If you frequently use printer for printing notes and other important documents, you may have encountered a situation when you are unable to print without showing any error. You switch off the printer, wait for a while and try to print but it does not respond.

There can be multiple reasons why your printer is not accepting the printing command but one of the most common issues that leads to such situation is that a print job has been stuck in your printer queue. This issue can be occurred for various reasons.

Clear Printer Queue

For instance, you open a desired file in word document and send it to the printer without determining that printer is switched off. Realizing that you do not need that document on urgent basis, you turn off your system to print that document sometime in future. When you sit on computer again and try to print a file, it is important to get the previous print job done. If you will not print the previous document and send another one to printer, it will be added in the queue –if the previous job did not get removed automatically.

Therefore, in order to bring it back to the printing mode, you will need to clear up that queue. Sometimes, user can easily manage to print the stuck print job manually. However, sometimes it becomes hard to remove the stuck print job and use will need to clear the entire printing queue.

Method # 1: Step-By-Step Guide

Given below is the list of steps that you will need to implement to get the printing services back up and running.

Step # 1:

The very first thing that you will need to do in such case is to go ‘Control Panel’ as it is the central point of the computer where you can have your hands on every important device either built-in or attached to it.

To access Control Panel, you will need to go to ‘Start Menu’ and write ‘Control Panel’ in search bar –users operating Windows 7 or Windows 8. In case you are using Windows XP, you can find it on your own in Start Menu or can simply write ‘Control Panel’ in the run command and press ‘Enter’ and it will open the Control Panel window.

From Control Panel window, select the ‘Administrative tools’ which will provide you with a list of options. From that list, you will need to double click on ‘Services’ as shown in given image.


Step # 2:

Selecting the ‘Services’ option will open another list which will be comprised of different services running on your computer. You will need to scroll down that list till you find ‘Print Spooler’ in it. To stop this service, you will need to right-click on it and select ‘Stop’ from the drop-down menu. If you have a network of computers, you will need to be logged in as ‘Administrator’ as it requires such rights which usually an admin has. At this point, no one would be able to print anything on any of the printers that are hosted on the network server.


Step # 3:

Once you have stopped the ‘Print Spooler’ from the services list, now you will need to go to the given directory C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS.

In case C drive is not your default Windows partition, you can simply enter the given command in the address bar of the explorer and press ‘Enter’ and delete all files in that particular folder.

Deleting all files will clear the printer queue. In case you are implementing these steps on server, it would be good to make sure that all printers are idle. It is because this step will remove the entire printing job list from the queue without determining the active and stuck printing jobs.


Step # 4:

Next thing that you will need to do is to go back to the ‘Services’, right-click on ‘Print Spooler’ and select ‘Start’. Once you have started Print Spooler services, you can now start printing without any problem.

Method # 2: Using Command Prompt

Besides aforementioned steps, one can easily clear the printing queue using the command prompt. All you need to do is to open the command and type the given commands in it.

net stop spooler

del %systemroot%\System32\spool\printers\* /Q /F /S

net start spooler

The first and last command is to stop and start print spooler services. The middle command deletes the files from the printer’s folder. In this command, /Q is to take the system in quiet mode which will not show pop-up while deleting files. /F will force delete the read-only files in the printer’s folder and /S will delete the subdirectories from the folder, if any.

Note: Deleting files from the Printer’s folder will not harm your computer in any way. Therefore, you can delete all files from the folder without worrying about the data loss.