Seeing a "printer spooler not responding" or "failed to connect to printer spooler" error in Windows can stop you from printing entirely. But don't worry, spooler issues are usually easy to resolve with a few simple troubleshooting steps.
In this guide, we’ll explain what causes printer spooler errors and walk through methods for troubleshooting and fixing printer spooler problems on Windows 10, 8, 7.
What is the Print Spooler in Windows?
The print spooler is a system service in Windows that handles the flow of print jobs from your computer to your printer. It queues and schedules multiple printing tasks so they can be processed efficiently without overwhelming the printer.
Common spooler error messages include:
- Printer Spooler Not Responding
- Failed to Connect to Printer Spooler Service
- Printer Spooler Failed to Initialize
- Print Spooler Has Encountered an Error
These indicate some issue with the print spooler software that is preventing normal operation. Let’s look at how to troubleshoot and fix the most common spooler problems.
1. Restart Computer and Printer
The first step with any print spooler error is to restart both your computer and printer. A reboot flushes out any software glitches and reconnects the spooler service.
- Restart your computer to reload the print spooler.
- Power cycle your printer off and back on.
- Try printing again after restarting both devices. This alone often resolves spooler errors.
2. Disable and Re-Enable Print Spooler
If a simple restart doesn’t fix spooler issues, temporarily disabling and re-enabling the print spooler itself can clear problems:
- Open the Run dialog with Windows + R and enter “services.msc”.
- Locate the “Print Spooler” service and right-click to select Stop to disable it.
- Right-click Print Spooler again and choose Start to re-enable it after a few seconds.
- Try printing again. The stop/start resets the spooler and fixes many errors.
3. Delete All Print Jobs From Queue
Over time, some corrupted print jobs may get “stuck” in the queue preventing other jobs from processing. Deleting the queue forces it to start fresh:
- Open the Run dialog again and enter “printmanagement.msc” to open the printer management console.
- Expand the “Print Servers” section and select your computer name.
- Right-click the stuck print job(s) and choose Cancel to remove them from the queue.
- Restart the spooler after deleting the problematic queued jobs.
4. Update Printer Drivers
Outdated printer drivers can cause compatibility issues with the print spooler. Checking for driver updates from your printer manufacturer and installing the latest versions can resolve printer spooler problems.
- Go to the support page for your printer model.
- Check available downloads for updated printer drivers.
- Download and install the newest driver. Restart your computer after installing.
- The updated driver resets printer/spooler communication fixing many errors.
5. Create New System Restore Point
Creating a system restore point lets you roll back Windows to an earlier state if a recent system change is behind spooler issues:
- Type “Create restore point” in the Windows search box.
- Follow the prompts to set a new system restore point at a date prior to the spooler errors.
- If errors persist, revert to that restore point which brings your PC back to the previous state.
6. Reset TCP/IP Printer Port
If connection issues between your computer and printer are causing spooler trouble, resetting the TCP/IP port may help:
- Access your computer’s list of printers and right-click the problematic printer.
- Select “Printer Properties” then open the Ports tab.
- Click the TCP/IP port for your printer and choose Reset. Click OK to confirm.
- This resets the communication channel, often resolving spooler connectivity problems.
When to Call Support
If you still see print spooler errors after trying these common fixes, contact your printer or computer support teams for further specialized troubleshooting. The pros can investigate more system-level causes like:
- Damaged Windows print components
- Outdated printer firmware
- Network configuration issues
- Hard drive errors
- RAM problems
Getting to the root cause of persistent printer spooler errors usually requires support-level diagnosis when standard fixes fail. But in many cases, a few simple troubleshooting steps will get your print spooler running smoothly again.
Prevent Future Print Spooler Errors
To help avoid print spooler problems going forward:
- Maintain the latest Windows updates
- Keep printer drivers updated
- Use surge protectors to stabilize power
- Restart computers/printers regularly
- Monitor system logs for early error detection
With robust printer and Windows maintenance habits, you can minimize disruptive print spooler failures down the road.
Get Your Print Jobs Flowing Again
While printer spooler errors seem ominous, a few targeted troubleshooting techniques can usually get them resolved quickly. Restart devices, reset components, and update software to get your print queue moving again. With the right fix, you can get back to seamless printing in no time.