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I tested this on multiple Windows 10 computers running the latest version of Excel (365 subscription) with both Bluebeam PDF and Microsoft XPS Document writer set as the default printer and get the same result. However, I can't consistently create it. When I use a macro-enabled Excel files that has some page setup and other formatting code the task manager shows Microsoft Excel (32 bit) and "Print driver host for applications" open and Excel tends to lock up or say not responding. I never get the "has stopped working" error and eventually (meaning several minutes) Excel will come back. Even if I have multiple Excel files open it will just show these two lines under Microsoft Excel (32 bit):

Task manager: Excel and Print driver host for application

If I right click and end the "Print driver host for applications" process manually Excel comes back pretty quickly & also shows all the Excel files that are open: Task manager: after force stopping Print Driver Host Process

From what I understand Printer driver host for applications is meant to communicate 64 OS printers with the 32 bit office. Is that right? I use application.printcommunications = false in my excel VBA code so wonder if that is causing an issue when I set printcommunications back to true. I'm going to go through my VBA code and comment out all page setup code to see if that helps. As I said before I'm not able to get the Print driver to show in the task manager consistently, it seems to happen sporadically, and lock up my user's computer.

Any more information on what "Printer driver host for applications" does and what causes it to run? Is there a way to prevent it from loading? I just can't seem to find information on what it does and when it does it.

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Blockquote Printer driver host for applications is meant to communicate 64 OS printers with the 32 bit office. Is that right?

yes. You are not the one with such problem. Check https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/mircosoft-excel-365-pro-plus-hangs-all-the-time/ea49ac30-24ea-48d7-bc66-c95ea172f458?page=1

I advise to test MS Excel without any installed print queues and drivers, software printers can cause the issue.

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  • Thank you. I looked for similar issues but didn't find the article you posted. It's frustrating how quickly Microsoft locks threads as I would like to add to that existing one, now I will create a new one. I found the print driver host comes up when hiding .entirecolumns or .entirerows in Excel VBA, in addition to using excel4macro. Turning printcommunications to false doesn't seem to have an impact and the freezing is sporadic so very hard to debug. I'll keep digging.
    – michaelf
    Jan 26 '19 at 13:16
  • just check without any installed print queues Jan 29 '19 at 13:04
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I don't really have a solution for you, but I give you kudos for a good and researched question.
Have you tried using 64-bit Excel?
Also, have you got any solution altogether?
This really seems like the sort of bug that can be fixed by installing an update.
It's a question from 2 years ago, thus its quite plausible...

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I've been having this issue for a while now as well. Recently (last few weeks) I have started seeing my GPU 3D utilization spike around 25% whenever this issue happens as well. I can stop the Print Driver Host process but that does not seem make an impact.

However, I was able to mitigate this just now be resetting my video driver using the Ctrl+Shift+Win+B keyboard shortcut (documented here and here). Screen went blank for a second, and when it came back I saw my GPU usage was back to normal, and I was once again able to navigate the Excel spreadsheet.

Next time this happens I will try that shortcut before stopping the Print Driver Host process to see if that makes any difference.

Last note, while I do get this sometimes after using some macros, the spreadsheet that has been causing this issue the most recently does not have any macros in it. The workbook does (only a Workbook_Open() sub) but not this particular spreadsheet. It'll freeze up just scrolling through or clicking a cell after having a different application in focus. It does have about 1000 rows of data with a lot of conditional formatting and cross references. I suspect that something is going on with the page breaks or print area which is triggering the printer driver and freezing up.

So can't help with a root cause, but maybe resetting the video driver resolves the issue whenever it happens.

Edit: I'm using 32-bit Excel, Office 365 Version 2008.

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