• Can’t delete duplicate HP LaserJet 4000 printers

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    Have encountered one of the most frustrating problems regarding PC’s. Few days ago I added more memory to my desktop running Win 10 21H2 x64. When PC booted back up, was unable to print with LJ4000 which for literally years has been connected to PC via USB – LPT converter cable. Win10 kept throwing an Error Code 45 essentially saying there was no communication between the LJ4000 and the desktop, check the connections. Connections were fine and system re-booted but threw an error code that drivers were missing. (Did try a different cable and ports with no change.)

    Reinstalled LJ4000 drivers from HP without success. Eventually tried to delete printer and reinstall but Windows would not allow. Unexpectedly LJ seemingly went on-line and was able to manually print a test page.  “Printers & Scanners”  shows  4 HP LJ4000s installed

    a HP LJ 4000 Series PCL 5 (Copy 1) with “driver unavailable;

    a HP LJ 4000 Series PCL5 with “driver unavailable”,

    another HP LJ 4000 (Copy 1) (yes shows 2 Copy 1 printers) “offline”

    and a HP LJ 4000 Series PCL 5 (Copy 2) “default”.

    Under “Device Manager” “Printer”  has a HP LJ 4000 Series 5 PCL and at “Printer Queues” the HP LJ 4000 Series 5 PCL (Copy 2)

    When going to the print menu in any program such as Word or Notepad, all 4 HP LJs show up; if you select the Copy 2 printer everything prints perfectly; select one of the other three and nothing happens. I’d like to delete the non-working printers but so far haven’t been able to find a way. Unable to delete printer from “Printers & Scanners” and hesitant to try deleting under “Device Manager” after the stress of trying to get printer working. (Using original cable and ports.

    Any help or suggestions appreciated!


    Viewing 3 reply threads
    • #2429205
      1. Physically disconnect the printer and leave it offline until step 6 below.
      2. Check the Print Queues in all the versions of that printer and clear them.
        (Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers : Open “See what’s printing” for all one at a time and Click the menu option Printer then Cancel All documents)
      3. Set the Default Printer on any other printer driver listed there, example Microsoft XPS will do nicely.  Default Printers cannot be deleted in some cases.
      4. Attempt to delete ALL the printers for that model.  If fails, reboot and try again. Let me know if that also fails and will provide some other steps.
      5. If success at deletion, from the Control Panel screen before: click Print server properties, click the Drivers tab, click  “Change Driver Settings” then delete all the drivers for that model.


      6. Reconnect the printer (USB as I recall?) and see if Windows automagically finds the right drivers.  If not, reinstall new drivers downloaded from the manufacturers website.
      7. If that works, then set the Default Printer back to the way you want it.
      8. Done!

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2429323

        Thanks, weekend project after I get caught up.

      • #2429521

        Well that was a good try but………..no cigar.
        Screen shots of what I’ve got now are attached. BTW I’m on Win 10 Home so our screens are different. Was unable to delete drivers for all the previous copies of the HP printer – was able to delete 3 of the 4 copies.
        Now printing off Copy 1; 3 other copies will not print with a “Driver Unavailable” status. Both a Plain HP and a Copy 1 HP printer appear when selecting a printer from a program like Word.
        Seems like such a simple problem but frustrating as all get out.



        Again, thanks for your help.

    • #2430040

      You could try deleting the non-functional printers using powershell.

      If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to remove them from the registry using regedit.

      Post here from help on the various locations in the registry where they’ll be located.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2430044

        Thanks –

        Under PowerShell I’m showing one instance of a HP LaserJet 4000 so I’m guessing that if I remove that printer, we’ll delete all the HP’s showing under Printers & Scanners and will need to reinstall?


    • #2430072

      Use Get-PrinterDriver and post the output here so we can see what you have installed.

      cheers, Paul

    • #2430135

      I’m showing one instance of a HP LaserJet 4000…

      Actually, since only one of the printers works, it makes sense you’d only see one driver. And no, deleting it probably won’t remove those other printers as you already tried that and it didn’t work.

      So, on to removing the non-functional printers from the registry…

      Since you have multiple printers with the same names, the first thing you need to do is change the name of the working printer so you don’t accidentally remove it from the registry.

      Open Settings > Devices > Printers & scanner and click on the working printer.

      Select Manage > Printer properties and, on the General tab, change the name in the first box.


      It’s you choice what name you use, but I’d suggest simply shortening it to HP LaserJet 4000 to ensure it can’t be mistaken for one of the non-functional printers.

      Now create a Restore Point by entering SystemPropertiesProtection at a powershell/cmd prompt and click the Create… button at the bottom.


        Note: If Protection isn’t “On” for the (System) drive, highlight that drive and click the Configure… button to turn it on.

      Now crank up regedit (Run as administrator) and, starting at


      search for (Ctrl + F) “PCL 5 (Copy“.

      Delete all the HP LaserJet 4000 Series PCL 5 (Copy #) entries that you find.

      Close regedit and reboot.

      Good luck

      • #2430189


        Under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers I’ve renamed the working printer to “Good HP…” and deleted every other entry containing HP LaserJet (Copy *). Closed REGEDIT and re-booted. Showed “Good HP…..) and a HP LaserJet 4000 Series PLC5   NO COPY, just HP LaserJet 4000 Series PLC5 . On a whim, went and deleted the HP LaserJet 4000 Series PCL5 and re-booted. Went back to regedit and the HP LaserJet 4000 Series PCL5 was back in the registry.

        Under “Printers & Scanners” showing: the “good HP” 2 HP LaserJet 4000 (COPY 1) both “driver unavaliable” and a HP LaserJet 4000 (Copy 2) “driver unavailable”.

        Word/Excel/Notepad printer choice show the “good HP” and a HP LaserJet 4000 Series PCL 5    NO COPY

        Under Device Manager Printers I am just showing the plain HP LaserJet 4000 NO COPY and under Print queues only the “good” HP LaserJet is showing.


        • #2430269

          You misunderstood what I meant when I said search for “PCL 5 (Copy” in the registry.

          I said you should start in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers tree because it’s the first place in the registry containing settings for printers.

          However, there are multiple other locations in the registry containing printer settings (possibly as many as 15 for each non-functional printer) so don’t limit your search to just that tree.

          You need to find all the entries that refer to a non-function printer and and delete them.

          • #2430580

            Whew! Made a new restore point and went through the registry tree and deleted everything that had “Copy” attached/listed/named….and there were a flock of them!
            Under “printers & scanners” still have the working “Good” printer listed and 2 (Copy 1) printers and a (Copy 2) printer showing up- the copies all state “Driver is unavailable”. I’m perplexed after going though the tree several times looking for “Copy” keys.

            The good news is that in any program (Word/Excel etc.) menu selection, only the “Good HP” is listed soooo….enough is enough, several days of frustration is enough.

            I can’t thank you and everyone enough for the guidance and help in getting me back to having a working printer!

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