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What to do when a print job crashes your printer spooler service

Often times printers do not work the way we expect them to. Sometimes when print jobs get stuck in the queue or cause the Windows printer spooler service to crash we need to step in to help. Here are a few quick steps that will take care of most scenarios that a simple reboot won’t fix.


On a side note, it is usually best if your computer is running the latest driver software from your printer’s manufacturer. This can generally be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

  1. Disconnect the printer from the PC. As long as Windows sees the printer connected it will try to print any jobs in the printer’s queue, including the job causing the problem. You can accomplish this by unplugging the printer’s data cable (usually USB) from either the back of the computer or from the back of the printer.
  2. Restart the Print Spooler service. Open a command prompt (with admin rights if using Windows 7) and type the following command followed by the <Enter> key:
    net stop spooler & net start spooler

    The spooler service should restart and bring you back to the command prompt.
    NOTE: For more on this step, see my post on How to Open the Command Prompt with Admin Rights.
  3. Open the printer’s queue and delete any stuck jobs.
  4. Reconnect the printer to the PC. Windows will reconnect the printer and make it available. Try printing a test page to make sure it is working OK.


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About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more.

I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/06/windows/what-to-do-when-a-print-job-crashes-your-printer-spooler-service/

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