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How To Delete Or Cancel Hung Print Jobs In Windows

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PrinterIt’s easy enough to cancel a print job in the queue – 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, correct? Unfortunately, often the print job will hang and prevent you from continuing to print anew from that same printer. We’re going to show you how to forcefully delete these pesky print jobs.

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.

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 (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):

  • Browse to Start -> Run… and type in “NET STOP SPOOLER” (this will stop the print spooler service)
  • 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)
  • 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.

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About Alex Schenker
Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.

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98 Comments on "How To Delete Or Cancel Hung Print Jobs In Windows"

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slbower
slbower

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?

Sharon
Sharon

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.

Caitlin Thomas
Caitlin Thomas

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?

Scott
Scott

Thank you!

Donald Smith
Donald Smith
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… Read more »
Jay Max
Jay Max

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

Marion Thomson
Marion Thomson

Worked a treat on Win 8.1 many thanks!

shaikh Mohammad Aqdas
shaikh Mohammad Aqdas

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

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

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?

mudpepper
mudpepper

Worked! You rock.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Glad it worked for you!

Eileen Falcon Pina
Eileen Falcon Pina

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

Guest
Guest
This is essential advice for everyone to know, even if you have a high in printer that shouldn’t cause problems. I recently began selling items online and found that my laser printer was causing a number of problems. I was constantly having to cancel print jobs and could not get the printer to work. It was a wireless printer and I tried resetting the routers and everything without success. Turns out the network cable had come unhooked. Once that was fixed, I was able to print, but then another problem started that required the printer to be restarted frequently. Thankfully,… Read more »
Guest
Guest
Thank you so very much for writing this. I am so tired of fighting with printers on this issue. I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, but when it comes to printers I tend to turn into a foul speaking sailor who acts like they have never touched a piece of technology in her life. The stupid thing is only supposed to print! I mean, that seems pretty simple to me in the grand scheme of things, so why is it possible that this one piece of equipment can cause full out mental breakdowns?! Oh I know, maybe… Read more »
Guest
Guest
I couldn’t even tell you how many printers have gone to the tech graveyard in my closet in the past few years. I guess I knew it wasn’t actually the printer or I would have just thrown them in the trash, but I had no idea how to fix the problem on my own and it’s a lot cheaper to just go buy a new printer than to call someone who is going to charge me to come over and do something simple like this. Thank you for writing this and putting it in such easy to understand terms. I… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
This article was fairly basic. Then again, I sometimes forget that not everyone is techno geek like me! So, I suppose there are probably a number of folks out there who can benefit from understanding how to cancel and delete huge print jobs in windows. Printing has long been one of the most commonly misunderstood functions on the computer. As a technician this is without a doubt one of the top problems that people call me about. Of course, there are many aspects to printing, and they all seem to go haywire from time to time, sometimes all at the… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

Okay so with the newer version of Windows, clicking on “Start” no longer leads to “Run”. So how do I get to this point now?

David B
David B

When I try this I get: system error 5 has occurred. Access is denied.

Win7 64bit.

I went to services.msc and stopped the spooler there.

When I tried to delete the files it complained about being open in firefox. I’ll try stopping FF and deleting again, but then I’ll be gone from this page.

Jennifer
Jennifer

Hello! I have a print job that will not delete. I had 5 outstanding print jobs, and the steps abover worked to close 4 of them, but there is one refusing to delete. I get the message “This action cannot be completed because the file is still open in the Print Spooler”. That said my printer icon does show up as being open until I send something else to the printer. I have rebooted my computer several times unsuccessfully. Any suggestions???

chad
chad

Worked like a charm. appreciate the detailed instructions. Sometimes it’s best just to uninstall the driver and then re-install again.

Rob

Worked perfectly. Thank you!

Sheila
Sheila

I put NET STOP SPOOLER in the run box and it deleted my printers! Now what?

Joshua
Joshua

Net START SPOOLER, or an alternate way:

Start –> Run “services.msc” hit enter, find print spoolser service, right click, restart.

John
John

Perfect works on 10. Many thanks.

Carolyn
Carolyn

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.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02205477&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&product=5162506&x=0&y=0#N7345

Jim
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 . .… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

Really cancellation of pending printing jobs is very laborious work that it needs to restart and an excellent solution is given here. Really thank you very much.

Neeraj D. Sharma – India

Anonymous
Anonymous
It also occurred to me that there could be a pretty large number of reasons someone might want to cancel a print job. For example, maybe it was simply a mistake. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I have certainly hit the wrong key and sent a 100 or 200 page file to the printer by mistake. Nothing worse than realizing that your mistake is going to roll through most of the rest of that ream of paper you just got the other day! Sometimes the files will indeed get caught or mixed up in the printer queue.… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I really hate when I have this problem and it is helpful for me to finally read something that seems like it would work. The author really made an easy task out of clearing the print queue and ultimately clearing the way for the print job to go through. It seems like a pretty straightforward process and I think I can remember that going forward. Big thanks to whomever put this article together. On a more poignant note though, I thought the part at the end where the author talks about moving away from printing altogether was a far more… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

In windows 7, Ctrl+alt+delete, go to services, in the bottom right, click services with the admin logo next to it, search for print spooler, stop that service, go to the folders, delete those items mentioned, then start the spooler back up.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This was the only solution that worked – and it was fast and elegant and instead of mucking around in cmd mode, I had “stop service” and “start service” so it was really clear I wasn’t about to blow up my print device spooling. Thank you!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am running Windows 7 Home Premium. It won’t let me delete the files because it says that they are open in the spooler!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This works in Windows 7, if you follow a slightly different procedure. Instead of typing “net stop spooler” and “net start spooler” in the Run box, do it at the command line with admin privileges.

