Trouble deleting or canceling a print job in Windows?

The glitch I had in printing was that I was unable to cancel a bad print job from the printing queue. It simply sat in front of the queue of print jobs without being printed or deleted. I am running Windows XP Professional, however, this experience may happen on all Windows operating systems.

The reason for this glitch is that the print manager was not able to delete the spooler file caching the print job. Therefore, the solution is to remove the print job manually.

1. Locate the print job under the print spooler directory. It’s usually under
where %SystemRoot% is the installation directory of Windows OS.

2. You can find the files according to time stamp and size, and try to delete them, however, it usually doesn’t work because there is a lock on these files by the “Print Spooler” service.

3. Click “Control Panel” -> “Administrative Tools” -> “Services” and find “Print Spooler”. The “Status” column shows “Started”. Right click the service to “Stop” it.

4. Leave the “Services” open and go back to the directory in Step 1 to delete those files.

5. Go back to the “Services” windows and right click the “Print Spooler” service to “Start” it again.

Now happy printing again!


19 Responses to “Trouble deleting or canceling a print job in Windows?”

  1. Kenric Says:

    Thanks for the tip. This happens to me all the time!

  2. Yannick Says:

    My pleasure. This is a good way to document tips for myself too.

  3. Indulgence Says:

    I am facing the same problem. I tried your solution but when I stop the services it shows an error message
    “Could not stop the Print Spooler service on Local Computer.
    Error 5: Access is Denied “.
    By the way user is connetced with a domain and using its local printer.

  4. latestarters Says:

    Do you have admin rights?

  5. George Says:

    if you get that, then you need to perform the above mentioned changes ON the computer to which the printer is attached, or the local File & Printer sharing server. otherwise it will not work

    stop spooler, find spool\printers folder, delete all files in said folder, restart spooler process.

  6. Michael Says:

    OMFG, I’ve been fighting this problem for weeks and I finally thought it’s time to fix it.

    I’m running vista home and the solution works great.


  7. tnas11 Says:

    Thx alot! Its perfect! ha ha 😀
    im too lazy to restart the computer and sometimes it doesnt work..

  8. Bob Says:

    Many thanks for the tip! It helped me to get my HP printer working again.

  9. sachin Says:

    problem not sul ple send solution

  10. SLY Says:

    Thanks! Huge help!!

  11. Jess Says:

    THANK you sooo much!! I was getting SO frustrated because I didn’t understand WHY there was a “cancel” option on printing a document when it wouldn’t even work!

    And again. Thank you VERY much. This worked like a charm! 😀

  12. Hera Says:

    Thanks so much! I was sceptical about this because it seemed too straight-forward, but it worked! Thanks!!!

  13. Charles Schroeder Says:


  14. Jose Says:

    I can’t get this to work on windows 7, I get “error processing command” or “spool not activated”.
    Any ideas as to how to fix this?

  15. Arun Chamoli Says:

    Thank you very much. It worked.

  16. dan Says:

    Thought this would work, but my laptop has other ideas. The files are removed from the print queue dialog box but remain in the little printer icon stating 2 print jobs pending. Appreciate the try though!

  17. Colleen Says:

    You are AWESOME. Thanks so much!!!!!

  18. RAHUL Says:

    it’s realy worked.thanks.

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    Scams, although exposed on various PTC forums, are still.
    The variety of advertisement shown depends about the ptc sites you are registered with.

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