Disable or Enable Application Isolation feature in Windows 8

First introduced in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Printing Driver Isolation feature, removed an isolated driver from the print spooler process and loaded it into a sandbox. If an isolated driver experienced crash, the print spooler process would not be affected.

Application Isolation feature in Windows 8

Application Isolation is a new printing feature in Windows 8 and in Windows Server 2012 that isolates applications from print drivers so that applications do not crash if a print driver crashes, making the application more stable. This feature extends an existing Windows 7 feature (SplWoW64) to cover all printing scenarios in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

Disable Application Isolation

If your printer driver does not have full functionality, you may change the setting to disable application isolation.

To do so, open Group Policy Editor and navigate to the following setting:

Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Printers/Isolate print drivers from applications

Double-click on Isolate print drivers from applications and then click on Enabled, and the Apply/OK to disable Application Isolation in Windows 8.

This policy determines if print driver components are isolated from applications instead of normally loading them into applications. Isolating print drivers greatly reduces the risk of a print driver failure causing an application crash. Not all applications support driver isolation. By default, Microsoft Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Word 2007, Word 2010 and certain other applications are configured to support it. Other applications may also be capable of isolating print drivers, depending on whether they are configured for it.

If you enable or do not configure this policy setting, then applications that are configured to support driver isolation will be isolated. If you disable this policy setting, then print drivers will be loaded within all associated application processes.

Alternatively you can also download and use these Microsoft Fix It solutions to disable or enable Application Isolation feature in Windows 8.

Fix It: Disable Application Isolation | Enable Application Isolation.

This policy is supported on Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 or Windows RT.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.