About Steve Schardein

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SOLUTION: “Windows cannot connect to the printer. Operation failed with error 0x0000011b”

Well, it’s not often I bother to write up a new blog post these days, but when I do, you know it’s something particularly irritating that I’ve decided to save you the trouble of solving on your own. This problem absolutely qualifies.

When attempting to share a printer over the network from one Windows 10/11 machine to other Windows 10/11 machines, the above error now often appears.

Myriad “solutions” across the internet exist, most of which involve uninstalling particular Windows hotfixes (KBxxxxxx) or manually adding the printer port. Problem is, none of these solutions actually work anymore. The problem was initially caused by Microsoft’s need to patch PrintNightmare and other related vulnerabilities in the Windows printer subsystem. These workarounds previously sufficed, but some situations require a more surgical approach now. Because if you attempt to simply roll back the patches, not only is that a temporary solution, it actually winds up forcing an install of the generic Microsoft Enhanced Point and Print driver instead of the correct one for the printer… which results in endless pages of gibberish being printed instead.

So here’s the actual solution: manually configuring group policies on affected machines (both client and “server”). The way to accomplish this is by using registry edits, because on any machine not running “Pro” editions of Windows, the Group Policy editor is MIA.

After lots of trial and error, here is the final version of the registry patch I used on all affected machines (again, client and server/sharing machine) to correct the problem. Simply reboot after applying the patch, reinstall the printer (by discovering over the network via Windows Explorer > Network on the client workstations), and you’re done.

Open Notepad, and save a new .reg file with the following contents:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Printers\PointAndPrint]


Then merge the changes with the local registry by double-clicking the new .reg file and you’re done. Needless to say, to reverse the changes, simply delete the new keys this adds (though there is no reason to do so).

Enjoy, and you’re welcome! ūüėČ

SOLUTION: Alienware, XPS laptops – Slow video streaming speeds on YouTube

Here’s a really annoying one. Dell XPS and Alienware machines, despite their significant capabilities, experience super slow high-res video streaming on YouTube. The buffer is visibly razor-thin on anything 1080p or above without any obvious reason why. This occurred on a gigabit fiber connection in my case.

The solution? As often is the case, the value-added (in this case, QoS traffic-shaping/packet inspection) networking software is actually value-subtracted. Simply navigate to the Killer Control Center software and disable the following (useless) option to correct the problem and reclaim your proper streaming speeds!

Value-added? More like value-subtracted.

Dell XPS 13 7390 and other machines: low or no microphone volume during Zoom calls

A pretty recent emerging issue I’ve encountered is problems with microphone volume during Zoom calls (specifically!) on some machines. One of the more popular models experiencing this problem regularly is Dell’s XPS 13 7390, which is an all-round terrific laptop. The common thread connecting all of these affected models is their use of the Realtek audio drivers (which very many laptops do these days).

The solution — or, at least, the workaround — for this one is actually quite simple. It turns out that the 4/22/2020 driver version of the Realtek Audio Driver is problematic when paired with Zoom specifically. Thus, rolling back this driver manually (by downloading a previous version from your manufacturer’s support site) should work.

Alternatively, though, you can actually just completely uninstall the driver altogether, forcing Windows to (at least temporarily) use the generic Microsoft High Definition Audio driver instead. Here’s how to (easily) accomplish that:

  • Click your search box and type appwiz.cpl, then press ENTER
  • In the resulting window, scroll down to Realtek Audio Driver
  • Click Uninstall and follow the prompts. Reboot.

After this, everything should be back to normal once again.

SOLUTION: Bluetooth mouse/keyboard delay in response after typing or lack of motion

Many machines experience a problem where a connected Bluetooth peripheral takes seconds to wake every time it’s left motionless for a short period or the user types on the keyboard. This delay can range between a second up to a few seconds, and it’s absolutely frustrating.

Fortunately, it’s also incredibly easy to solve:

  1. Right-click the Start Button and choose Device Manager.
  2. Expand Bluetooth.
  3. Right-click your Bluetooth adapter and choose Properties.
  4. Click the Power Management tab and uncheck the box that reads “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”

The power savings are minute at best anyway, and this should completely solve your problem. Enjoy, and you’re welcome! ūüėČ

Bypass Microsoft Account Creation during Windows 10 Build 1909 OOBE Setup

This is a quick and easy one. In previous versions of Windows 10 setup, selecting an offline (so-called “limited”) account was relatively easy. However, with the latest build of Windows 10 Home, if the machine is connected to the internet during setup, the option disappears.

It’s true that you can simply disconnect from the network (or open cmd and delete the wlan profile), then click back and try again, to avoid this. But there’s a much easier way.

Instead, in the sign-in field, type a bunch of random numbers, then click Next. At this point, you can choose to create a local/limited account instead‚ÄĒeven if you’re connected to the internet. It’s really that easy!

