[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