Thanks for your post. Actually immediately after posting my question i solved the issue myself by trying various routes. The reset / delete preferences CTRL+SHIFT+ALT method i tried even before posting here. For the sake of it being helpful to someone else who might have this problem, im posting what i actually did below.
Actually i dont have any physical printer hooked to my system. It seems to be looking for a printer (which is pretty daft of photoshop as its not primarily a print tool) and hence giving this error that too in response to opening any image. As if every image opened in photoshop is destined to be printed. Or thats what the developers assume i guess.
So i went into windows control panel > Printers & Faxes and basically there was no printer activated since i dont have one. But i just picked some agfa printer xyz model and clicked install and set it as my default printer
and that worked. Now CS4 doesnt repeat the error.