Cancel A Print Job Without Waiting Years

Ever tried cancelling a print job in Windows but feel like it takes ages before anything actually happens? It's a common annoyance, and one that helpful Reddit user Shikyo explains and remedies.

Photo by The Oatmeal.

In a nutshell, Shikyo explains that Windows is unable to cancel print jobs while the temporary file created for the print job is still being used by Windows. The solution: You've got to stop the spoolsv.exe service in the Windows Task Manager, delete any outstanding print jobs in the C:Windowssystem32spoolprinters directory, restart the spoolsv.exe service, and then start printing again. That's a lot of work to do manually, particularly if this is a problem you run into regularly, but luckily the generous Reddit user has also detailed a batch file that'll do the heavy lifting for you:

Here is the script for a batch file; just copy this to a new text document and save as "clearprintspool.bat"

@echo off echo Stopping print spooler. echo. net stop spooler echo deleting stuff... where? I'm not sure. Just deleting stuff. echo. FOR %%A IN (%systemroot% system32 spool printers *.*) DO DEL %%A echo Starting print spooler. echo. net start spooler

To save you the trouble of making the batch file yourself, you can also just download it here. Whenever you want to run through the process, just double-click the file and it'll kill the process, delete the temp files, and restart the print spooler for you.

As several users on Reddit point out, this isn't something you'll want to do on a print server — at work, for example — because it'll cancel everyone's print jobs and not just your own. But if you commonly face this annoyance on your personal printer, the batch file or method described above looks like a nice enough workaround.

Why does it take around seventy-two eons to cancel a print job? [Reddit via Addictive Tips]


Comments

    I have been using the program Stalled Printer Repair which I found at FantasticFreeware.com.
    It is easy to install and works brilliantly.

    In the original post, the batch file as appears will delete everything in "%systemroot%", "system 32", "spool", and "printers" folders.

    It should read (without the " ")
    "%systemroot%\system32\spool\printers\*.*".

    Why do users have to solve this themselves? This has been a problem for years that Microsoft should have fixed. It's irritations like this that make people move to Mac's.

      So either Microsoft gets blasted for being heavy-handed with OEMs or it's not doing enough to fix problems created by other companies. OEMs would sooner die than admit they write bad drivers. The printing problems with Macs are just as bad, or even worse given that driver compatibility between point updates in MacOS is so poor.

        Michael,

        Sorry that is simply not the case. Whilst not wanting to sound like a Mac fanboy, if you have a problem printing, you simply hit delete and move on. Your system isn't hijacked as it often is in Windows (hence the solutions offered here). The same with ejecting a USB stick. It often refuses to work in Windows. These are basic irritations that could be solved by Microsoft. Yes...they definitely should fix them...

          Issues with printers not working at all after Mac OS upgrades certainly aren't unknown though.

            I have friends who have to multiboot their Macs with slightly different OS versions so they can run software on one version and printer or scanner devices off another. To use the two together they have to print to PDF and reboot. Nightmare!

              @Mike

              Yes I imagine the scanner or printer they own has drivers that are waaaay out of date and are not being updated by the manufacturer.

              This is what happened to me with my old Canon USB 1.1 scanner. I couldn't obtain a driver from Canon that worked on the last two Mac OS versions. In the end I just replaced my scanner with a newer USB 2.0 model. I should have done this sooner as the newer scanner was cheap and much faster. It annoyed me that I had to though.

              I later found I could have solved the problem using a software solution - there are applications that specialise in providing support for old scanners. I prefer the OS image capture functionality though.

    I've knocked up a quick AutoIt script to do the same job as the batch script.
    Here is the link to the executable:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/240981/Cancel%20Print%20Job.exe
    And the source code:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/240981/Cancel%20Print%20Job.au3

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