Here’s how: Click Start, type “cmd” in the search box. Make sure that Windows has selected “cmd” as the program to open. Press Control + Shift + Enter to run the command prompt at administrator level. Then type the commands into the command line, and it will work!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks for this great solution. It worked the first time 🙂

Anonymous
Anonymous

Worked the first time. Thanks

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks, immensely. Can’t they fix the issue, using some program. I have wasted so many hours, had to many a times abandon the task and get it done elsewhere.

Thanks again
Frank Michaels

Anonymous
Anonymous

All my life since I was child I had this problem. OMG this is a miracle. God Bless and love.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks, Lindylex

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you for this useful information. I’m going to bookmark this page.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Download Unlocker, and you don’t even have to cancel the spool service.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I tried and it worked. Here is the setup:

1. I started the print job.
2. Half way trough the job the paper was gone.
3. Added more paper, tried to continue, but had a stalled print job.
4. Stopped spooler. The folder was Empty. Started spooler.
5. Opened the printer control and the job list was empty!
6. However the tray icon was showing 1 pending print job (in the bubble).
7. Right-clicked the icon and selected “Refresh”.
8. The icon was gone from the tray. But the most important thing is that I was able to print again.

Anonymous
Anonymous

My spool/printers folder is also empty. I always have hidden files showing, so that is not the problem. I even made up the little DeletePrintJobs.cmd program that MS suggests and it cannot find any files in the spool/printers folder.

What’s next? Restarted computer and shut off printer. This is a networked printer.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I got an empty spool folder too. I did a search for .spl and .shd under c:\, and got nothing. I tried the following: restart the print spool service, restart windows XP, delete the printer and add it back, with no luck with any of these. The “deleting file” message is still there in the print task list. Has anyone solved this problem?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Did you ever get a fix for this problem? I stopped the spooler, but my printer folder was also empty. All hidden files are shown.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks! It really works in win7, you just need to delete the print jobs manually after deleting the .SHD file.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I have been struggling for months to get one final print job off that was hung up & I followed the directions for Windows 7 and I am now printing again!!! THANKS!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I can’t believe it took me months to find this simple solution. Thank you.

a web rocker
a web rocker

Thank you for my printer works now!

Beda, Prague, Czech Republic

Anonymous
Anonymous
Thank goodness somebody finally wrote about how to do this! I cannot tell you how many times I have been frustrated to the point of punting my printer across the room because I could not print and it was some stupid file jamming up the queue. I click it. I click it again. I right click it. I highlight it and select cancel. Nothing happens. I scream in furious rage. Seriously, it is one of the most frustrating and relatively frequent problems I run into when using my computer and it absolutely drives me nuts. There was one time I… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

thanks a lot it worked on Windows 7 to cancel my stuck print job.

NIPROCLEOJ
NIPROCLEOJ

It worked for me on my HP with original cartridges but with injected compatible ink, he! he! he!. How’s that you greedy printer makers?

Moltres Rider
Moltres Rider

This does not works! It always errors out with the specified service does not exist as an installed service!

Anonymous
Anonymous

The printers directory on Win 2008 server is empty… ‘show hidden’ is ticked, there is nothing in the folder.

May work for others but it doesn’t work for me.

a web rocker
a web rocker
If your printers directory is empty, there might not be any jobs queued within windows, and your printer itself may be the issue. If the document is successfully sent to the printer, the document will disappear from the printers folder. One thing to be careful of, is this article is about troubleshooting problems with the part of Windows that sends documents to the printer, not your actual printer hardware. If Windows sends your document successfully to the printer and it just never comes out, there’s an issue with the hardware. There is also one other possibility other than hardware, and… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

These solutions do not even come close to fixing the main issue of why it happens in the first place. i.e. having to do this every time you print.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you so much. It works fine.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Every time I follow the instructions to delete the unwanted files it tells me that they are in use in another folder. The thing is I have nothing else open at the time…Why is this? I still can’t print!

BlackSheep
BlackSheep

Logon in Safe Mode first. Then delete the file(s).

Anonymous
Anonymous
If it won’t let you delete the file from the spooler: * Browse to Start > Run > type “services.msc”. Scroll down to the print spooler service, right-click on it and choose “stop”. This will stop the print spooler service. * Browse to the print spooler folder (C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS) and delete everything inside this folder (but not the folder itself). This will remove all print jobs currently in the queue. * Browse to Start > Run > type “services.msc”. Right-click the sprint spooler service again and select “start”. Refresh your print job queue and you should be able to print again.… Read more »
SREEJITH
SREEJITH

Thank you

mastema
mastema
Well the steps in the article are a bit off. What you really need to do is go to Start, type in: cmd in the “Search programs and files” box directly beneath All Programs and an icon will appear that looks like a black C: with cmd next to it. Right click that, run as administrator, THEN type in NET STOP SPOOLER, and browse to the windowssystem32spoolprinters folder, then run cmd as administrator again and NET START SPOOLER. That’s the only thing the article doesn’t mention, that you need to be running cmd as administrator, otherwise nothing will happen because… Read more »
Jojo
Jojo

Finally! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know! Been working on this for 2 days!

keith
keith

Thanks for the advice, I had been suffering with this problem for years and you helped me finally fix it!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This way worked immediately for me. The above recommended one did not. Thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This worked for me – just another reason to harsh on Windows! Thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This just helped me a ton – thanks so much for the tip. What a pain to have a print queue that gets clogged and the only intuitive solution being to restart your whole system.

Quiz: Why can’t MS put out a user friendly version of Windows? It simply can’t. The solution? Linux baby.

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