How To: Fix some eXPert PDF Pro annoyances (prevent PDF Printer from starting on boot and turn it off automatically when you are done using it).

NOTE: This may only work for 32-bit machines… I don’t know since I don’t have a 64-bit computer.

As all dotTech readers know, I often recommend eXPert PDF Pro 5 (or v4 or v6) whenever someone needs a PDF program. With eXPert PDF Pro not only can you create a PDF out of anything but you can also edit PDFs, add watermarks, etc. However as great as a program there is one really annoying thing about it: the PDF Printer (vspdfprsrv.exe) automatically starts up when you boot your computer. This is extremely annoying because not only is there no need for vspdfprsrv.exe to be on all the time but also because it uses a good amount of RAM (~20 MB). Until now I just ignored this problem and said “eh whatever I will deal with it later”. Well today I decided enough is enough; so I set out to find a way to prevent vspdfprsrv.exe from starting on boot. The research actually wasn’t that hard; I found a help page by the developer on how to do it fairly easily.

To disable vspdfprsrv.exe from starting automatically at Windows boot:

Use a startup program manager, such as WinPatrol or Autoruns, to block/remove vspdfprsrv.exe from the startup list. Or if you do not have a startup program manager, you need to open regedit and delete the registry entry “vspdfprsrv.exe” from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run:


Now vspdfprsrv.exe won’t startup automatically at Windows boot. Whenever you need to create PDF via the PDF printer, vspdfprsrv.exe will be launched on demand (automatically – you won’t need to do anything). However you are not done yet. The way eXPert PDF Pro PDF Printer works is that when you use PDF Creator once and close it, vspdfprsrv.exe stays on in the background instead of closing with the PDF Creator window. This again is annoying because there is no need to leave it on in the background. So to make vspdfprsrv.exe close when you close PDF Creator:

Run regedit and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Visage Software/PDF Printer/Options. There should be a registry entry called “StayBackground”:


Right click on “StayBackground” and select “Modify…”:


In the window that pops up there should be a box that says “Value Data” and a “1” should be in it. Change the “1” to a “0”:


Click “OK” when you are done. Close regedit.

Update 7/24/2010 : Instead of a 1 you may see True for StayBackground. Change that True to False.

Enjoy – you are done.

Note: If for some reason you do not have a “StayBackground” registry entry, you need to do the following:

Right click on the “Options” folder, go to “New” and select “New DWORD (32-bit):


A new registry entry should be created:


Name it “StayBackground” without the quotes:


Right click on “StayBackground” and select “Modify…”:


Verify that “Value data” is “o” and “Base” is “Hexadecimal”:


Click “OK”. Close regedit. Done.

If you have any problems post below – I will try to help.

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  1. Johan Aa

    Problems with locating the vspdfprsrv.exe:
    I have experienced the same vspdfprsrv.exe problem when booting the computer (Win 7 64 bit). But vspdfprsrv.exe isn’t nessecerely located in the folder called “HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Visage Software/PDF Printer/Options”. (You can of course search for it and then delete it.)
    Therefore the best solution is to download the Autoruns tool from Microsoft Sysinternals (se link above in the article) and uncheck the vspdfprsrv.exe.
    It’s easy and it works.

  2. Linda Martin

    What an exquisite post. Even the most moronic amongst us can follow this.

    Ashraf, you are a rara avis. I have had only one angry passion in life, and that is the growing frustration caused by this knucklehead file.

    Thanks so much for being the kind of person that alleviates misery in multiple countries. Good show, good show. Avast is no longer freaking out every half-hour over this formerly mysterious file. Thanks.

  3. Phred E

    Stephen and Neil, You don’t say what operating system versions Mike Lin’s programs are good for, and you don’t say what user rights have to exist to use them.
    We’re all NOT admins, people.

  4. Jeff VB

    First – Thank you for the postings of eXpert PDF – especially the free italian version 6.
    Turning off the PDF Printer revealed a few interesting items.  First – the registry entries are empty until you actually use it the first time.  I would modify your instructions to advise users to ‘test’ the printer driver first by going to the printers dialog, opening the Visage eXPert PDF printer, and ‘printing’ a test page.  This will populate the registry.  Then they can turn off the startup entry and edit the registry.  And  – when editing the registry for eXPert PDF version 6, StayBackground is now a text entry and not a Dword – you must change “True” to “False”.

  5. Bron

    wondering if you have come across anyone else that has this problem with expert pdf 6. after deleting a page of a pdf it will not allow me to save the doc. i have to use extract to be able to use the doc with out the deleted pages that i want.
    Also we merging/creating a word and pdf doc it will not allow me to save it sends it to print?