SOLUTION: Windows 10 upgrade failure 0x8007001F – 0x20006

This week, a client brought me a Windows 7 PC which refused to upgrade to Windows 10, despite their having reserved a license long ago for the OS and attempting to install it repeatedly. The error message they were receiving was:

0x8007001F – 0x20006
The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during REPLICATE_OC operation

A screenshot of the setup error message which repeatedly plagued this machine

My usual remedial measures, after poring through setup error logs and all that fun stuff, were completely unsuccessful in this instance. Myriad internet searches also turned up lots of other people with the same problem, but no actual solution. Everyone simply wiped/reinstalled Windows.

Some of these attempts included:

  • sfc /scannow
  • BCD rebuild
  • Boot parameters rebuild
  • System (boot) partition rebuild
  • Filesystem checks, etc
  • Permissions repairs

Nothing at all worked. Eventually, however, I stumbled across a solution almost too simple to seem likely to work: an in-place upgrade of Windows 7. In other words, in colloquial terms, a conventional “repair install”.

All this involves is to grab Windows 7 install media matching the version installed and perform an “upgrade” process right from within Windows. Once complete, I had to reenter the Product Key and reactivate – so make sure the sticker is legible on the particular machine you’re working with. If it isn’t, specialized activation backup/restore methods will be required to continue with the process and eventually the Windows 10 upgrade.

After this, everything worked perfectly. The W10 upgrade process was smooth, and the client is now happy as a clam!

SOLUTION: “There is a problem with the selected printer” when printing email in Outlook

Today, I encountered an issue that was new to me. A client’s PC refused to print any email within Outlook (in her case, Office 2013 version, but the same problem persisted in Outlook 365 prior to my correcting it). The error message she received was:

There is a problem with the selected printer. You might need to reinstall this printer. Try again, or use a different printer.

The problem persists regardless of which printer is selected‚ÄĒeven if it’s a default built-in virtual printer such as Microsoft Print to PDF or the XLS printer. However, it won’t necessarily affect all email messages.

So, what’s the deal? As it turns out, this problem is caused by a corrupted font. Knowing this is half the battle‚ÄĒbut unfortunately, it’s only the start of the process you’ll need to follow in order to fix it.

As the folks over at Kinetic Computer Services explain, copying and pasting the entire contents of an affected message into Word (Close Word if open, CTRL+A + CTRL+C to copy, then reopen Word and paste using CTRL+V) will generate a related (but different) error if you wish to confirm that this is actually the case. Word will complain that “There is insufficient memory or disk space. Word cannot display the requested font.”

You might think that simply reinstalling all system fonts would correct this problem, but as I discovered, it sadly does not. The System File Checker also doesn’t fix anything. So, instead, you’re left to identify the affected font on your own and then take action.

What I did was to highlight small sections of an affected email message and copy and paste them individually into a new Word document until the error message appeared. This was much easier than attempting to step through an affected document and identify manually which font might be to blame based on differences in appearance. In my client’s case, it was the Papyrus font that was bad.


Keep in mind that after the error appears once, you’ll need to close Word to provoke it to appear again. So after the copy/paste of the entire message the first time, close Word, then reopen it before beginning your sectional diagnosis of the email content.

Once you identify the affected font, open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to C:\Windows\Fonts. Search for the font that’s affected, highlight it, and copy it someplace else for backup purposes just in case. Then, simply delete the font from the C:\Windows\Fonts folder. If it’s a critical system font, Windows should automatically replace the file for you. If it doesn’t, try right-clicking the copied file (located outside of the Windows Fonts folder) and choosing Install for all users. It should complain about the font being corrupted, and then install a good version for you automatically.

If all else fails and Windows can’t work this out on its own, find yourself another Windows machine and manually copy the font from there, then install it on the affected machine. Once this is all done, close and reopen Outlook‚ÄĒand the problem is solved!

SOLUTION: bootrec /fixboot Access is Denied

So here’s a new one. Warning: this one’s rough. It’s an advanced one, and there are possibly more causes than simply this… so as always, I take¬†zero responsibility¬†for anyone messing with their own machines without professional help.

This particular story is just that: a case study, basically, referencing the circumstances of the individual machine I was working on. This post is more for my reference than for anyone else’s from that standpoint. ūüėČ

A client’s machine came to me, stuck in a boot loop to WinRE. Nothing corrected it, but the machine seemingly wasn’t even trying to boot to the Windows partition. As is often the case with Windows 10, System Restore was of no help. As always, the first step, then, was to repair the BCD and boot parameters (this was a GPT/UEFI drive), so I went through the usual steps first.

However, once reaching the¬†bootrec /fixboot¬†step, the result was¬†Access is Denied. This is the first time I’ve seen this message to my knowledge, so I did some digging.

What I discovered is that apparently the latest build of WinRE doesn’t properly handle this command in some situations. I booted to an older build of a Windows ERD (based on 1703), ran the same commands, and this time, it worked.

