How to Cancel a Print Stuck in Windows

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How to Cancel a Print Stuck in Windows

Sometimes, the document you are printing gets stuck in the printer queue, preventing further documents from being printed. Whether you are using a local or shared network printer, sometimes printing does not work properly. If you've been trying to troubleshoot an obvious printer problem — paper jam, no paper, low ink or toner, or simply restarting the printer — it's time to turn your attention to the print queue. 

Often, simply cleaning and restarting the print spooler — the software that prepares and manages printing documents — can fix the problem. If that fails, you may need to cancel one or more documents in your print queue and see if it can run again. Here's How to Cancel a Print Stuck in Windows:

1. Delete and Restart Print Spooler

Emptying and restarting the print spooler should be your first step when trying to fix a stuck print job because it won't actually cancel your currently printing document. Instead, it restarts and continues as if all those documents had just been sent to the printer for the first time.

Delete and Restart Print Spooler
Delete and Restart Print Spooler

To do this, you will stop the Print Spooler service, clear the temporary cache that Windows uses to collect print jobs, and then start the service again. We will show you two ways to do this. First, we'll look at how to do it manually, then we'll look at how to batch script it so you can do it any time you want with just one click.

2. Clean and Manually Restart Print Spooler

To delete and restart the print spooler manually, you must first stop the Print Spooler service.
  1. Click Start, type “services”, then click the Services app.
  2. In the right pane of the Services window, locate and double-click the “Print Spooler” service to open its properties window.
  3. In the properties window, on the “General” tab, click the “Stop” button. You'll be restarting the service later, so go ahead and leave this properties window open for now.
  4. Launch File Explorer and browse to the following location — or simply copy and paste this text into your File Explorer address bar and press Enter: %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS
  5. You may be asked to grant permission to access this folder. Go ahead and accept.
  6. Delete the contents of the entire folder by pressing Ctrl + A and then the Delete key.
  7. Now, go back to the properties window that opens in the Services app and click “Start” to restart the Print Spooler service. Click “OK” to close the properties window and you can also go ahead and exit the Services application.
  8. As soon as you restart the Print Spooler service, all the documents in your queue are immediately reassembled and sent to the printer. If all goes well, they will immediately start printing again.
Print Spooler service

3. Restart or Cancel Some or All of Your Printing Documents

If deleting and restarting the print spooler doesn't work, the next step you need to take is to see if you can identify — and cancel — any documents that are stuck. Sometimes, clearing one document jam will get your printer working again and other print jobs in the queue can finish printing normally. Other times, you may have to cancel all currently printing documents and try printing them again.
  1. Click Start, type “devices,” and then click the Control Panel application “Devices and Printers.”
  2. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the problematic printer, and then click the “See what is printing” command to open the print queue.
  3. The print queue window shows the print jobs that are currently waiting for printing. If one document is causing the problem and you have more than one document in the queue, it is usually the earliest document that is stuck. Click the "Submitted" column header so that the documents are arranged in the order in which they were submitted, with the earliest at the top. Note that in our example, we adjusted the column to better fit our screenshot, so your “Submitted” column might be further to the right.
  4. Right-click the earliest print job and then select “Restart” from the context menu.
  5. If your printer turns on and starts printing after the document restarts, you're good to go. If not, you need to try canceling the document. Right-click the document again and select the “Cancel” command.
  6. Click “Yes” to confirm that you want to cancel the document.
  7. If the cancellation is successful, the document will disappear from the print queue and the printer will start printing the next document accordingly. If the document wasn't canceled at all — or if it was indeed canceled but printing still doesn't occur — you should try canceling all the documents in the queue. Click the “Printer” menu and then select the “Cancel all documents” command.
  8. All the documents in the queue will disappear and you can try printing a new document to see if it works.

If restarting the print spooler and removing the document from the print queue doesn't fix your printing problem — and your printer was working fine before — then you may need to turn your attention to things like updating or reinstalling your printer driver or proceeding for any diagnostics. provided by your printer manufacturer. 

Hopefully, though, these How to Undo a Print Stuck in Windows steps help fix your stuck print job before going that far...


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