How do you prevent the Add Hardware Wizard from asking you to install a new printer every time the computer boots up?

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Here's how I finally fixed the problem…
Go to control panel and click on Performance and Maintenance.
Click on System.
Click on Hardware.
Click on Device Manager.
At the top, Click on view. . .
. . .then click on Show hidden devices.
I found the phantom printer listed here, I right-clicked on it
And deleted.

Keep the key LPTENUM - ignore the MS tech documentation - but change the permissions for key LPTENUM for "SYSTEM" to "Deny" for "Full Control" & "Read". Close REGEDIT and re-IPL.

Problem gone, however if you later require a printer attached you may need to re-visit these changes.

Replace newdev.dll with one that closes itself automatically. Deleting the dll will cause it to be recreated however.  
Your OS is recognizing a printer attached to your system on boot. If you don't have a printer, then you need to remove any listed from the add/remove programs. If you do have one, then you need to install/reinstall the driver and software that was included with it at purchase. The best way to do that is insert the disc/floppy when the systems boots, then choose to search from the location the disc is in (cd drive/floppy drive), then follow the instructions given by the wizard.  
go to following link to find out a workaround:  
Correction: Go to this site:;en-us;298370  
You can disable the plug and play services but your system become unstable. All your multimedia are turned off, the device manager sees nothing.

I also have been suffering from this problem, this has absolutely nothing to do with drivers but a broken "Reg Key", and is identified as a "broken component" in the hardware installation wizard for XP. I can only assume that not all users are affected as many will have printers already physically attached/installed. I do not, I only use XP as my employer insists upon it, so I have no requirement for any printing whatsoever from a Windows system....... Anyway ....

The MS article describes deleting the LPTENUM key in the registry - that does not work if like me you do not have any printing. Issues with being denied deleting the key are down to the "Permissions" for the key. Allow "EVERYONE" permission to the key you can delete it. However, the next restart will simply re-add the key, and the problem will re-surface.

MS article - by the way is :

"The New Hardware Wizard may detect the printer device after every restart of the computer"

"Whenever you restart your computer, the Found New Hardware Wizard may detect your previously installed printer, even though it is not a newly installed printer. "

A SOLUTION !! I have a good solution. It took me a while to figure this out. First of all, find out if your driver/software has it's own removal included. I found a scrubber in my HP printer's installation file folder, even though the driver was not fully installed. It will uninstall/delete all the files that keep it re-installing. If you don't have this file, then go to "start", then "search". Locate any references to your driver/programs and delete them all. Be sure not to delete any other similar named files if possible. This should stop hardware wizard as well.
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