How to clear the print queue when a document is stuck?

Question

Issue: How to clear the print queue when a document is stuck?

My printer's queue is stuck and won't clear on Windows 10. It is stuck on the “deleting” process, and restarting the PC does not help at all. Any other tips on how to fix this?

Solved Answer

Printers are used to make a physical copy of a document, picture, and anything that is desired. These devices are especially hard-working in corporate environments, although many home users have them connected to their Windows computers as well. There is no doubt about the usefulness of the machine, despite digitalization being much more prevalent in the past decades.

Just like any other device, printers are not perfect, however. They refuse to print black and white documents if teal is running low, get jammed, print only part of documents – the list goes on. Possibly the most common issue that users are facing is a stuck print queue on Windows, although this is not always noticed right away, which results in multiple print jobs being stuck.

This problem usually happens due to software, network connectivity, or similar issues. In such a case, all you have to do is cancel the current job and send it to print once again. Unfortunately, that does not always solve the problem, and the queue simply does not clear. The first thing you should do is restart your computer – it may clear all the jobs from the queue.

Here, many users come to a huge problem, as even a restart of the PC does nothing, making the printer unusable. There are no specific brands that this issue is related to, so you might experience this on HP, Canon, Zebra, Xerox, Lexmark, and many others.

How to clear the print queue when a document is stuck?

One of the main ways to fix the stuck print queue is to reset the print spooler service. This, however not always works due to insufficient permissions and other problems. Below you will find several solutions that should help you get rid of the annoying problem.

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Tip 1. Restart the printer

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While restarting the computer is probably the first solution people resort to, they often forget that the printer itself might just get bugged. One of the first troubleshooting methods that any IT support will provide is rebooting the malfunctioning device; in this case, you should not forget to restart your printer.

The restart process of the printer depends on the brand, but most commonly, you can simply press [and hold] the Power button until the device shuts down. Then, simply press the button once again to launch it. If that does not work, pull the plug out of the electric socket – the printer can't work on air, so it will be forced to shut down.

Restart printer

Tip 2. Restart Printer Spooler service

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Sometimes restarting the related printer service is enough to fix the problem.

  • Type Services in Windows search and press Enter.
  • Here, scroll down until you find Print Spooler Service.
  • Right-click on the service and select Restart. Restart Print Spooler service
  • You can also restart the service manually:
  • Double-click Print Spooler service.
  • Click Stop, then wait a minute and press Start.
  • Finish with Apply and OK.

Tip 3. Delete files in Printers folder

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This method helped most users to resolve the issue and clear the print queue when a document is stuck.

  • Open Services once more.
  • Right-click on Print Spooler service and select Stop.
  • Press Win + E on your keyboard to open File Explorer.
  • Navigate to the following location:
    C:\\Windows\\System32\\Spool\\Printers
  • If you get a warning that you need a permission to access the folder, click Continue. Delete contents of printer folder
  • Here, select all the contents with Ctrl + A and then press Shift + Del to delete them.
  • Go back to Services, right-click on Print Spooler and pick Start.

Tip 4. Use Command Prompt

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If you were unable to restart or otherwise interact with the Printer Spooler service as described above, you can force these actions via Command Prompt. Make sure you have administrator's permission/password ready.

  • Type cmd in Windows search
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator
  • If User Account Control (UAC) window shows up, click Yes
  • In the new window, paste the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
    net stop spooler
    del /F /S /Q “%windir%\\System32\\spool\\PRINTERS\\*.*”
    net start spooler Use Command Prompt

Tip 5. Re-add the printer

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You can also try re-adding the printer:

  • Right-click on Start and pick Settings.
  • Go to Devices section and pick Printers & scanners section.
  • From the list on the right, select your printer and click Remove device.
  • Once done, wait a few minutes.
  • Click on Add a printer or scanner. Re-add the printer
  • Wait till Windows locates your printer and installs it.

Tip 6. Install the latest printer drivers

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You should start fresh. To do that, you should uninstall current printer driver:

  • Right-click on Start and pick Device Manager.
  • Expand Print queues section.
  • Right-click on your printer and select Uninstall device – confirm with Uninstall. Reinstall drivers
  • Restart your PC.

While the printer driver is likely to install itself automatically, it is best to make sure that you have the latest version installed. To do that, visit your printer manufacturer's website and download it from there (you need to know your printer model). This might be too much hassle – if that is the case for you, simply employ DriverFix to update all your drivers automatically.

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About the author
Jake Doe
Jake Doe - Computer technology geek

Jake Doe is the news editor at UGetFix. Since he met Ugnius Kiguolis in 2003, they both launched several projects that spread awareness about cybercrimes, malware, and other computer-related problems.

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