How to restart and reset the printer spooler

28. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

If you use a Windows operating system, there's a good chance that you'll encounter an error with your printer spool or spooler at least once. This is true whether you own an inkjet printer or a laser printer, and it's true whether you use OEM ink or compatible ink. As aggravating as it can be to experience an error like this, the good news is that it's easy enough to fix. By following a few simple steps, you can restart or reset the printer spool and be up and running again in no time.

Learn how to do so below.

Printer Spool Errors On Windows PCs, the printer spool error code is usually called system error 1068. It usually occurs right in the middle of a print job, so it's extremely frustrating. The actual message may vary. However, a common message to encounter is "The printer spooler service is not running." To understand why this is a problem, you need to understand what the printer spooler is. It essentially sends small, temporary files to the printer to ensure that print jobs go smoothly. If it stops running, the printer can't receive these files, which makes it impossible to print anything.

Try Restarting the Printer Spooler First

In many cases, you don't have to go through the hassle of resetting the printer spooler. Restarting it is often enough to get it back on track. You can't restart the spooler with a button on the printer. You have to click over to the Start menu on your Windows PC. From there, click over to the Administrative Tools section. Click on the Services option twice. When the spooler starts running, click on the "restart" button. The spooler should finish running. At that point, you should attempt to print something. If you receive no error messages, especially system error 1068, you should be good to go.

Resetting the Printer Spool

If restarting the printer spooler doesn't work, you will have to reset it. Unfortunately, this is a little more involved. As long as you follow these steps carefully, though, you should be able to do so quickly.

  1. Restart your computer. You're going to want to start it in safe mode, so press the F8 button while it is still booting up again. This will bring you to a menu that should include an option for starting in safe mode. Select that option, and then log into Windows as usual.
  2. Click on the Start menu, and then navigate over to My Computer. You will see the C drive, and you should click on it to open it. From there, open the Windows folder, and then go into the System32 folder. You will see a Spool folder. Open it, and then open the Drivers folder. Finally, open the Printers folder. If there are any files in it, delete them. They are stuck in the spooler, and the only way to reset the spooler is by deleting them.
  3. Restart the computer again. This time, boot up in standard mode. Perform a test print. With any luck, you won't encounter any errors, which will mean that the issue has been resolved.
  4. If you continue to receive error messages, try resetting the printer spool again. If the error messages keep appearing, you will probably have to contact the manufacturer for guidance.

As irritating as printer spool errors can be, they can usually be resolved without too much effort. In the vast majority of cases, restarting or resetting the spooler does the trick. Keep in mind that these errors are fairly rare, so you shouldn't have to deal with them too often.

Explanation of a Printer Driver and Printer Spooler

15. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

With so many special printer terms out there, it's easy to get confused. For example, many people don't quite know the difference between a printer's spooler and driver. In fact, some folks think printer spoolers and drivers are the same thing. In reality, they couldn't be more different. If you use a printer at all, it definitely pays to have a basic grasp of these and other common printing terms. For the purposes of this article, however, we're going to focus on printer spoolers versus printer drivers. By the time you're finished reading, you'll have a clear understanding of what each one is and why it's important.

Printer Drivers: The Basics

From time to time, you may be prompted to update your printer's driver or drivers. Like most people, you probably just click through the prompts, update your drivers and move on with your life. If you've ever wondered what a printer driver actually is, though, you've come to the right place. A printer's driver plays a crucial role in the interactions between a printer and a computer. Without printer drivers, there would be no easy way for various applications to communicate effectively with different printers.

The primary purpose of a printer driver is to act as a go-between of sorts. A driver makes it possible for computer programs and applications to communicate with different printers. With so many new printers being released all the time, expecting software companies to write programs that are compatible with all of them is not practical. Drivers handle this issue gracefully by translating information from computer programs into language that can be understood by a printer. Most people take printer drivers for granted and assume that all printers work with all programs, but that just isn't true. Without drivers, fast, easy printing wouldn't be possible.

Printer Spoolers: The Basics

There is nothing about a printer spooler that makes it similar to a printer driver, unless you count the fact that it makes printing fast and efficient. A spooler collects print files and puts them into a queue. When several print jobs are lined up, they are spooled by the spooler and stored temporarily on a printer's memory. After the documents have been printed, the temporary file is erased from the printer's memory. The entire process is automatic and seamless, so you would never have an inkling that it was even happening.

Without a spooler, print jobs would be lost all the time. Computers would also slow to a crawl whenever jobs needed to be printed. Thanks to spoolers, all of the information that's needed by the printer is sent directly over to it from the computer. If the information sat around in the computer's memory, it would interrupt other processes and have a negative impact on performance. In fact, that used to be one of the biggest drawbacks of printing at home. Thanks to spooler technology, however, these issues are basically things of the past. You can click the print button and keep using your computer without interruption.

Conclusion

As you can see, printer spoolers and printer drivers have hardly anything in common. Other than making modern printing as fast, efficient and effective as it is today, spoolers and drivers serve very different purposes. However, you wouldn't want to go without either of them. Each one is important in its own right. If you run into error messages about either one, make sure to resolve the issue quickly. Similarly, always update your printer drivers right away. When drivers are out of date, printing can be negatively impacted. With prompt updates, your computer and printer should keep performing optimally.

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