What is splwow64 and AppHang Waiting on Application Name: splwow64.exe Print E-mail
Windows 64-bit
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:00am

splwow64.exe is the printing subsystem for 32-bit applications. All print drivers on Windows 64-bit must be 64-bit.

32-bit software applications cannot load 64-bit drivers so they need some help from the WOW64 subsystem. That helper is a 64-bit Windows OS exe that mediates communication between 32-bit software applications and the printer drivers on Windows 64-bit. When Windows applications bring up their print dialog they initiate communication with whichever printer the application is set to at that time. When the print dialog is displayed in a 32-bit application on Windows 64-bit, splwow64.exe is automatically started.


When splwow64.exe is started by any application, it is capable of mediating printer communication for ANY 32-bit software application on the system. To make the system more efficient, splwow64.exe remains in memory even after the application that started it is closed. Sometimes splwow64.exe is left in an unknown state – it isn’t working properly, but doesn’t crash hard enough to self-terminate.


When this occurs, the next software application that attempts to print may receive an AppHang error with the message “Waiting on Application Name: splwow64.exe”. The simple solution to this specific hang is to terminate any running instances of splwow64.exe.

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