After this (and after disabling automatic restart on system failure), I was finally reaching an intelligible boot error screen, thus confirming that the system was at least¬†attempting¬†a boot from the Windows partition. The error referenced the file WdFilter.sys, which is located at¬†c:\Windows\system32\drivers\wd\WdFilter.sys. It’s the Windows Defender Real-Time scanning filesystem filter driver, specifically.

I navigated to this directory next and noted the file creation/modification dates on the two files, which was 10/23/2018 (in case this is of any use to anyone else with this problem). The same dates were shared by WdNisDrv.sys (the Windows Defender network stack filter driver). WdBoot.sys, meanwhile, was dated sometime in April 2018.

Copies of these files are stored in c:\Windows\system32\drivers. Suspecting that one of the October-dated versions was corrupt, I replaced both WdFilter.sys and WdNisDrv.sys, then booted the system.

This time, the machine¬†finally¬†reached Windows. The work wasn’t finished yet: to bring everything up to consistency, I next performed a Component Store Cleanup and DISM RestoreHealth command followed by a system file check and repair. After all of these steps, the problems were completely resolved, and everything was back to working normally.

SOLUTION: Word/Excel hangs when opening files/scrolling is greyed out

Recently, a number of machines I’ve serviced have experienced a problem where particular Office files hang when scrolling through them. At first, this seemed likely to be an issue with Hardware Accelerated graphics rendering, but that wasn’t the case.

The actual issue lies with what’s called Protected View. It’s designed to bolster security by limiting the permissions of files opened from risky locations, but at least currently, it’s leading to some broken functionality on a lot of machines.

The best solution that I’ve found (as a workaround) is to simply disable Protected View entirely until Microsoft sorts this out and releases a patch. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the affected Office application (you have to do this separately with all affected applications)!
  2. Navigate to: File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Protected View
  3. Uncheck all of the items within this dialog, as seen below.

Problem solved!

SOLUTION: Black screen on boot with mouse cursor, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update [Build 1709]

Recently, I’ve seen more and more machines (still a small amount, but an increasing number seemingly) with a problem upon boot following some recent updates to the Windows 10 Build 1709 subsystem.¬† Specifically, these machines hang on boot at a black screen following the Welcome/login screen with only the mouse cursor present for anywhere from a few to several minutes.¬† Task Manager can be invoked and CTRL+ALT+DEL still works, but the machine will not operate normally with the usual Windows shell interface (explorer.exe GUI etc.) until the process sees itself through to fruition.¬† This happens at each and every boot.

Microsoft has indeed acknowledged this issue, blaming it on some rogue registry keys supposedly put in place by some OEMs which are incompatible with the latest builds of Windows 10.¬† However, I’ve come to doubt that explanation, as the fix they provide in the relevant KB article has not yet once worked on any of my clients’ machines, and another, more foolproof fix has instead corrected the problem.

This is the service which causes all of these headaches.

This is the service which causes all of these headaches.

A while back, people discovered that the singular service responsible for this behavior is the App Readiness service, which prepares user data the first time a user logs on following the installation or update of a Windows Store app.¬† Disabling this service¬†does¬†correct the problem.¬† If you experience this exact behavior, I have what is likely a permanent fix for you however, and best of all, it’s easy.

First, determine if this particular problem applies to your machine. Lots of things can lead to hangs during the boot process, so before you proceed further, it’s a good idea to ensure that the App Readiness hang is actually what is afflicting you:

  1. Boot the machine normally.
  2. During the hang at the black screen, press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to bring up Task Manager.
  3. Choose File > Run New Task.
  4. Type msconfig and press ENTER.
  5. Click the Services tab, uncheck App Readiness, and click OK.
  6. Either wait out the rest of the boot procedure and then reboot your PC, or force a reboot by returning to Task Manger and running this task: shutdown -r -t 0
  7. Upon reboot, if the problem disappears, this is indeed your issue.
  8. If the problem is solved, next reverse the procedure by rerunning msconfig and rechecking the box next to App Readiness.  Reboot again and allow the slow boot procedure to complete.

The reason you need to reenable App Readiness is that without it, the next steps will fail.

You can also disable the service via the standard services.msc snap-in interface if you prefer that.

You can also disable the service via the standard services.msc snap-in interface if you prefer that.

Once the diagnosis is complete, the next step is easy.

  1. Obtain Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Build 1709) or later installation media directly from Microsoft’s software download website¬†(update May 2018: the latest build is now 1803, the April Update). Try using the “Download Tool Now” button method and creating an installation DVD first, as this procedure is more likely to succeed.
  2. Once you have created the DVD, run the setup process from the DVD and choose to upgrade Windows while retaining all apps and user data.  This process is called an in-place upgrade as has been available for many years now within Windows (barring a short hiatus).
    1. If a DVD drive is not available, you can simply mount the resulting ISO file and install it from the virtually mounted ISO.
    2. If both of these methods fail, you can try using the Windows 10 Update Assistant tool from that same webpage instead.
  3. See the installation through to completion.
  4. Once finished, reboot and see if the problem is fixed.  It should be!

I hope this helps restore sanity to someone’s computing life.