It seems to happen at the worst time, a print job stuck in the print queue. Most of the time deleting the job and waiting a few minutes will do the trick. Every once and a while the job just won’t go away and a reboot seems inevitable. Is it possible to clear a print queue without rebooting? Yes, here’s how.
As usual with Windows there is more than one way to accomplish this task. The quickest way is with a command prompt. If you feel more comfortable staying in Windows there’s instructions below.
open services.msc by holding the Windows key + R and typing services.msc
Scroll down to “Print spooler”.
Double click or right click print spooler
Now, open file explorer and navigate to “C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS”.
You may be prompted to gain rights to access this folder.
Make sure “show hidden files is enabled by clicking on the view tab and checking off “Hidden items”.
Find all the .SHD and .SPL files and delete them. Sometimes there will be a .TMP file, delete that too.
Go back to services and start the print spooler service.
Now your print queues are clear and ready to print again, without having to reboot.
- Open a command prompt as an Admin.
- Type “net stop spooler” and press enter.
- Type “del c:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\* /A:H” and press enter.
- Press Y and enter if prompted.
- Type “net start spooler” and press enter.
- Type “Exit”.
Now the print queues of all installed printers has been cleared and ready to print. And without rebooting.
A reboot will usually remove the contents in the print queue as well as starting a fresh instance of the print spooler service. In my experience deleting the contents of the PRINTERS folder has occasionally fixed a slow printing issue. One way to tell is to watch the spoolsv.exe aka Spooler SubSystem App in task manager. It’s normal for a file to double or triple in size when it goes through the print queue, it is not normal for spoolsv.exe to balloon in sizes approaching or exceeding Gigabits. If you suspect ghost print jobs are in your print queue causing weird issues manually clearing the print queue may just do the trick!