Windows 7/Vista: Clear Print Queue

If you have a long list of hung print jobs in Windows 7 or Vista, you can clear the print queue easily by using these steps.

1. Click Start.

2. Type Command.

3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

4. Type net stop spooler then press Enter.

5. Type del %systemroot%\System32\spool\printers\* /Q then press Enter.

6.  Type net start spooler then press Enter.

The print queue on your Windows 7/Vista system should now be cleared. Type exit and press Enter to exit the command window.


  1. steve says

    excellent advice worked a treat many thanks for your experience and time to share your knowledge.
    regards steve

  2. Joe says

    A 5 page document continued to automatically print every 10 minutes and wouldn’t clear from my printing queue. I followed these steps and it worked like a charm. Thank you for your help!

  3. JD says

    All the mentioned solution are tried and worked well. But post starting the computer from hibernation the same problem is repeating again and again. As my end user don’t have relevant admin access it is becoming too difficult for me resolve again and again, is there any permanent solution to avoid this repeated incident?

  4. Betsy W says

    You made my day. I was so frustrated that I could not delete print drivers because there was an old print job in the queues. Couldn’t open the queues because there was no printer attached. Vicious circle there.

    I used your handy dandy how-to which emptied the queues and a deleting I did go! Nice and tidy printer list now – thank you very much.

  5. Atisiv_dev says

    This is great! Simple but very helpful… Thank you so much. I saved a lot of time.

  6. T Harskjold says

    You are the man! Played with Bluetooth, msconfig, spooler files, safe mode etc. and none of them worked. As soon as I pressed exit it started loading drivers. Thanks

  7. Jockie says

    Thank you so much – printer working perfectly now and after 3 hours of farting about trying to get it working, your simple solution took 3 minutes!!

  8. dhast says

    I have the same problem, i just tried some alternative solutions but still have this trouble.
    i tried your method, but after type net stop spooler on command prompt, this word appear :
    The Printer Spooler service is not started, more help is available by typing NET HELPMSG 3521
    after i typed that word,
    The *** service is not started

    Please give me some alternative solution for this problem.

  9. Bob says

    Thank you so much for this fix!! Any idea what circumstances cause this problem in the first place? In my case, I was attempting to print a single page from a multipage pdf using the print menu in Acrobat Pro X, and all of a sudden after I hit a key, not sure if it was the print icon, and a little green progress bar appeared, zipped through to completion, and walahh, I received a message that I needed to install a print driver before I could print.

  10. Alex says

    Perfect! Thank you for posting this. Noticed that these have recently been posted. I am wondering if this will be happening more frequently.

  11. AMW says

    Did the steps above and recieved the message “The service is not responding to the control function.” What next?

  12. why is windows 7 so difficult says

    This computer is at my home. Why do I have to fix everything “as administrator”. I’m 70, I don’t want things harder to use. Everything in Windows 7 has been made difficult. I hate Windows 7. I want to go back to XP. XP is user friendly.

  13. doug says

    This answer needs to be on the home page of microsoft. Life shouldn’t be such a struggle. I suppose that’s why there is apple. Thank you thank you thank you! After a day of trying everything including uninstalling MS Office and reinstalling, this did the trick.

  14. Alison says

    Thank you so much. I have been unable to print for some time and this fixed my Canon MP550 printer.

  15. Lisa says

    I can’t believe it – have looked everywhere and tried soooo many things to stop my ‘print spooler service not running’ errors! I know this solution was to clear a print queue but by typing “net start spooler” everything is fixed and my printer is now working! Can’t tell you how grateful I am – I’ve deleted drivers, changed file names, reinstalled software that might be the culprit… and (after 2 weeks) with one little line all is sorted despite me having no technical knowledge whatsoever! THANK YOU!

  16. Carol says

    Thank you, thank you. I looked everywhere and there was always a little bit of information missing. Yours was clear and easy to follow. I resolved my problem after 3 days of hair pulling! :party: :-)

  17. R says

    Thank you very much! HP printer is a bit older, so Windows 7 does not see it all the time. A print job will get stuck, and won’t cancel / reboot / shutdown-and-start away from the GUI queue. Now at least these hung jobs are gone

  18. James says


    Thank you so much! Two days of pulling my hair out – problem resolved by you . . . :)

    James in London, UK

  19. Hugh Phan says

    Thanks Emily,
    It is OK right now. My son found out my misstake: In Properties / Finishing / Document Option, just unmark “print on both sides”. My old printer doesn’t have this option, so it could’nt finish order from computer!
    Anyway, your idiea helped me a lot on finishing my Tax Rerurn. Thank you.

  20. Cheryl Togashi says

    Thank you! If followed step by step, the only thing I saw differently was in step # 3, my computer asked if I wanted to allow changes to my computer. OBVIOUSLY, I certainly wanted changes! (smile!). Worked great, thank you. May I have permission to add this to my blog as a link to you?

  21. Hugh Phan says

    It worked for my Dell laptop window Vista. But my question is: problem keep happening after each print job, I have to do this again and again…?

  22. Dan says

    Thank you very much. This worked like a charm. The printer manufacturer claimed that it was a printer driver issue and, because my printer was old and “obsolete”, the only solution was for me to buy a new one!

  23. barbara heninger says

    This worked for me on Windows 7 with one substitution. After typing net stop spooler a message appeared asking if I wanted to stop LPD services.
    I answered YES. LPD services (handles shared printers) is stopped.
    I then did step 6 (net start spooler).
    Print spooler was cleared and restarted. Yay.
    (And I agree it’s crazy that Microsoft still has this problem, but if I wanted a real OS I’d use Mac or Linux.)

