started experiencing a strange issue with connecting to printers on Windows-7 x64 based client boxes, we were getting the following error every time we try to connect a printer:

Windows cannot connect to the printer.

Operation failed with error 0x0000007e.

So, 64-bit Windows 7 installed, we checked all was okay. Oops… x64 windows needs x64 printer drivers. 64-bit drivers added to the Server 2003 x86 based Print server, the client machines would download the driver (we were using the HP Universal print driver PCL 6) but then fail with the following error when trying to connect to the printer:

Windows cannot connect to the printer.

Operation failed with error 0x0000007e.

So we tried PCL5. No luck. None of the HP drivers would work. Googling the error showed lots of people in the same position – with 64-bit Windows Vista or Windows 7 and a 32-bit print server. The only suggested workaround is to add the printer manually to a workstation as a local printer, and picking up the driver from a CD or download that way (not from the print server).

So… in comes Process Monitor. Not long before the dreaded error message, spoolsv.exe looks in a registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Providers\Client Side Rendering Print Provider\Servers\[SERVERNAME]\Printers\{0000-guid-of-printer-00}\CopyFiles\BIDI\Module that tells it to go find (system32) spool\DRIVERS\W32X86\3\hpcpn081.dll. This doesn’t exist, hence the ‘module not found’ error 7e. The driver installation does, interestingly, copy a newer hpcpn104.dll into this directory. Getting warmer!

Copying hpcpn081.dll from \\PRINTSERVER\print$\x64\3 to c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3… printer installs successfully! So, why is it copying the wrong dll? Well, a short dig through the server’s registry reveals a key similar to the one on the client, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers\[PRINTERNAME]\CopyFiles\BIDI. The “Module” value points to spool\DRIVERS\W32X86\3\hpcpn104.dll. Change this to hpcpn081.dll and hey presto, all is fixed.

No having to deploy drivers to all machines or send the desktop teams round… just tweak this value for each of your stubborn printers!

Just go to your print server and change

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers\[PRINTERNAME]\CopyFiles\BIDI\Module

from hpcpn104.dll to hpcpn081.dll

Hope it helps…



FYI: The Point and Print User configuration policy is ignored by Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Service Pack 2 release of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008. April 17, 2011

We all have encountered issues with setting up Point & Print Restrictions in Vista+ Operating Systems, this is the most recent fix from Microsoft PSS….Hope it helps..if not please drop a comment…

Knowledge Base Article: 2307161