Fix: Printer queue won’t clear in Windows 10

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

Home » Windows » Fix: Printer queue won’t clear in Windows 10

All printers have a print queue that queues documents for printing. However, that queue can sometimes get jammed, or stuck, which can halt printing altogether. When this happens, some might try manually deleting documents from the print queue; but find that the Cancel option doesn’t work. Then rebooting Windows might not even do the trick. These are a few ways to fix a print queue that isn’t clearing in Windows 10.

Clear the Print Queue in Windows

  • Firstly, switch off the printer.
  • Click the Windows 10 Cortana button and input ‘services’ into the search box.
  • Now you can select Services to open the window shown directly below.

  • Scroll down until you get to Print Spooler. Then you can double-click Printer Spooler to open its window below.

  • To disable the Printer Spooler, press the Stop button.
  • Press the File Explorer button on Windows 10 taskbar.
  • Now navigate to C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS in File Explorer. That will open a folder that includes a log of open and unprinted documents in queue to print.
  • Hold the Ctrl key and select all the files in the folder. Then press the X Delete button at the top of File Explorer to erase them.
  • Next, open the Printer Spooler Properties dialog window again. Press the Start button on that window to switch the Printer Spooler back on.
  • Now turn your printer back on and print something.

Clear the Print Queue with the Command Prompt

  • You can also effectively clear a stuck printer queue with the Command Prompt. First, press the Win key + X hotkey to open the Win + X menu.
  • Now select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the window directly below.

  • Type ‘net stop spooler‘ into the Command Prompt and press Enter to switch the print spooler off.
  • Next, enter ‘del %systemroot%\System32\spool\printers\* /Q‘ into the Command Prompt and press Return key. That will erase the stuck printer queue.
  • Input ‘Net Start Spooler‘ to restart the Printer Spooler.

  • Switch on your printer and start printing.

Set up a Batch File to Clear the Print Queue

Batch files can also fix a number of things. That includes stuck printer queues. This is how you fix the print queue with a batch file.

  • Enter ‘Notepad’ in your Cortana search box and select to open the Notepad.
  • Copy and paste the following text into Notepad with the Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V hotkeys.

@echo off
echo Stopping print spooler.
echo.
net stop spooler
echo Erasing Temporary Junk Printer Documents
echo.
del /Q /F /S “%systemroot%\System32\Spool\Printers\*.*
echo Starting print spooler.
echo.
net start spooler

  • Click File > Save as to open the window below.

  • Select All Files from the Save as type drop-down menu.
  • Delete *.txt from the File Name box, and replace it with Printer Queue.bat. The file can have any title, but it must include .bat at the end.
  • Click Save to save the batch file.
  • Open the folder you saved the batch file to, and then you can click the Printer Queue batch to run it.
  • Turn your printer on and print a document.

Those are three quick and effective fixes for a printer queue that isn’t clearing in Windows 10. If your printer queue often gets stuck, consider updating the printer’s driver with Device Manager. You can save new drivers to Windows 10 from printer manufacturer websites. In addition, you can also run a Printer troubleshooter in Windows 10.

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