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.

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

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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?

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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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
Jayson
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???
Amber
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?
bestwirelessprinter
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.
Ben
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.
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
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
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
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?
mudpepper
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?
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, 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.

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 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.

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 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.

Rob
Worked perfectly. Thank you!

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

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???

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.

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 . . . 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?

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

Joshua
Net START SPOOLER, or an alternate way:

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

John
Perfect works on 10. Many thanks.