Windows 10 bug fix causes havoc (yet again) by breaking printers

(Image credit: HP)

Windows 10 May 2019 Update recently had a patch issued to fix problems with game audio, and at the time of its release, we noted that everyone was wondering what it might break – and now (sadly) we have our answer: printers, in some cases.

This is according to user reports on Microsoft’s site, and also a thread on Google’s Chrome Help forum (oddly enough) as spotted by Windows Latest, along with more complaints via Ask Woody.

The issue is that the cumulative update KB4517211, which fixed a number of problems including muffled game audio, is seemingly causing major problems mainly for HP printers, but potentially with other brands too.

The post notes: “The Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 [May 2019 Update] KB4517211 is causing the printer spooler service to stop and the installed printer is no longer recognized. It is an HP Officejet Pro 8210 printer.

“When I go into services.msc I can start the spooler and my printer then reappears but as soon as I try to print the spooler service stops. If I uninstall update KB4517211, my printer again works.”

A number of users then chime in suffering from similar printer-breaking issues, all of them seemingly running HP models.

However, in the Ask Woody thread, GBorn – who blogged about this issue on Born’s Tech and Windows World – noted that he’d sought and received feedback from his readers to determine if this is an issue which is specific to HP printers.

However, others are reportedly being hit by problems caused by the KB4517211 patch which is interfering with PDF printer drivers and Kyocera network printers. So it would seem that this gremlin isn’t only being encountered by HP printer users – but they certainly seem to be the majority of those affected.

The road to reputational ruin?

As we recently observed, Microsoft is having a complete nightmare here – a potentially very costly one in terms of its reputation – and the fact that another fix has seemingly caused yet another bug just pours more fuel on the fire.

There has been a clattering ‘domino effect’ of bug fixes causing yet more bugs in recent times, with an initial patch to solve some long-standing minor bugs introducing a fresh problem with Cortana and high CPU usage.

Then the fix for that broke the Start menu and Taskbar, as well as causing the aforementioned audio issues in some games – and now the fix for the latter appears to have ushered in these serious printer gremlins.

‘Oh dear’ doesn’t quite cover it.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).