Issue: How to fix Print Spooler (spoolsv.exe) high CPU usage in Windows?
I use a printer relatively often, but I've recently noticed that spoolsv.exe or Print Spooler is using way too much CPU. How do I fix that? I am not too PC-savvy, so help would be appreciated.
Printers have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, be it for professional workspaces, educational institutions, or personal tasks. These devices allow us to produce tangible copies of digital files, making document sharing, presentation, and record-keeping straightforward and efficient. Integral to the functioning of printers in the Windows environment is a system service known as the Print Spooler.
The Print Spooler, technically recognized as “spoolsv.exe” in the Windows operating system, serves as the intermediary between your computer and the printer. Its primary function is to manage print jobs queued for printing. By storing these tasks temporarily in a 'spool' or buffer, it ensures that printers can handle multiple print requests smoothly, even if they come in simultaneously.
However, not all operations of the Print Spooler are smooth. Some Windows users have reported experiencing high CPU usage linked to spoolsv.exe. This abnormal resource consumption can significantly impede the performance of their systems. A typical symptom is a slower system response, paired with louder fan noises as the computer attempts to cool down the overworked processor.
It's essential to recognize that while all background processes and services in Windows utilize some system resources, it's the magnitude of this usage that matters. Normal resource usage would be subtle and should hardly be noticeable to the average user. In contrast, abnormal resource usage can hog a large chunk of the system's capacity, making it evident through the slowed performance and other aforementioned symptoms.
There are several reasons why the Print Spooler might exhibit high CPU usage:
- Corrupted print jobs. Sometimes, specific print tasks may become corrupt, causing the spooler to endlessly process them.
- Faulty printer drivers. Outdated or incompatible drivers might not communicate efficiently with the spooler, leading to resource overutilization.
- Malware or viruses. Malicious software can sometimes disguise itself as legitimate system processes, including spoolsv.exe, to evade detection.
- Hardware conflicts. Issues between the printer and computer, such as connection problems, might cause the spooler to work overtime.
While there are manual solutions to address these challenges, detailed instructions will be provided below this article for reference.
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Fix 1. Restart the Print Spooler service
Restarting the print spooler service can clear any stuck print jobs or temporary glitches causing high CPU usage.
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
- Type services.msc and press Enter.
- Locate and right-click on Print Spooler from the list.
- Choose Restart.
- Wait a few moments and monitor the CPU usage to see if the problem is resolved.
Fix 2. Check for printer driver updates
Outdated or incompatible printer drivers can cause issues. Updating them might resolve the high CPU usage.
- Type Device Manager in Windows search and press Enter.
- Expand the Print queues section.
- Right-click your printer's name and select Update driver.
- Choose Search automatically for drivers.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and restart your computer afterward.
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Fix 3. Use the built-in Windows troubleshooter
The Windows Troubleshooter can help identify and fix problems related to various computer functions, including printing.
- Go to the Windows search bar, type Troubleshoot, and press Enter.
- Select Additional troubleshooters/Other troubleshooters.
- Click on Printer, then select Run the troubleshooter/Run.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and let Windows diagnose the problem.
Fix 4. Set Print Spooler to start manually
Setting the spooler to start only when needed can reduce unnecessary resource usage.
- Open services.msc as mentioned in Fix 1.
- Right-click on Print Spooler from the list.
- Choose Properties.
- Set the Startup type to Manual.
- Click OK and restart your computer.
Fix 5. Clear print queue manually
Corrupted print jobs might be causing the spooler to use more resources than necessary.
- Navigate to the Control Panel on your computer.
- Select the Devices and Printers option.
- Right-click on your specific printer and opt for See what's printing.
- If there are any pending tasks in the queue, cancel them by right-clicking and selecting Cancel.
Fix 6. Reinstall your printer
A clean reinstall can fix any glitches or compatibility issues with the printer and spooler.
- Open Control Panel.
- Choose Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
- Right-click on your printer and select Remove device.
- Restart your computer.
- Reinstall your printer using the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website.
Fix 7. Clear Printers folder
- Access Services.
- Find the Print Spooler service in the list, right-click on it, and select Stop.
- Once the service has stopped, press the Windows key + R.
- Type %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers and press Enter. This should open the Printers folder.
- Delete all files within this folder.
- After clearing it, go back to the services window, find the Print Spooler service, right-click on it, and select Start.
- Close the services window and attempt to print your document again.
Fix 8. Check for Windows updates
Microsoft might have released patches or updates to resolve known issues.
- Type Updates in Windows search and press Enter.
- In this window, click Check for updates.
- If optional updates are available, install them too.
- When everything is installed, restart your system.
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