If your print job is “stuck” and you can’t cancel or delete it, try this: manually clearing the print spooler. (Windows)

A little background: when you send the command to print a file, Windows “spools” those files – it creates a temporary copy for the printer’s use.  This allows the printer to access the file at its own rate, and continues the job even if you (hypothetically) close the program or file you have open.  Sometimes, for various reasons that aren’t particularly relevant to this article, printers will fail to successfully complete a job.  Usually, you can just cancel the job or delete it from the printer’s queue – the easiest way to access this is to double-click the icon that looks like a printer in the rightmost area of the Windows taskbar.

print icon

The following window will appear showing your print job(s) and their status.  You can right click on these and pause, restart, cancel, and basically manage the individual entries.

printqueue

When a failed print job cannot be removed this way, or if the job just seems stuck, we can force Windows to remove it and restart the “service” that Windows uses to send data to printers.

To do this, click on the “Start” button, and just begin typing the letters CMD.  Windows will find and present a program called “cmd.exe.”  Right click on this item (the icon is a black window with white letters saying “C:\”) and select “Run as Administrator.”

Copy and paste or type the following commands in this order
(to paste in this command line window, right click on the title bar -> Edit -> Paste)
rightclickoncmdtitlebar

The commands – be sure to include everything within the quotations:

  1. “net stop spooler”
  2. “del /F /Q C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*”
  3. “net start spooler”

You will see feedback after stopping and starting the spooler, but the second command simply removes all of the temporary “spooled” files in the Windows print system.  CMD.exe will not give you any indication that it performed a task after this line, but it will clear all spooled items.

Lastly, try printing your document again.  It will very likely print successfully.

2 thoughts on “If your print job is “stuck” and you can’t cancel or delete it, try this: manually clearing the print spooler. (Windows)

  1. much better script, just save as cmd

    net stop spooler
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.shd
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.spl
    net start spooler

    enjoy

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