Printing from a Service

Environment: Windows NT 4

The Problem

Have you ever attempted to print from a Windows NT Service?

Some time ago my colleagues and I wrote a TCP/IP server to collect data, analyze it and then print exceptions. Obviously, printing is usually a very simple and typical task for any software engineer.

When I finished developing this application, I then converted it to a Windows NT service. Everything seemed to work well with one exception. The application wouldn't print anything!

With my heart in my hands, I then began the arduous task of walking the registry and searching for a solution. Finally, I found it after a few days.

The solution

  • Locate the following registry key
  • Write down the value of "Device" as you'll be using it soon
  • Locate the following registry key
  • Copy the previous information into the field "Device"
  • Reboot your PC
That's it! Now you can print from a Windows NT service.


Modifing your registry incorrectly can result in serious, system-wide problems. Therefore, use this advice at your own risk.


Thanks to my friend Maurizio Picco for his usefull help.


  • How can i do to print document from SYSTEM account ???

    Posted by Legacy on 01/16/2002 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Barbier J�r�me

    I have a NT Service which start with SYSTEM account.
    During my process i need to print document to a specific printer using 'ShellExecute' with 'printto' verb.
    But I don't manage to retrieve Driver and Port for my printer and the function failed..

    Best regards.

  • Log from NT service without using Event Log

    Posted by Legacy on 02/19/2000 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Tibor Hellvig

    I have converted a program to NT service and now my logging to a regular text file no longer works. Can anyone help?

  • This works for any program called by a service

    Posted by Legacy on 11/21/1999 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Bernard Cheung

    Thanks to this solution, I am able to use Windows NT's AT command or some Scheduler program to schedule print jobs of third party programs.



  • Where's the problem ?

    Posted by Legacy on 11/16/1999 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Bernard Alleysson

    I did not find any problem to print from a service I've written. I'm just using:

    m_hDC = CreateDC(
    pszDevice, NULL, pDevMode

    where pszDevice is the UNC name of the printer ie

    IMHO, no registry copy needed

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