  24. Phil says

    Thanks also to mikenco. Notepad file now created (with a space between * and /Q I note! But it worked for me without this space (perhaps I should learn a bit more about DOS?)
    Thanks again.

  25. mikenco says

    This can be made into a batch file too. Create a Notepad document and copy in this..

    net stop spooler
    del %systemroot%\System32\spool\printers\* /Q
    net start spooler

    Save it on your desktop as CLEARPRINTER.bat (Important, change .txt to .bat)

    If you need to run it, right click the file and select “Run as Administrator”.

    Print Spool cleared in seconds.

    Why isn’t this functionality built into Windows after all these years??


  26. Jo Parish says

    Thanks. I think it would be worth adding to the instructions that you may need to then open the control panel for your printer and delete the print job in there. Otherwise, like me, people might think that the fix hasn’t worked because the job is still appearing in that window.

  27. Broozm says

    On an SBS2003 domain, this issue occurred when the C drive of the server ran out of space. So I’m guessing on standalone Vista you might look at space issues or quotas or the ability to write to areas of the diak (permissions)?

  28. Andrea says

    I took a chance and did stop/start without deleting the print jobs. I got lucky and all my pending documents were printed. If not I would have proceded with the full instructions. Thanks for all the “geeky nonsense”. It’s exactly what I needed.

  29. Mitch says

    Your steps assume that all items in the print queue are visible in that location. Most people are smart enough to have already tried that. They don’t always appear there, hence the need for this command.

  30. chandra prince says

    As I said, just go to Start.
    Click on printers and devicers…
    You’ll see your printer and double click to open
    And you will see your wating printing jobs…
    Click on wating jobs one by one and press delete…
    That’s it my friends.
    That’s all folks!!!
    Say goodbye to all that geeky nonsense!

  31. Allan says

    Tried this… Did not work to fix the problem. The issue is a HOMEGROUP laptop trying to print to a printer connected to a USB port on a HOMEGROUP desktop PC. Both are running WIN 7. The print cue created by the laptop finds the printer OK, but nothing prints. Going to the Desktop, we can see the Laptop is trying to use the HP LaserJet 1018 printer, but it is stuck. Nothing gets it unstuck, including typing the instructions you suggest when running as Adminstrator from the Laptop. Of course, the printer is stuck as well when trying to print from the Desktop PC, since it finds the HOMEGROUP printer has a job in queue…. and is waiting for it. I tried the RUN as adminstrator there, and go through a re-boot after deleting the print spool, and can print directly from the Desktop to the printer again… BUT, NOT from the laptop.

  32. RomeoMike says

    It worked as advertised on a Vista Business 32-bit installation. I needed to do this so I could then delete the printer object.

  33. lilya says

    Great – thanks! Have spent a frustrating hour or so following other suggestions which did not work.

  34. mike says

    Great. I can’t believe that W7 still has this same old problem – but the fix works just great. Many thanks!!!

  35. Larry says

    Worked great…thanks. After all these years, Windows still has this problem. Printing through a network, and print jobs hanging in print queue are aggravating.

  36. spencer corkum says

    worked fabulous first time; second time stopped spooler successfully but …del%systemroot%… line hung up after pressing enter and it is still there unable to type anything on that screen. So I went back and did it again and this time it worked but nothing was deleted in the spooler until I deleted it myself in which I was now successful unlike formally. So now I have this dos screen that will not go away. Dread shutting down….

  37. Larry says

    Worked Great…been driving me up a wall! Thanks so much!

    ps….why can’t Windows make this an easier task?

  38. Justin says

    Though you are an admin account, your programs do not run as administrator privilege. You must specify when a program has the extra privilege to run as administrator.

    Try holding down shift as you right click. You might get more options such as your missing run as administrator option.

  39. Justin says

    Worked flawlessly for me. Running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate Edition. Those having trouble, make sure to follow directions, run as administrator, and spell correctly. Thanks again!

  40. Sebastien says

    Hi I’ve tried your method but I can’t find “Run as administrator” when right clicking on the command prompt in the “cmd” black box window. When trying to “net stop spooler” I get “System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied”

    I am the administrator, as indicated under user accounts so I’m not sure what the problem is. Currently, my printer is stuck printing and won’t finish it’s job.
    Can you help?

  41. Tara King says

    Used this set of instructions to command the printer to clear, had no problem. very successful. Thanks

  42. Loui J. Silvestri says

    The above solution did not work for me…for a # of reasons…including the fact that my Win 7 does not have a \System32\spool\printers directory.

    What DID work with shocking ease though was to select the Troubleshooting icon in the Win 7 Control Panel, then select “Hardware and Sound”, and “Use a Printer”.

    Follow the prompts (be sure to select “Advanced” and “Run as Administartor” when these options are available on a screen).

    After the wizard “fixed” the stuck print job, it was still in my que, but this time I was able to “delete Document”. FINALLY!

  43. says

    Also, even spelled correctly, this failed to achieve anything.

    Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, fully updated.

  44. Robert Vogt says

    I tried your procedure to clear the print queue in Windows 7 and I got the following message. If you have any suggestions or comments I would appreciate hearing from you. In Windows XP I had a very simple command that always worked to clear the print queue and could really use a replacement for Windows 7.

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]

    C:Windowssystem32>del %systemroot%system32spoolprtiners* /Q
    The system cannot find the file specified.


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