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Solved 0x000003eb printing error... a fix that worked for me


New Member
I've seen a lot of people chatting on threads about either being unable to fix the 0x000003eb error when installing a printer driver, or they have to find a workaround, which still doesn't work for everyone. So, I want to throw one more option out there that worked for me. Here is what I tried, followed by the solution.

OS: Windows Vista 32 bit Home Premium.

First, I tried reinstalling the printer through "Printers" in Control Panel. I tried several times, tried creating local ports, tried deleting ports, removed drivers, and that did not work.

I then tried navigating to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Monitors and deleting any third party child keys. No dice.

I then tried deleting the Windows\System32\spool\drivers\w32x86 directory. No dice. Although my error did change this time, but the next time I tried reinstalling, the 0x000003eb error returned.

I then ran an sfc /scannow command to check the file system. It did return errors, and the machine operated faster afterwards, but this didn't rectify the problem either.

I then became a little more desperate and began to prepare for the worst... a system reformat. However, I stumbled across another thread in a different forum where someone suggested that the status of "Windows Installer" be checked in the Services dialog. So, I ventured down to the start menu, and launched "Services.msc" from the search box.

I checked the status of the "Windows Installer" service and it was off, set in manual mode. The author of the thread suggested to set it to automatic and start it, so I did.

I then when back to the Printers dialog and tried reinstalling the printer. IT WORKED! After trying numerous ideas from various threads, this one idea pulled it off. So before digging deep into the registry like I did, check the status of your Windows Installer service. Enable it and set it to automatic if it's off. Apparently a Windows Update or a virus/spyware infection can cause this, I believe it was a virus on this PC that has since been quarantined. Hope this helps someone. Here is the original thread that shared this solution. It was last on the list.

Error 0X000003EB - Microsoft Answers

My Computer


Vista Guru
Gold Member
Hello dlong163 and welcome to the forums :party:

Great work! Thanks for sharing your solution with us, I'm sure others experiencing this error will really appreciate your efforts :)


My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Build #1
    Intel Core i7 3770K @4.4GHz
    ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
    Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB DDR3 1600MHz Low Profile (White)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 (2GB GDDR5)
    Sound Card
    Integrated on motherboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23" LG LCD/LED IPS
    Screen Resolution
    Hard Drives
    Samsung EVO 128GB SSD
    Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm
    2x500GB Seagate FreeAgent 5400rpm
    Corsair TX650W V2 (80+ Bronze)
    NZXT Phantom 410
    Corsair H100 Water Cooler, 1x140mm and 1x120mm stock fans
    Microsoft Desktop 2000 Wireless Mouse
    Microsoft Desktop 2000 Wireless Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    95 Mb/s Download 70 Mb/s Upload

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