Problem with Win 7 Administrator Account and Printisolationhost.exe

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by Fixer1234, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I started using the Windows 7 built-in administrator account. I basically copied over all of the original user settings to the new administrator account, setting everything up through Windows. I've encountered a situation where it appears that the administrator internal settings are causing a strange problem.

    Word 2007 runs with the cursor stuck in the "busy" circle and actions delayed. I tracked the problem to printisolationhost.exe (I'll refer to it as PIH in this post). When I logon as a normal user and open Word, PIH does not even appear in the processes list of Task Manager, and spoolsv.exe shows 0 CPU usage when there are no print jobs. When I logon as administrator and open Word, PIH occupies around 20% of the CPU and spoolsv.exe roughly another 5% -- 1/4 of the processing power being sucked up when there is not even any print activity. Sometimes, a second PIH is spawned for no apparent reason. If I suspend PIH, Word goes non-responsive. If I end the process, the process reappears in a few seconds.

    In the normal user account, PIH never appears in the task manager processes list. In the administrator account, it does not start as part of the normal startup. I can run programs like Firefox and Outlook and it is not loaded. If I run Excel, another MS Office program, PIH is not initially loaded, However, it is loaded if I print, but is then well-behaved. If I run Wordpad, another Microsoft program, PIH is loaded initially, with Wordpad, but with 0 CPU usage. If I print from Wordpad, a second PIH is spawned temporarily, but the CPU usage is brief and quickly returns to zero. So far, I have found that PIH loads only with Microsoft programs, and behaves differently with each one.

    Once PIH is loaded, it remains in the processes list until shutdown, even if the calling program is terminated. Obviously, PIH is being called from some other process and kept active by that process. While it is at least well behaved in Wordpad and Excel, it is apparently getting lost in its underwear in Word. Also, the presence, at all, of PIH in the processes list is somehow related to the built-in administrator account.

    From what I've researched, the "hanging" action of PIH is typically tied to problems with the default printer driver. In this case, the printer driver is fine and the .inf file shows that it is compatible with print isolation.
    I'm using Windows 7 home version, which lacks group policy settings and various administrator utilities for adjusting related registry settings. Looking at the registry with regedit, I can't find any of the settings that control print isolation behavior. It appears that in the home version, print isolation just follows some default behavior that cannot be influenced through registry settings.

    I've checked all of the obvious things -- no viruses or malware; no hardware issues; Windows and Office check out as current on updates, complete and uncorrupted; the drivers are all up-to-date and uncorrupted. As near as I can tell, everything is working "normally" and as intended, assuming Microsoft intended PIH to load only for administrators and then to behave erratically with Word. I've done extensive Internet research on this. There are a fair number of complaints about the problem with Word, but they all appear to originate with issues I have checked. Also, I can find nothing about behavior that is different for the built-in administrator.

    Does anyone have any familiarity with these symptoms or ideas on where to look next? Is there a known flaw with the built-in administrator account or a Windows update known to cause this behavior?

    Thanks in advance.

Share This Page