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Postings here will focus mainly on Advanced Accounting software updates, tips, and related topics. They will also include general comments relating to troubleshooting PC/Windows/network problems and may also include reference to our other software products and projects including any of our various utilities, or to the TAS Premier programming language. We considered setting up separate blogs for different topics so that users/others could subscribe to topics mostly aligned with their interests, but decided that it would be better to keep things simple since some topics cross over into others. We would nonetheless welcome your feedback/input in this regard. Our web site URL is Call us at 800-648-6258 or 801-277-9240. We also maintain so that older Business Tools users in particular have a greater chance to find us.


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Friday, October 14, 2022

Splwow64.exe bad image error when printing

A long-time Advanced Accounting 7i user today experienced the following Windows error message when trying to print (immediately after a Windows 10 update):

This error message was triggered when trying to print any report (including sometimes when generating a report screen preview before trying to even output the report to a printer). This error causes the application to halt, forcing use of the task manager to end the running instance.

Prior to the Windows update (which caused a forced reboot), the user was printing to the same printer without error.  The user reported having to update his Epson print drivers as well, as part of the Windows update.

The same error occurred when trying to print text out of Notepad, i.e. it was not specific to the accounting software application.

This is not a Windows error message that we have previously encountered, but apparently is one that has been around since the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 through to the present.  As outlined here by Microsoft with respect to 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Window Server 2008 R2:

Splwow64.exe is "used to translate the [print] driver model of a 64-bit operating system and a 32-bit program."

The cause of the error as earlier reported by Microsoft was that splwow64.exe was staying in memory longer to increase system performance after the print job had finished.  But that was not the case here. The user had rebooted his PC more than once, yet the error persisted.  It was not a case of splwow64.exe remaining in memory after a print job.

Checking the user's installed printers, we noted that a second identical printer referencing the same Epson model was present (but oddly named, as if installed by something automatically). The user had not noticed it before.  We switched the default printer to this other/duplicate installed printer driver, and everything started to work again. It was as if the update had corrupted the drivers of the printer that was previously the default.

There are various potential solutions to fix this problem should it arise in your environment.  The first one to try (and even though we did not use it, nor were we aware of it until today) is to determine whether the Windows 10 (or 11) printer/printing troubleshooter will fix the problem. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run box and type: 


and click on OK.   Then click on Printer, and run the troubleshooter. Select your printer from the list, and wait for the scan to complete. If it shows up after the scan, click on "Apply this Fix" and then restart your PC.

If that doesn't fix the problem, there are other possible solutions including updating the printer driver or uninstalling/reinstalling the printer driver; rolling back the last update may be another temporary solution.  If the message pops up after a print job (which wasn't the case in this situation), restarting the print spooler under Services and/or adding a registry key for the splwow64.exe timeout value may help eliminate the error.  

The error message received today by our customer included the unfortunate (and highly confusing) instruction to "install the program again" yet this issue had nothing to do with the accounting software program nor its internal report designer.  Never attempt to reinstall or restore our software without contacting us first.

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