[Solved] How to Fix Add Printer Error 0x000003eb “Unable to install printer” and “Windows cannot connect to the printer”

Error code 0x000003eb indicated printer connectivity or printer installation error. Add Printer Error box with the detail error message as below:

Unable to install printer. Operation could not be completed (error 0x000003eb).

[Solved] How to Fix Add Printer Error 0x000003eb "Unable to install printer"
[Solved] How to Fix Add Printer Error 0x000003eb “Unable to install printer”

Connect to Printer
Windows cannot connect to the printer.
Operation failed with error 0x000003eb.

Connect to Printer. Windows cannot connect to the printer. Operation failed with error 0x000003eb.
Connect to Printer. Windows cannot connect to the printer. Operation failed with error 0x000003eb.

If you are trying to install a printer driver but keep getting error code 0x000003eb prompted, make sure you have logged in as the administrator of the computer and then try installing the driver. If the problem still happen, try below solution steps to solve this problem.

Content Summary

Solution 1: Automatic Start Windows Installer Service
Solution 2: Remove and Re-install Driver
Solution 3: Delete Printer Keys
Solution 4: Reinstall in Clean Boot
Solution 5: Disconnect Other External Devices

Solution 1: Automatic Start Windows Installer Service

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open a Run dialog box.

Step 2: Type services.msc and click the OK button.

Step 3: Locate Windows Installer service from the list of services, right-click on it, and choose Properties from the context menu.

Locate Windows Installer service from the list of services.
Locate Windows Installer service from the list of services.

Step 4: Select the General tab, change the Startup type to Automatic, and click on the Start button.

Select the General tab, change the Startup type to Automatic, and click on the Start button.
Select the General tab, change the Startup type to Automatic, and click on the Start button.

Step 5: Restart your computer.

Solution 2: Remove and Re-install Driver

Step 1: Pressing Windows key + R to open a Run box.

Step 2: Type control and press Enter to open the Classic Control Panel interface.

Step 3: Type printer in the search bar located at the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 4: From the list of search results, click on the Devices & Printers entry.

From the list of search results, click on the Devices & Printers entry.
From the list of search results, click on the Devices & Printers entry.

Step 5: Click to highlight the printers.

Step 6: Click Print server properties from the menu bar.

Click Print server properties from the menu bar.
Click Print server properties from the menu bar.

Step 7: Choose the Drivers tab, then click to highlight the driver for the old printer and click on the Remove button for each of the drivers found.

Remove and Re-install Printer Driver
Remove and Re-install Printer Driver

Step 8: For the network printer, go to the Ports tab and delete any ports that are used by or linked to the problematic printer, faulty printer or non-existent printer, or port made by previously failed install. DO NOT DELETE ALL THE PORTS.

Step 9: Restart the computer.

Solution 3: Delete Printer Keys

Step 1: Open Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments, right-click on the Environments key, and choose Export option from the context menu to perform the backup.
Step 2: Stop the Print Spooler service from the services console. Or using command net stop spooler.

Step 3: Go back to the Registry Editor and delete all the sub-keys and their values under Version-3:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT x86\Drivers\Version-3

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Drivers\Version-3

Delete Version-3 registry key
Delete Version-3 registry key

Step 4: Pressing Windows key + R to open a Run box.

Step 5: Type the following path in the Run dialog: C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3

Alternatively, you can browse to the following folder in File Explorer or Windows Explorer: %WinDir%\System32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3

Step 6: Rename the 3 to 3.old.

Rename the 3 to 3.old.
Rename the 3 to 3.old.

Step 7: Start the Print Spooler service from the services console. Or using command net start spooler.

Step 8: Install printer again.

Solution 4: Reinstall in Clean Boot

Step 1: Press Windows + R key to open a Run box.

Step 2: Type msconfig and click OK to open the system configuration window.

Step 3: In the General tab, click on the radio button beside Selective startup. Uncheck the Load startup items checkbox.

In the General tab, click on the radio button beside Selective startup. Uncheck the Load startup items checkbox.
In the General tab, click on the radio button beside Selective startup. Uncheck the Load startup items checkbox.

Step 4: Go to the Services Tab, then check on Hide All Microsoft services and click on Disable all button.

Perform Windows clean state
Perform Windows clean state

Step 5: Click the Apply button, and then click on the OK button. Choose Restart Later option.

Step 6: Press Windows + R key to open a Run box.

Step 7: Type msconfig and click OK to open the system configuration window.

Step 8: Choose Startup and select Open Task Manager.

Step 9: look at the last field called Startup Impact and disable all the ones with High Impact by right-clicking on it and choose Disable.

Step 10: Restart your PC and it will startup in the clean boot mode.

Step 11: If the same error not showing again, then try to find out the problematic application by adding one application or driver at a time to clean boot selection and check.

Solution 5: Disconnect Other External Devices

Disconnect external devices and try to install the printer. Additionally, go to the Device Manager and disable below devices:

  • Sound card
  • Video card
  • Network card
  • Modems
  • Ports (serial and parallel)

Source:
HP Community > Printers > LaserJet > Error 0x000003eb
HP Community > Printers > LaserJet > Re: Error 0x000003eb
Microsoft TechNet > Windows 7 IT Pro > Windows 7 Miscellaneous > Cannot install printers RRS feed