HP DeskJet 812C long attached to a Dell PC with Windows XP SP3 suddenly doesn't work -- Printers and Faxes applet shows no printers at all. Trying to Add a printer pops an error that the Print Spooler is not started.
Go to Services: Print Spooler, set at Automatic start with Local System logon, is stopped. Try to start it. Says it's started, but right-click shows START available. Start again. Go to printers, Add printer, spooler not started.
(a) Copied Spoolsv.EXE, Spoolss.dll and RPCSS.DLL of the same version from another XP SP3 computer while in Safe Mode. No change.
(b) Tried to do a System Restore, only to fail three times and ultimately find no system restore points available.
(c) Re-run XP SP3, then the following patches.
(d) Cleaned out Deskjet references in the registry by hand from appropriate locations.
(e) Of course, looked at the combined wisdom of the planet on the Internet for this error.
Finally, I restarted and got the "Found a device" plug'n'play wizard, which tooled away at loading the Deskjet driver and, at the end, FAILED with
RPC Server is unavailable.
I even unstalled and reinstalled the after-market NetMos PCI 9605 Parallel port driver.
I've spent about 8 hours on this and am out of ideas. Seems like a corrupt driver, but HP doesn't offer the Deskjet 810C/812C driver any more, and I'm not even sure that's the problem -- maybe another driver is gumming up the works (it's my daughter's 'homework' PC). Any ideas?