I have this very weird and hard to solve problem on my domain controller (Windows Server 2022).
I have 3 Windows Servers in my domain: Server1 is a member server which acts only a print server (printers are installed on this server and shared).
Server2 is the (only) domain controller. Printers shared on Server1 are deployed to users via a user-GPO. In the past these printers got installed on the DC itself but now I have denied this GPO to deploy printers on the DC/user that logs on to this DC.
Server3: just a file server (member server)
The weird thing is: the network printers that were once installed through GPO, I cannot delete them permanently ! When I deleted these printers from Server2 (right click-remove device) they got deleted but after a reboot, they show up again.
I don't understand why they're coming back as an installed printer because:
- GPO is excluded now. The proof is, after deleting the printers (Devices & Printers is empty), I run GPUPDATE /FORCE and they do not show up again! It's only after a reboot that the printers come back.
- Proof number 2 is more convincing: I deleted the printers (Devices & Printers is empty), I disable all network connectivity for this Server2 and reboot the server2 via the console. After reboot, the printers are back while still not having network connectivity at all.
What have I done already ?
- cleaned up the Device Manager for old hidden printers
- emptied the following key in the registry: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\SWD\PRINTENUM
- emptied the following key in the registry: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers
- sfc /scannow
- dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
Some facts I noticed:
When I log on with another admin account on this Server2, the printers are also installed again automatically.
When I go into Powershell and launch: GET-PRINTER, the list is empty while they are shown in DEVICES & PRINTERS !!! of course I cannot delete them from powershell also then.
I also notice that I cannot install network printers anymore manually on this Server2 ... I can browse to the shared printer but when I try to connect to it, it says: Connecting to on Server1 ... nothing more (no timeout or error)
when logging on with the same admin-account on Server3, everything is OK (no printers that are installed automatically)
Server2 is a brand new server just setup last week.
I really have not more idea why is this and where this is coming from. I even searched the whole registry for these printer names and deleted everything I found with these names but still those printers show up again as installed.
Many thanks in advance for helping me with this.