Forcefully Clear the Print Queue in Windows

Most of us have run into the situation where you try to print something and nothing happens.

 

There are many reasons why a print job may not actually print, but one of the common causes is that the printer queue has a stuck print job.

 

This can happen for a number of reasons.

 

 

Let’s say you tried to print something a few hours back, but the printer was off. You ended up not needing the document and you forgot about it. Then you come back and try to print. The print job is added to the queue and if the previous job didn't get removed automatically, it will be waiting behind that print job that never got printed.

 

The most common fix is to double click on your printer and delete the print job, but sometimes it will refuse to delete. In this scenario, you have to clear the print queue manually.

 

Clear Print Queue in Windows

 

In order to get the printing services back up and running, follow these steps:

 

1. Go to Start, Control Panel and Administrative Tools. Double click on Services icon.

 

 

2. Scroll down to the Print Spooler service and right click on it and select Stop. In order to do this, you need to have Administrative privileges, or be logged in as Administrator.  It will notify you if you lack the necessary credentials.

 

 

3. Next you need to press the Windows button & R at the same time,

 

In the new run window, type:

 

C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS.

 

You can also type %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS into the address bar in Explorer if the C drive is not the default Windows partition. 

 

Delete all the files in this folder.

 

This will clear all print queues (If you’re doing this on a server, please note that this can delete any printouts currently being printed on the network).

 

 

4. Now you can go back to the Services console and right-click and choose Start for the Print Spooler service!

 

At this point, you should be able to print without a problem.

 

If you prefer to use a script, i.e. for a server, then you can create a batch file with the commands below or just type them into the command prompt:

 

net stop spooler

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

net start spooler

 

The first and third commands are straight forward: they stop and start the print spooler service. The middle command deletes everything in the printers folder and the /Q is for quiet mode, which means you won’t get a prompt asking if you want to delete each file. /F will force delete all read-only files and /S will delete any subdirectories if those exist. Deleting content from this folder can never harm your computer, so don’t worry if you see some files or folders and aren’t sure what they are for.

 

How to Create a Batch File in Windows

 

You can easily create a shortcut icon on your desktop, which you can double-click to automate the process.

 

Step 1. First, open Notepad

 

Step 2. Copy and paste the 3 lines below in the file:

 

net stop spooler

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

net start spooler

 

Now all you have to do is actually save it as a batch file, which is very easy. Go to File and click Save As. Give your file a name like “Test.bat“. Note that I added the .BAT to the file name manually. Lastly, change the Save As Type to All Files instead of Text Documents.

 

 

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