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How to Fix a Print Spooler

The print spooler helps your Windows computer interact with the printer, and orders the print jobs in your queue. If you see any error message about the print spooler, this tool has been corrupted or is failing to interact correctly with other software. You may need to try more than one method to fix the spooler.

Open your printer spooler properties. You can't solve all print spooler issues just by changing the options, but this is a quick and safe place to start. These methods should work on any version of Windows from XP onward (and may work on an earlier OS)

  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type services.msc and press ↵ Enter.
  • Double-click Print Spooler. Alternatively, click Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Services → Print Spooler

Stop and start the spooler. The Stop and Start buttons are located in the Print Spooler Properties window you just opened, on the General tab. Some errors are fixed by stopping, then starting the print spooler again. Leave the window open, as we have a couple other changes to make.

Set the Spooler to start up automatically. Select the drop-down menu following "Startup type." Select Automatic to ensure the spooler starts up each time your computer does, so it doesn't miss any incoming print jobs. Press Apply in the lower right to save your changes.[1]

Change the recovery options. Next, click on the Recovery tab. This controls how the spooler responds to its own errors. A few adjustments will maximize the chance of the spooler solving its own issues, and minimize the chance of it causing a crash. Change the settings to match the following:

  • First failure: Restart the Service
  • Second failure: Restart the Service
  • Subsequent failures: Take No Action
  • Reset fail count after: 1 days
  • Restart service after: 1 minutes
  • When you're finished, click Apply.

Forbid interaction with desktop. Click the Log On tab. If the box next to "Allow interaction with desktop" is checked, uncheck it.[3] Keeping this box checked can cause issues, and should not be necessary for any reasonably modern setup.[4] As always, click Apply.

Restart and try again. At this point, you can try printing again. You may need to close the Properties window and/or restart your computer before the changes take effect. If you still get an error message, continue on to the next step..