Fix: Devices and Printers not Loading

Some users have been reporting a weird problem where the Devices and Printers window seems to glitch and remains empty even though the user has several different devices that should be present in there.

As it turns out, the issue is much more common on Windows 7 and can occur due to multiple causes. Here’s a quick rundown with the most common culprits:

  • Corrupted system file 
  • Internet Explorer 8 DLL is not properly registered
  • Print Spooler service is not running
  • Bluetooth service is not running

If you’re currently struggling with this particular issue, the method below might help. All the potential fixes featured below are confirmed to be working by users finding themselves in a similar situation. Please follow the methods below in order until you encounter a fix that resolves the blank Devices and Printers Folder error in your particular scenario. Let’s begin!

Method 1: Running an SFC Scan

If the issue is related to an underlying corrupted file, an SFC (System File Checker) scan will most likely resolve the issue automatically. Some users have reported that the issue was immediately fixed after the SFC scan was finished and a restart was performed.

System File Checker is a utility that allows users to scan for corruptions and restore corrupted files.

Here’s a quick guide to running an SFC scan to resolve the “blank Devices and Printers folder” error:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an elevated Command Prompt.
    Note: Keep in mind that triggering an SFC scan in a normal Command Prompt window will fail because it won’t have the necessary permissions.
  2. In the elevated Command Prompt, type “sfc /scannow” and hit Enter to kickstart the procedure.
    Note: During this time, the SFC tool will scan all protected system files and replace any corrupted occurrences with cached copies stored in a local backup.
  3. When the process is complete, close the elevated Command Prompt and restart your computer. If the issue was caused by a corrupted system file, you should be able to open the Devices and Printers window without issues.

If you’re still having the same issue, move down to Method 2. 

Method 2: Registering the IE8 DLL

This particular behavior is often attributed to a missing DLL used by Internet Explorer. Some users have managed to resolve the “blank Devices and Printers folder” error by registering the missing the ieproxy.dll using an elevated Command Prompt.  Here’s a quick guide to doing this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a run box. Then, type “cmd” and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an Elevated Command Prompt.
  2. In the Elevated Command Prompt, insert the following command and press Enter to register the Internet Explorer DLL:
    regsvr32  “%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\ieproxy.dll”
  3. If the registration is successful, you should see a confirmation window.
  4. Close the Elevated Command Prompt and restart your computer. At the next startup, open the Devices and Printers folder and see whether the issue has been resolved.

If you’re still having the same issue, move down to the final method.

Method 3: Enabling the Bluetooth Support and Print Spooler Service

If the first two methods didn’t provide a fix for your particular situation, your computer might be prevented from starting and using the Bluetooth Support service or the Print Spooler service.

Some users finding themselves in a similar situation have managed to resolve the issue by using the Services screen and setting the startup type of Bluetooth Support and Print spooler to Automatic. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a Run window. Then, type “services.msc” and hit Enter to open up the Services screen.
  2. In the Services window, scroll down through the list of Services (Local), right-click on Print Spooler and choose Properties.
  3. In the Print Spooler Properties screen,  go to the General tab and set the Startup type to Automatic. Then, hit Appy to save the changes.
  4. Next, return to the services list and right-click on Bluetooth Support Service and choose Properties. Then, go to the General tab and set its Startup Type to Automatic.
  5. Restart your computer and see if the issue has been resolved by opening the Devices and Printers folder.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.