Friday, January 30, 2015

How to restart the print spooler service in Windows XP

There are many different reasons why you may not be able to print from your computer. Sometimes, if everything else is fine and you can't figure out why you can't print, you may just need to restart your print spooler.

The print spooler is the program that takes your print job and sends it to the printer. If this program freezes or gets stuck on a certain job, you can restart it to get your computer printing again.  Here are instructions for how to restart the print spooler in Windows XP.

Press the Start button, and when the Start menu appears, click on Run. (If you don't see the Run option, skip to the next paragraph). In the Run box, type "services.msc". The Services window will open, showing all of the services that are currently installed on your computer. Some of these services are running and some have probably been stopped.

If you don't have the Run option on your Start menu, you can get to the Services window a couple of different ways. You can right click on My Computer from the Start menu (or from your desktop) and select Manage, then when the Computer Management window appears, click on Services and Applications in the left pane of the window and then in the right pane double click on Services. Another way to get to the Services window is to go through the Start menu; click on All Programs, then Accessories, then Command Prompt. When the Command Prompt window opens, type "services.msc" and then press <ENTER>.

Scroll down the list until you see "Print Spooler". Click on it to highlight it. A couple of options should appear in the middle of the window. One of these options is "Restart the service". (If you don't see the "Restart" option, then your print spooler is currently stopped for some reason. Click on the "Start" option to run the print spooler, then try to print.)  Click on Restart. A window with a status bar will appear, as Windows attempts to stop and then restart the print spooler. Once this action has been completed, the status bar window will disappear.

You can now close the Services window and try to print again. Hopefully your print job will print without incident now, but if you still have an issue with printing, you can rule out the print spooler as the cause of the problem.

(Originally published on, January 2014)

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