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.

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