  6. Stephen Cohen

    There are two free programs by Mike Lin that everyone should have. The first warns you when a program tries to become added to your startup. You can deny the addition. The second shows you what programs are in the various startup locations on your computer and enables you to stop any program you do not want to run at startup.

    Find these programs by Googling “Mike Lin” .

  7. Bill

    In version 6 (I did the successful upgrade) the key value has changed. It is now ‘false’ where it was ‘0’ in v5. If you set it to ‘0’ in v5, then the v6 upgrade will set it to ‘false’ and you are OK.


  8. Stephen

    Thanks for these tips. They were timely, as I was getting fed up with the excessive time EXPert PDF Pro 5 takes to load at login, and was about to uninstall it. (As Jean-Luc suggested, I used MSconfig.)

    Like the user windowsexplorer, I had problems after trying and failing to go the EXPert PDF Pro 4 to 6 route. I had to search the whole registry for visage and remove most entries. (Make a registry backup first.)

    I also got rid of a tendency to open an Exlorer window on startup by creating a Resources folder even though it is empty (if you remember there was an instruction to rename Resources to Resources2).

    EXPert PDF Pro 5 seems to work a treat now. THANKS!

  9. windowsexplorer

    Thanks! It all seems to have worked, including the help files, etc. (as per your original April 12 post) and is now all in English. Of course, nothing is perfect, so there was a fleeting error while it was still in German, something about the printer and the registry I think, and one controlled shutdown of the program by Windows for some reason, but hopefully those were just flukes. At first I wasn’t sure what to do when I found another registry entry for Visagesoft in LocalMachine, but I went ahead and deleted it too. BTW, the reg key you directed me to was slightly different on my (XP sp3) machine for some reason, being located at HKEY_USERS/S-1-5-21-1993962763-113007714-1708537768-1003/SOFTWARE/VISAGESOFT, for anyone else out there in my situation. Now I can say I’ve cruised the registry and even altered it and the world did not come to an end, like everybody (sort of) warns you could happen, so I guess I’ll be even more ready to do it in the future if necessary. Thanks again for your help and clear instructions. I won’t forget.

  10. MCHAL


    StickyPDF is a free PDF editor/conversion tool. I thought you might get an interest in reviewing it and place a link here. You have to provide an email address over there in the appropriate page fields for getting a link to download the program and get the activation code.


  11. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    I don’t get it. What should I be looking for at stickpdf?

    Today’s GOTD is just a PDF Printer; it is nothing special. eXPert PDF is way better.

    I have not tried to use the scanner yet (because I have no scanner hooked up).

  12. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss


    What exactly are the errors you are getting? Is it “Failed to get data for ‘AlwaysCheckIfDefaultReader’”? If so try this:

    1. Uninstall all versions of eXPert PDF Pro.
    2. Go into Program Files and delete all the VisageSoft folders there; there may be none or there may be multiple ones depending on what you did.
    3. Open up regedit. Go to HKEY_USERS/S-1-5-21-3023203539-2722991495-3821558887-1000/SOFTWARE/. Find the “Visage Software” folder. Delete it.
    4. Reinstall eXPert PDF 5 Pro

  13. windowsexplorer

    Rather than just sitting around waiting, I have come up with something: do you think I could just manually delete everything in the eXPert PDF program file folder and fix the errors that way or would it take some messing around in the registry, which I’m not sure I’m ready to do? After all even with directions I didn’t successfully manage to switch some files before, apparently. I’m not normally prone to make errors (e.g. I built my own computers and got them up and running all right) but maybe I misinterpreted some of the instructions, I don’t know. Anyway, would today’s GOTD offering be a good substitute for XPert PDF?
    That’s if I can’t “fix” it so I can get an English version of one of the three candidates, which reminds me, if I’m willing to take any of them that I can get at this point, are any of them free and English?
    Sorry if I’m getting somewhat off the topic here, but if you can do anything to steer me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

  14. Ian

    Hey, anyone ever have issues trying to scan a document into eXPert PDF pro v5? I can do it, but it never uses the scanner driver, appears to use a built in driver in the program. I often use a ADF on my scanner to create PDFs, and it doesn’t seem to allow that. Any feedback would be appreciated.
    Ashraf, sidenote, your website and articles are GREAT! New to your website about 3-4 weeks ago, and not a day doesn’t go by that I read your articles and user comments. Thanks for the great informative work.

  15. windowsexplorer

    I have a somewhat bigger problem with EXPert PDF Pro, namely that I had to give up on it completely after several tries at installing/changing as per directions, since it now gives several errors from those tries. Is there any uninstaller program that will go in after the fact and remove whatever traces are causing these rejections or am I stuck? If I am stuck, what simlar program would be next on your list to go with?