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.

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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.

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