Can’t delete printer, print job, or clear spooler folder

Problem:

I have a document stuck waiting to be printed or to be deleted and blocking up all future prints.

Solution:

  1. stop the printer spool service: Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services; right click on the Print Spooler service and choose Stop
  2. in Windows Explorer go here: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\ (note: the drive letter of your Windows folder may be different)
  3. delete all files within the PRINTERS folder
  4. go back to the Services window: right click on the Print Spooler service and choose Start

The End :)

Note: this works even with network printers

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15 Responses to “Can’t delete printer, print job, or clear spooler folder”


  1. 1 Sara June 29, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Thank you so much. Not only did you state the instructions clearly enough so that I understood – it worked, too. I was then able to print out your directions so that I will have them for the next time! Thanks, again, Sara.

  2. 2 Dan S. June 29, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I’m glad it helped you Sara :)

  3. 3 Tara February 3, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Thank you!!!!!!! It worked for me as well!!

  4. 4 Dan S. February 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I’m happy iti did :)

  5. 5 Mark August 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks! I appreciate the useful tip!

  6. 6 Dan S. August 29, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Hello Mark. I’m happy it worked for you :)
    In the meanwhile I also found this tool, which might come in handy and solve this problem 99% of the time with one click:
    http://www.fantasticfreeware.com/applications/stalled-printer-repair/

  7. 7 therunt November 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    thanks man, this is the first method that actually works.

  8. 9 Lisa September 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you, I had print jobs stuck in an old printer. I tried to remove it after I installed the new printer and couldn’t. Your instructions did the trick!

  9. 11 Andy Hawkins January 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    oops, I did that and all my printers disappeared. What did I do wrong?

  10. 12 Dan S. January 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    @Andy Hawkins: don’t forget to restart the Print Spooler service

  11. 13 Karen February 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks Dan! Clear instructions!

  12. 14 Kokojambo March 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    WOOT, thanks man you saved the day :)

  13. 15 Michael April 14, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Thank you so much..This worked perfect!! I have an old HP design jet 600 and it locked up and I could not delete..This fixed it!!


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