How To Delete Or Cancel Hung Print Jobs In Windows

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

PrinterIt’s easy enough to cancel a print job and clear print queue, right? You simply right-click it and select “cancel,” after which the print job status commences to display “deleting…” After which you normally expect the print job to cancel and disappear so you can resume printing. Unfortunately, more often than not, the print job will hang and prevent you from continuing to print anew from that same printer. So we’re going to tell you how to forcefully delete a pesky print job stuck in queue.

Would you prefer to have an expert help you out? Visit GeekSquad’s website today.

How to Force Delete Print Jobs

Is Your Printer Not Working? Read our Printer Reviews.

Can’t delete print job on your own? Fortunately, there is a way to delete the hung print job without having to save all your work, close all your applications, and restart your computer. Here’s how to delete print jobs (note that this is intended for Windows XP systems, but a similar approach works on other systems – if this doesn’t work for you reply below with your Operating System and version):

Stopping And Starting The Print Spooler Service With NET SPOOLER

  • Browse to Start -> Run… and type in “NET STOP SPOOLER(this will stop the print spooler service; if that doesn’t work open the task manager ([Windows] + R or Ctrl + Alt + Del keys) and try killing the process from there).
  • Browse to your windows\system32\spool\PRINTERS\ folder
  • You should see files there ending in .SPL and .SHD created around the time you tried to print – delete these files.
  • Browse to Start -> Run… and type in “NET START SPOOLER” (this will restart the print spooler service).
    • From the command prompt: start net spooler from the command prompt by first launching the command prompt by browsing to Start > Run, typing “cmd,” and then pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys.
    • Windows 10: In the search box next to the Windows button (bottom left of your screen), type “cmd” and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
    • Once in the command prompt, simply type “net start spooler.”
  • Double click the printer icon in the lower-right corner of your taskbar to examine your print job queue and browse to View -> Refresh.

Voila 🙂 You should see that annoying hung print job finally disappear completely and you should now be able to resume printing without having to restart your computer.

But what if you didn’t even have to mess with the print spool in the first place?

Print a PDF Instantly From Any Document or Screenshot

Why mess with the print spool in the first place when you can help the environment by sending a professional PDF (Portable Document Format) file (compatible in all operating system environments) to your coworkers and clients? For those of you that are tired of trying to capture or convert data into a PDF file that you can email to someone easily and without too much hassle, we recommend you check out CutePDF – it’s free!

Or Maybe It’s Time for a New Printer?

If you’re tired of trying to get your printer to work, maybe it’s time for a new one! Check out our in-depth review of the best printers.

Had any troubles printing lately?

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
August 27, 2019 8:41 am

I had to do the Net Start Spooler from the command prompt. Open as admin by Start->Run->cmd (but hold ctrl+shift and press enter after typing cmd). In windows 10, in the search next to the windows button, simply type cmd and then do ctrl+shift+enter. Once in command prompt, simply type net start spooler. That took care of it for me.

August 20, 2019 6:25 am

I have been searching about for hp printer offline then finally, when I read this Article I get to know the correct information about it and I found this information is relevant. You have an ample amount of knowledge and that describes it very clearly and I thank you for giving me this type of knowledge and it helps me a lot.

July 23, 2019 8:45 pm

my computer says that there is nothing on my computer called this. Did not help

June 18, 2019 5:05 am

Thank you very much for your help. Net stop spooler on run, fixed my problem!

hp printer not printing color
May 18, 2019 7:16 am

Another most basic printing issue happens when yourhp printer not printing color because of printer gets stuck. Purposes behind the jam are the unkept printer, messy papers being utilized for printing task, paper not being adjusted in the framework appropriately and most likely the worn out state of the rollers on the framework.

Dan O'Dell
April 4, 2019 3:51 am

OK, so I followed these steps, and now I have no printers installed and if I try to add the printer back in I get a message saying that The Active Directory Domain Services is currently unavailable. By following these instructions I have royally buggered up my machine. Thanks for that!

Matthew Scanlon
February 21, 2019 5:23 pm

Nope, didn’t work

October 28, 2018 4:20 pm

can someone please tell me WHY NOTHING ever is the way mirosoft or windows or google says it is? i am trying to delete the lineup of print jobs that DIDNT PRINT. becuase they didnt print now I have many in the line up. I have tried 3 different ways to delete according to answers when you google the question.. NOT ONE IS THE WAY THEY SAY IT IS. windows 7

poster printing in service
August 2, 2018 12:22 pm

nice working

Robert Mark
June 8, 2018 7:02 pm

The problem is happening because the firmware of the printer id not get updated and the user is having the problem while using the printer. It always happens with when the printer is connected with Windows. To solve this contact Dell Printer Support

November 22, 2017 10:22 am

Let’s say you tried to print something not realizing the printer was turned off
Would the pc still send the message to the computer enabling the print job to go through once the printer is turned back on???

