Clearing Print Queue in Windows

It has happened with me a number of times that documents got stuck in my print queue like super-glue ((!

Perhaps it was the wrong document or maybe the wrong printer chosen. In any case, going to printer options and cancelling/deleting the print would result in all but the last document being stuck at “deleting…” state in the printer queue. Nothing would remove that last document from the list of print jobs. And you know that until that small little document is not cleared off the list no other work can be done without getting distracted!

In case this was happening on my laptop, I would safely restart my computer and things would get back to normal (a very generic fix to many Microsoft Windows related issues). However, last day when it happened on our production server (Windows 2003), I had no options but to search for restart alternatives.

A brief search led me to sites (( that recommended to restart the print spooler service ((In computer science, spooling refers to a process of transferring data by placing it in a temporary working area where another program may access. It is also a program that queues print files for one or more printers and sends them to the printer one at a time.)). Quite an obvious solution!

Update: Subsequent to this issue, I have developed Print Service Manager — a software to easily clear print queues.

Simple commands to restart print spooler service:

c:> net stop spooler↵
c:> del %systemroot%System32spoolprinters* /Q↵
c:> net start spooler↵

Open up a command prompt (Start -> Run -> type “cmd” -> Ok) and key in the net stop… and nest start… commands one after the other. This should do the trick in most systems without requiring a restart. I have even written a simple batch file that will do the same in one click.

Computer Download [Download not found]

Download this file and store it in an accessible place. Whenever deleting print queue fails, simply run this batch file. It will take less than 30 seconds to restart the print spooler service and would subsequently clear the print queue.

This batch file works on Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Note that for Windows Vista and above, you need to run thus batch file as an administrator.

In case, restarting the spooler service does not clear the queue, try deleting the file again after restarting the spooler service. If all fails… hail ‘restart!’

11 Replies to “Clearing Print Queue in Windows”

  1. Clearly, the spooling service is not handled very deftly. One would imagine that this would be fixed by the time Vista was perfected, because the issue has been around for a while, now.

    I wonder how the queueing service is handled, because the solution, in theory, seems simple enough.

    1. Yes! This is exactly what I was wondering when I had my first print document getting stuck in Windows Vista! Damn… Microsoft did not learn after making the umpteenth mistake.

      You know, that makes me wonder at times that there is an inherent organizational flaw in MS for which such issues linger on. Perhaps, as the organization grew, it did not modify its policies to suit the changing needs. 🙁

      In any case, I am making a software to clear print queue in Windows with one click and after you finish beta testing, it will help a lot of people.

  2. Restart Print Spooler worked!!!!!! My printer queue has been blocked for ages. Thank you, you amazing talented people. What would we do without you?

    1. Well… beauty is nothing without beholders. It is people like you who take time to stop, turn back and put forward a simple sentence in a little textbox called “comment” and make the day for someone. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.