How to configure your printer spool settings

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

When a printer seems to lag while printing, it's usually because its spool file settings aren't configured properly. On Windows computers, the spool file is set to a default that works well for most users. However, in certain situations, tweaking these settings can produce more reliable and efficient results. Before delving into the ways in which you can optimize your printer's spool settings, you should get a clear idea about what a spool setting is in the first place. By understanding the basics of a printer's spool settings, you will have an easier time making it do what you need it to do.

What is Printer Spooling?

Spooling refers to the process of loading a document file to a computer's memory so that it is accessible to a printer. In general, this is done to increase efficiency and reliability. It is the default setting on Windows computers. When you check your printer's print queue, you are looking at the order in which the spooled files are to be printed. If you see a progress bar next to a file, it means that the spooled file is still being created. Spool files are temporary files. They are deleted after a print job is complete.

Accessing Your Computer's Printer Spool Settings

The specific area in which your computer's printer spool settings are located will depend on the version of Windows that you are using. However, a good place to start is the Control Panel. Seek out the printer properties dialog box. The printer spool settings section is usually located in the Advanced Settings area. There is no way to optimize or adjust your computer's spool settings without accessing this area. Another way to find it is by searching for "spool setting" on the Start Menu or in Windows Explorer.

Moving the Spool File

In some cases, printing is slower than usual because the computer has a hard time accessing the spool file. An easy way to find out whether or not that's the problem is by moving the spool file. In the spool settings dialog box, a default location for the file should already be listed. You should be able to input a new location. Before doing so, create a new folder in the drive or partition of your choice. For the sake of expediency, you should choose a drive or partition that the computer can access quickly. If your printer responds more quickly, you have solved the problem.

Adjust the Printer's Response Time

Another way to enhance the efficiency of a printer's spool settings is by adjusting how quickly it begins printing. It may seem obvious that the printer should begin as quickly as possible, but that's not always the best option. In the spool settings dialog box, your printer should already default to spool so that a program finishes printing faster. This means that it starts printing before the entire document has been spooled. If you regularly print massive documents, though, you might want to adjust it so that it only begins printing after the final page has been spooled. That way, the printer has full and complete access to the entire print file.

Eliminating Spooling

Finally, there should be an option to let applications print directly to the printer. In other words, you can eliminate the spooling process entirely. This isn't ideal because the application will be completely tied up until printing is complete. The efficiency of your computer will suffer while it is printing as well. However, it's something to keep in mind. You can always eliminate spooling temporarily and turn it back on later. In any case, you should always look at your computer's spool settings before you do anything else.

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