How to Clean Print Spooler Queue?

The print spooler error might be caused by the documents jammed in the print queue. If this problem occurs, and your print queue manager get frozen, then you need to clear print spooler queue by deleting garbled files and restart your print spooler service. The problem with print queue is quite common and might be caused by different interruptions in the spooling process. The fixing procedure presented here is an important stage of the print spooler repair when the cause of malfunction is unknown and you need to resort to the trial-and-error approach.

What Is a Print Spooler Queue?

The print spooler queue helps to save and manage multiple documents sent to printers connected to your computer. The documents sent to printers are first cashed in a Printers folder on your hard drive. Then print queue manager sends them for print when the printer of your choice is available. Some interruption in the printing process or incorrect print drivers might corrupt the document being saved in a print queue and make it unreadable. Then print spooler fails to process corrupted file. The operating system stops the failed process and notifies a user about the print spooler problem by displaying an error message related to print spooler service failure.

When the Print Spooler Queue Problem Occurs?

The problem with a jammed print queue is quite common with network printers since the network services might be interrupted for many different reasons. Restarting network is a more complicated process than the restarting print spooler service. If you experience print queue problem with a printer connected to the network, then you need to know how to start a print spooler quickly and how to clean a print spooler queue off of the garbled document files.

The problem with a jammed print queue on a home computer is not common. The process of cleaning print spooler queue is just the same as in a case with a network printer. Following steps will help you to fix print spooler error caused by corrupted print queue files.

Delete Frozen Print Queue Files

1. Click the ”Start“ button.

For Windows 7 / Vista, type services.msc in the "Search" input box at the bottom. Then double-click the "Services" label that appears at the top of the Windows start menu.

For Windows XP, first click "Run" in the start menu, then type services.msc in the input box, and click "OK" button.

The "Services" window will appear on your desktop. You might need to see your network administrator if an access to this utility is denied.

Clean print spooler service

2. Scroll the list of services down to the line "Print Spooler" and double-click it to open the "Print Spooler Properties" window.

3. In "Print Spooler Properties" window, click "Stop" button, then click "OK" and minimize(!) the "Services" window instead of closing it.

4. Click "Start" button, and then click "My Computer" menu option. Double-click C:\ drive and navigate to the folder C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS.

Clean print queue files

5. Select all the files in the "PRINTERS" folder and delete them.

6. Maximize "Services" window and double-click Print Spooler service. In the "Print Spooler Properties" window click "Start" and then "OK". Then close the window.

This procedure will clean print spooler document queue, and you can send you print jobs, that were jammed in a print queue, back to the printer.

Persistent Print Spooler Queue Problem

If this problem with your print spooler queue is quite persistent, then you might need to update drivers for your printer or reinstall current printer drivers in case they get corrupted. Until the cause of a problem with jammed print queue will be figured out and correctly fixed, you can use a following method to quickly clean your print spooler when your print queue is corrupted.

Open your Notepad, copy the code below, and past it into your Notepad window.
net stop spooler
del %systemroot%\system32\spool\printers\*.shd
del %systemroot%\system32\spool\printers\*.spl
net start spooler
Save this file under the name "CleanSpooler.cmd", or the one you like, on your desktop. Just keep the same file extension.

When your print queue is jammed again, start this file from your desktop, and the problem will be automatically fixed.

Note: You might need to start it twice. If the first run doesn’t help to fix print spooler, restart your computer and run this file again.


Try to clean the print spooler queue if an attempt to restart your print spooler failed. Clearing a print queue is the second step that you can use to fix a problem when the cause of print spooler failure is unknown. If cleaning the print queue doesn’t help to fix the print spooler malfunction, then the error is caused by some different problem. It might be due to a corrupted printer driver or missed print spooler files. It might be caused by incorrect settings related to print spooler service in your system registry or by the activity of some malicious program. Read other articles related to fixing print spooler service.


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