Problem Summary

As of 10 Mar 2021, many Windows computer users noticed their computers would crash with a blue error screen whenever they would try to print. A sample of the error screen is shown on this page.

Problem Solution – Windows Update 2021-03

On 15 Mar 2021, Microsoft issued an update to fix this problem. It was released about 24-hours before the updates they would normally be providing each week on Tuesdays. Here are the steps to implement the fix.

  1. SETTINGS. Go to Windows Settings by clicking on the Windows Start menu and then selecting the gear icon.
  2. UPDATES. Select Updates & Security from the Settings page. It is found in the bottom row of options.
  3. DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL. On the Windows Update page, you should see an “Optional quality update available” message for the “2021-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10” similar to the example shown below. Click on “Download and install.” You will be asked to restart the computer at some point.

In the example above, the version of Windows is 20H2. Yours may be different.

Document Archive

The information below is archived from the original post about this issue. Some of the information may be of interest to those researching this problem.


Problem History

The problem surfaced this week after an automatic update on Tuesday, 9 Mar 2021.

NOTE: As of 15 Mar 2021, Microsoft issued update KB5001566 which is said to fix this issue. Further testing is needed before we can confirm this as a reliable solution.

Blue Screen Error Message

The error message states: “Your device ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re just collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you.”

Additional information on the error screen provides a link for assistance, windows.com/stopcode and the following information.

  • Stop code: APC_INDEX_MISMATCH
  • What failed: fwin32kfull.sys

Problem Resolution

Some support articles suggest specific update files that can be rolled back (removed) to correct the problem. Other articles suggest waiting until Microsoft issues an update to correct the problem.

Due to the wide-spread media coverage of this issue, and the fact that it is crashing people’s computers which could result in lost files and corrupted systems, it’s likely Microsoft will take immediate action to fix the issue. Many businesses and individuals still rely heavily on printed content, so it’s a problem that negatively impacts people’s daily work.

Keep Updating Windows

Some people will wait a few days or weeks before installing new updates for Windows. They will set their computer not to install automatic updates. Then, if problems with new updates arise, they will hear about that in the news and wait to install updates until the problems are resolved. However, there are some drawbacks of waiting to manually install updates:

  • Some ongoing planning and routine are required.
  • You need to daily stay on top of industry news and might miss a news report about a problematic update.
  • The problems that do occasionally arise typically impact certain hardware, but not all users.
  • Installing updates as soon as they become available can protect you against security vulnerabilities.

In addition to the updates that are automatically installed on a regular basis, you will want to go to Settings (the gear icon on the Start menu), then select Update & Security. Click the “Check for Updates” button and follow the instructions to update Windows.

Note: You may need to repeatedly return to the Windows updates screen to check for more updates even if the computer indicates that the computer is up-to-date.

Possible Temporary Solutions

If you really need to get some printing done, and can’t wait for a resolution from Microsoft, you may consider some of the suggestions on the list below. For non-essential printing, some of these solutions may not be practical. These suggestions are only of interest to those who will be losing money if they can’t print, or otherwise really need to get some printing done.

  • Alternate Computer. In some offices where this problem is reported, there are some computers that can print and others that can’t. So, you may need to use a different computer in the office to print.
  • Apple Computer. Because this problem only impacts Windows computers, you may try to borrow an Apple computer. Some people who use a Windows computer as their primary computer may have an Apple computer for travel.
  • Ask a Friend. If you’re a student needing to print out an assignment, or someone needing a few pages printed out, you might just ask a friend for help.
  • iPad or iPhone. If your printer is on your network, and you have WiFi as part of your network, and if the printer is compatible with AirPrint, you could print documents and other materials from an iPad or iPhone.
  • Laptop Computer. Some people have a laptop computer they use for travel, and a desktop computer they use for daily work. If you have a laptop computer you might try using that for printing until the problem is resolved. It may work even though your desktop doesn’t work.
  • Low-Cost Printer. If you do not need to print many pages, you could consider a low-cost printer different than the make and model you are currently using. If it’s really important to you to have printing capabilities, that may be a solution. Inkjet and laser printers costing $100 or less could help out until the problem gets fixed by Microsoft.
  • PDF. If you were planning to print something simply to save it for later, or to send it to someone. Consider using the “Print to PDF” feature. This is a good habit to get into because it allows you to save copies of high quality searchable documents on your hard drive in a format that can be backed up to the cloud or an external drive, offering more security than printed copies.
  • Staples. Office supply stores and printing service centers like Staples, Copyworks, Office Depot, Office Max, etc. can print documents for you at economical prices.

Error Screen Sample

A sample of the error screen is below.

Further Reading

Here are some articles for further reading on this topic.

  • Ars Technica, 11 Mar 2021 at 12:16 PM, “Blue Screen of the day—update crashes Windows 10 PCs on print” [View]
  • PC Gamer, 10 Mar 2021, “An odd bug in this month’s Windows 10 update is crashing some PCs” [View]
  • The Verge, 11 Mar 2021 at 5:10 PM CT, “The latest Windows 10 update could cause your printer to crash your PC” [View]
  • Tom’s Guide, 11 Mar 2021, “Windows 10 update causing blue screen of death — just by printing” [View]
  • Windows Central, 11 Mar 2021, “Microsoft confirms crashes caused by latest Windows 10 update” [View]

Microsoft Suggested Workaround (10 Mar 2021)

[ Source: Microsoft Answers Support ]

After installing KB5000802, you might receive an APC_INDEX_MISMATCH error with a blue screen when attempting to print to certain printers in some apps. This issue affects a subset of Type 3 printer drivers and does not affect printer drivers that are Type 4. If you are unsure which type your printer driver is, use the following steps:

  1. Press the Windows key+r or select Start and type run and select it.
  2. Type printmanagement.msc and press enter or select the OK button.
  3. If Print Management opens, continue to step 4. If you receive the error, Windows can not find ‘printmanagement.msc’. then select Start and type manage optional features and select it. Select Add a Feature and type print, select the check box next to Print Management Console and select install. You will now need to start at step 1 again.
  4. Expand Print Servers, expand your computer’s name, and select Printers.
  5. You can now see the Driver Type for each of your installed printer drivers.

Workaround: To mitigate the issue, follow the instructions in this video. The Command Prompt commands from the video are as follows (you will need to replace KX driver for Universal printing with the name of your printer, as explained in the video):

  • rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /Xg /n “KX driver for Universal printing”
  • rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n “KX driver for Universal printing” attributes +direct

Affected platforms:

  • Client: Windows 10, version 20H2; Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1809; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019; Windows 10, version 1803
  • Server: Windows Server, version 20H2; Windows Server, version 2004; Windows Server, version 1909; Windows Server, version 1809; Windows Server 2019; Windows Server, version 1803

Next steps: We are working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in the coming week.