October 9, 2017 5:06 pm

What happens if I go to the Print spool folder in Windows and there isn’t anything listed there but that the print job won’t go away still?

October 9, 2017 8:02 am

Wireless printing technology was has been around for a few years now, but it is often not easily understood in terms of how to set up a wireless printer but also for the benefits of wireless printing.

May 9, 2017 9:16 am

This was a huge help, thank you. The only thing that didn’t work was the “Net Stop Spooler” command. Instead I had to stop the Print Spooler using the Task Manager.

March 2, 2017 8:47 am

I found the .shd file…but when I tried to delete it, I got an error message saying unable to delete because the file is open…what next?

March 8, 2017 9:57 am

The Print Spooler was never closed because you didn’t use Run as an Administrator so you didn’t have permission to stop the spooler. I had the same issue. Press Start button, type “command prompt”, right click it, click “Open as Administrator”, then type “NET STOP SPOOLER” and press enter. Then go to the windowssystem32spoolPRINTERS folder and delete the job. Then go back to the command prompt and type “NET START SPOOLER” and press enter.

July 21, 2020 3:54 pm

brilliant thanks!

May 23, 2019 2:02 pm

Two years later, same problem and You sir were really helpful, thanks

Caitlin Thomas
January 19, 2017 10:41 am

I tried this solution and it did not work. My boss accidentally started printing over 2,000 pages and we have tried everything and can not get it to stop I have even tried what is posted on this page with no luck. The direction where clear and overall it was easy to understand and do but it did not work what else can I try?

January 9, 2017 11:01 am

Thank you!

Donald Smith
November 19, 2016 5:04 pm

To clear out a stuck spooler job in Windows 10, 64 bit:
1) Type ‘cmd’ in the ‘Search Box’ (says ‘Ask me anything).. don’t hit enter yet
2) Under ‘Best Match’, right click on the Blue Box that says ‘Command Prompt’
3) Select ‘Run As administrator’
4) In the cmd box, type “net stop spooler” and wait for it to finish.. leave this window open
5) Browse (using Explorer, not command prompt) to the C:windowssystem32spoolPRINTERS folder
6) Delete all files
7) Go back to the cmd box and type ‘net start spooler’.
You can now close the cmd box window and your explorer window.
Now try to print again.

Jay Max
May 27, 2016 2:58 pm

Make sure the print job is not paused when you click printer, pause printing is unchecked.

Marion Thomson
March 21, 2015 12:44 pm

Worked a treat on Win 8.1 many thanks!

shaikh Mohammad Aqdas
February 2, 2015 3:38 am

When I give the print than my PC is hang. It happened every time.
Please provide permanent solution.

Kimberly Alt
February 2, 2015 10:13 am

I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding. Could you be more detailed with your problem? Have you tried all of the solutions posted on this page?

January 24, 2015 2:46 pm

Worked! You rock.

Kimberly Alt
January 26, 2015 10:33 am

Glad it worked for you!

Eileen Falcon Pina
October 31, 2014 4:20 pm

I tried the above and I see no files ending in SPL SHD?

April 6, 2014 6:20 pm

This doesn’t work in the following situation:

printer goes offline (different problem)
on …\Control Panel\Devices and Printers
right-click offending printer (say …HP7600)
select remove device
select add a printer (at top)
search for printer
select HP7600
install driver
Now printer is named HP7600 (Copy 1)
HP7600 is gone, but has pending job in print queue
can’t get original HP7600 back, so can’t delete job it had in print queue
restarting spooler doesn’t seem to work here
finally got rid of original HP7600 by editing registry . . . works, but is a major pain
Solution . . . remember to clear print queue before deleting printer

Any thoughts on how to clear print queue for a now “phantom” printer?

October 2, 2013 4:07 pm

I have an HP printer and Windows 8. I ended up with a print job that wouldn’t delete. I tried your fix for win 8 but access was denied. I finally found this little download from HP which did the trick. If you don’t trust the link just go to the HP printer support for your version. You’ll find the HP Print & Scan Doctor. It worked like a charm. Be warned it does delete everything in the print queue. This little program now sits handy on my desktop.