How To Delete Or Cancel Hung Print Jobs In Windows

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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):

  • 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)
  • 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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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?

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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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newest oldest most voted
Thank you very much for your help. Net stop spooler on run, fixed my problem!
hp printer not printing color
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
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
Nope, didn’t work
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
nice working
Robert Mark
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
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???
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Two years later, same problem and You sir were really helpful, thanks
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?
Thank you!
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 and your explorer window.
Now try to print again.
Jay Max
Make sure the print job is not paused when you click printer, pause printing is unchecked.
Marion Thomson
Worked a treat on Win 8.1 many thanks!
shaikh Mohammad Aqdas
When I give the print than my PC is hang. It happened every time.
Please provide permanent solution.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
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?
Worked! You rock.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Glad it worked for you!
Eileen Falcon Pina
I tried the above and I see no files ending in SPL SHD?
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, I was able to cancel print jobs or I could have ended up with several copies of the same document. The first time I had a print job fail, I was lost, but I kept tinkering until I figured out how to cancel it. I can imagine though how it can be frustrating to those who are afraid to troubleshoot the problem themselves. This is great advice and definitely a needed piece, even in today’s more technologically advanced world. This is a piece that will probably be needed for years and years to come. Thank you for making this available.

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 because it only stops working when you have something that you have to have printed within the next hour or so! Murphy’s Law.

You would think they would make it a bit easier to figure things like this out. Then again, you would think that with the push to save on resources, printer ink wouldn’t be so expensive that you may as well just go buy a new printer rather than pay the high ink prices!

I have a printer in my office right now that just got replaced because I didn’t know how to fix this issue and I happened to find a printer on sale. I guess now I have a back up one.

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 work online all day long, but I am not as tech savvy as some of the people who work online are. I can clean my computer and do the work I need to do, but when it comes to things like this, you almost have to explain them to me like I am a toddler or something. It’s sad, since I’m almost 40 years old and don’t know how to do something as simple as delete print jobs. Although, that’s kind of sad too since in the grand scheme of things…this is pretty new.

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?

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.