How to Force Windows to Clear Print Queue

If you have ever caught yourself in a situation where you try to print something and nothing happens, then you’re absolutely not alone. It’s actually a common issue. Often times, we wait, and wait for more, but the printing just doesn’t seem to go through. Well, there are lots of reasons why this problem occurs, the most common is the printer queue has a stuck print job.

This happens for a couple of reasons. For one, you tried to print something a few minutes ago, but you forgot to turn on your printer. Then, you end up not needing the document and you forgot about it. You came back and try to print it. Another print is added to the queue, and if the previous request was not removed, it will log behind the print job that never gets printed.

Sometimes, you can actually manually go and delete the print job. But in many cases, you simply can’t get rid of it. In which case, you have to clear the print manually, and this can be quite tricky. In this entry, we will show you how to actually do it.


Clearing Print Queue in Windows

To get the printing process back up and running, simply follow these steps:

1. Click Start go to Control Panel and click Administrative Tools. Look for Services icon, and double click. 

2. Scroll down and look for Print Spooler service, right click and then choose Stop. To do this though, you need to be logged in as Administrator. From here, no one can print anything on any of the printers that are being hosted on the server. 

3. Then, type this in to the explorer address bar (if the C drive is not the default Windows partition):

directory: C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS. You can also type %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS

From here, delete all the files in the folder to clear and print queues (if you’re doing this on a server, it’s best to make sure there are no other print jobs being processed for other printers on the server, as this will delete those print jobs too.   


4. You can go back to the Services console and then right-click to choose Start for the Print Spooler service.

From here on, you should be able to print without problems. If you opt to use a script, i.e. for a server, then you can make a batch file with the commands below or just type them to the command prompt:

net stop spooler

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

net start spooler

The first and third commands are quite obvious, this will stop and start the print spooler service. The middle command on the other hand, deletes everything in the printer folder.

The /Q stands for quiet mode, which means you will not get a prompt that asks you if you want to delete each file

/F will force delete all the read-only files.

/S will delete subdirectories if they exist.

Deleting content from this folder will not harm your computer, so there’s no need to worry about deleting the files and folders.


For more tips and tricks on using your Windows PC, check out Dual Monitors Guide.

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