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Is your printer not printing? Oh, the frustration of printer problems!

You have done all the obvious things. No lights or error messages; there is paper in the printer; the ink and toner levels are OK; the connections are plugged in securely. What’s next?

Restart the print spooler.

Restarting the print spooler is a common fix for when you can see your print jobs in the print queue on your PC or print server, but for whatever reason, they are not making it to the printer. How do you fix the print spooler?

Start with deep breathing to calm your temper.

Then press Windows logo key + R  in Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 to pull up the Run dialog box.

Enter  >>  services.msc

Run services msc

This pulls up the Services (Local) window. Scroll down to find Print Spooler.

print spooler


Right-click on Print Spooler and another menu will appear. Click on Restart.

Spooler Restart

Here you will notice that my Restart is grayed out. Users need local or domain administrator rights to access many of the functions in Services. In my case, I don’t have access and would need to make a call over to the IT department.

But if you happen to double as the IT guy in your small or home office, this is where you start troubleshooting a printer not printing. Especially if you see print jobs stacked up in the print queue.

Didn’t work? Next steps

If this doesn’t work, open the Control Panel and click the View Devices & Printers. You should see the printer here; right-click to start the Windows built-in printer troubleshooting sequence.

If that doesn’t work, search your particular model of printer for vendor support. Google any error messages that might crop up.

If all else fails and you decide it’s time to call in on-site support, first consider whether your printer is worth fixing. Sometimes printer repair isn’t worth it. The Office Printer Buying Guide 2016 might help with the decision. Since leasing printers and print materials have become very popular with small businesses, learn how technology leasing options can be a cost-saving measure.

Final thoughts

Special thanks to Richard Nihells, a Chicago-area IT pro and fellow tech blogger, for sharing his go-to first step for troubleshooting a printer not printing— let me know if it helps solve your printer problems.

 Printer Not Printing? Try This Trick First
Article Name
Printer Not Printing? Try This Trick First
Printer not printing? Oh, the frustration of printer problems! You have done all the obvious things. Did you restart the print spooler?
Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

More posts by Adam Lovinus

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Peter Canney says:

    Two other options: 1) In Control Panel/Printers and Devices, right-click on the printer installation and delete it. Especially do this if you more than one copy of the printer installed. Now, at the top, click on Add a Printer. Wait until it installs, then, right click and set it as Default (if it is the default printer).
    2) If you have been trying repeatedly to print, there may be multiple instances of spooled print jobs in the spooler, and they conflict. You might find that you “delete” them, but still no printing. When you open the spooler, all those print jobs are still there. So, you need to use a utility to clear the spooler. Google the command file: DeletePrintJobs.cmd. It is executable, so after you download it, you double-click it, and it clears the spooler. Printing should work again.
    When you Google DeletePrintjobs.cmd, you will find a bunch of sources; pick the one with instructions.
    Oh–when DeletePrintjobs.cmd runs, the command window (black with white text) will flash onto the screen for about a half second. That is normal, and good. Means it is working. Good Luck!!!!

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