Knowledge Base

SPLWOW64.EXE and its effect on NiceLabel software on Windows x64


In its core NiceLabel software is developed as 32-bit application (future releases will be true 64-bit), while NiceDrivers are available as 32 or 64-bit drivers, whatever your system is. When you install NiceLabel (32-bit software) in 64-bit Windows system, it has to communicate with the 64-bit printer drivers. The communication cannot be done directly, but involves the Microsoft intermediate process Splwow64.exe.

Only one user/process can print on a computer that is running 64-bit version of Windows.


There are some identified problems/behavior of the Splwow64.exe, like:

  • Only one printing process is available at a time.
  • When Splwow64.exe starts up, it runs under the username of the current user. If some other user on the same computer wants to print the labels, NiceLabel will stop responding when printing because the Splwow64.exe is in use by another user.
  • If NiceWatch runs on the same computer in the service mode, it might be configured to run as some other user. In this case just the user for whom Splwow64.exe started first will be able to print.

After a print job is finished for a user account, the Splwow64.exe process stays in memory for a while to increase system performance. By default, there is 2 minutes timeout, after which the splwow64.exe becomes accessible to other users.

There is a hotfix available from Microsoft addressing this problem (see link below).
Or, you can decrease the timeout yourself by updating the Registry:

  1. Click Start then click Run.
  2. Type regedit, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and then right-click the following registry subkey:
  4. Point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type SplWOW64TimeOutSeconds as the registry entry name, and then press ENTER.
  6. Double-click the SplWOW64TimeOutSeconds entry that you created in step 4.
  7. Enter a value in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note: Enter a value in the Value data box, and then click OK. The value that you enter in the Value Data box is the number of seconds that the system waits to unload the Splwow64.exe process. This period starts after the last 32-bit process prints and closes.

For example, if you type 15 in the Value data box, and the last 32-bit process takes two minutes to print and close, the print capability is released after two minutes and 15 seconds. If no time-out value is specified, the default time-out value is 2 minutes.

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