[SOLVED] Adobe InDesign CS6 crashes on “Starting Service Registry”

UPDATE: Comments have been left telling me that this fix continues to be relevant even with the newest Adobe InDesign CC 2019 version, so the problem likely includes InDesign CC 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015, and probably InDesign CS4, CS5, and CS5.5 as well.

Adobe InDesign CS6 on my Windows 7 64-bit laptop with a generally very error-free installation (I own a computer shop, so why wouldn’t it be ultra clean?) insisted on crashing literally every single time I tried to start it recently. I did some tracing of what the program did right before it crashed out and found the problem.

Adobe InDesign CS6, upon “Starting Service Registry,” is probing the default printer, crashing out if the default printer is a network printer that can’t be reached (and thus queried for capabilities or settings or whatever else.)

I use PuTTY with SSH port forwarding for port 631 enabled to be able to print to the office printer from my house while I’m in a SSH session (via the Common UNIX Printing System, CUPS). There is no printer at my house at all, as I have no need for one, so my default printer is a network printer on “localhost:631” using Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), which is “disconnected” if I don’t happen to have PuTTY connected to the office workstation at the time. The problem is that InDesign dies horribly when it queries this default printer at startup and the printer is “missing.” I verified this by connecting with PuTTY to the office, thus making the default printer available again, and the error went away.

SOLUTION: If you are having this problem, see if your default printer is off, disconnected, or a network printer that can’t be reached. In the worst case, try changing the default printer to a virtual printer such as the XPS document writer or Adobe PDF printer, so that the default printer is always available when InDesign starts.

I’d also like to note that Adobe is far from unique in the “default printer problems equals program startup weirdness” category; I’ve seen Microsoft Office applications start extremely slowly, as well as other programs throw errors or crash at startup, all because they’re querying printers at startup and developers clearly never test for “what if the default printer is off or unreachable?” contingencies. I would love to see developers take such things into account more often, because this class of bugs affects more people than one might realize, particularly in corporate environments where “the network printer” might have been turned off for some reason, or on laptops where the office network is not connected.

For reference, my Windows Error Reporting log in the Event Viewer shows the following information for this error:

Faulting application name: InDesign.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x4f72c3ee
Faulting module name: AGM.dll, version:, time stamp: 0x4f3a0265
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x0024d0cd
Faulting process id: 0xe2c
Faulting application start time: 0x01ce07030b2c00c8
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe InDesign CS6\InDesign.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe InDesign CS6\AGM.dll

23 thoughts on “[SOLVED] Adobe InDesign CS6 crashes on “Starting Service Registry”

  1. Hello,

    i have over 2 days check with the support problem. Now i found your Blog. Very Great it works.
    I have deactivate the Network printer and all is fine.

    This fix work for CS6 an CC.

    many Thanks.

  2. Thank you very much! I have been struggling with this the whole day with Indesign and Illustrator, finally the solution! I will follow your blog, it is very helpful.

  3. Thanks for the tip, seems my bloatware PDF printing tool was killing InDesign in my new laptop. Was attributing the error to Win10 installation for a long time, but no.

  4. I have InDesign CS5.5 and experienced the freezing problem when attempting to print using the “File – Make booklet” command. This is printing to Acrobat and still the thing froze. I am running Windows 7. The problem only started after a crash following which the computer repair people installed 64 bit version of Windows — previously I had 32 bit. I reinstalled the Adobe CS software and the problem started. I have now found that the “Save as” dialogue is hidden behind others and if I bring to the front and click “Save” the process continues to a happy conclusion.
    What do you all think of that?
    BTW this white on black screen is hell to read.

    1. I think that’s bad programming on Adobe’s part and that Adobe is notorious for having numerous bugs in their software. Moving from a 32-bit OS to 64-bit OS shouldn’t matter; the OS transparently handles the ABI translations required. You could try running in compatibility mode for an older Windows version and see if that helps.

      As for the white-on-black (which isn’t the case as I’ll get to in a second), it’s far less retina-burning than black-on-white, so I’d say that’s a matter of what you are used to staring at all day long. Ironically, many Adobe products after CS4 (excluding InDesign for some reason) have switched to a low-contrast light-on-dark UI format. You’ll also note that the background of this blog is dark grey, not black. Regardless of the arguments one way or the other, I’m not changing the color scheme.

  5. I cannot believe that it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Now, it is 2016. And your post is in 2013.
    At the first time when I see your solution, I just think how that naive solution (i.e. change the default printer) works.
    After I am fucked by this problem for an hour, I try your solution. It works. You save me for a day.
    Thanks again

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