Documents Not Printing – Stuck In Print Queue

An easy fix for a document that will not print and status stays as ‘printing’. The most frequent problem with printers (apart from the ridiculous cost of ink!) is when documents are not printing because a document gets ‘stuck’ in the print queue – meaning that it won’t print out.

You will not receive an error message but the status of the document in the print queue will stay as ‘printing’ forever and never actually print.

Can’t I Just Delete The Document? You should certainly try this first but often it will not work – the ‘stuck’ document will change to ‘deleting in progress’ but never actually delete. Until it is deleted properly no further documents can be printed because they are in a queue (the first job submitted must be printed before any subsequent jobs can progress) – so if you keep on trying to print more documents to ‘test things’ you will just end up with loads of print jobs queued up…

How To Fix It – The fix is simple. You need to clear the print queue manually so that all the print jobs currently in the queue are deleted properly – once the queue is empty you should then be able to print new documents without problems. We will show you how below, depending on whether you use XP or Vista/7:

1. XP – click ‘Start’ then click ‘Run’ and in the Run window type CMD then press ‘OK’ – this opens a Command Prompt window. Now skip to Step 3.

2. Vista/7 – click ‘Start’ and type Command in the search box. Right click on the ‘Command Prompt’ result in the search results above it and select ‘Run As Administrator’ – this opens a Command Prompt window.

3. All version of Windows – in the Command Prompt window (these commands are also shown in the picture below):

4. Type net stop spooler then press the Enter key.

5. Type del %windir%\system32\spool\printers\*.* /q then press the Enter key (Note: the only spaces in this command are a single space between del and %, and a single space between * and /q)

6. Type net start spooler then press the Enter key.

7. Type exit then press the Enter key to exit the Command Prompt window.


Fixing the print queue

This should have cleared the print queue (i.e. all print jobs have been deleted) and you can now submit new jobs for printing :-)

What Do These Commands Do?

The Command Prompt is a throwback to the pre-Windows days of Microsoft DOS but is still a useful way to type and enter system commands. The print Spooler is basically the print ‘queue’ – we need to Stop it running before we can Delete documents stuck in it.

The Del command deletes everything currently held in the print queue, including the ‘stuck’ document(s). We then have to Start the Spooler (print queue) up again so that it can accept new print job requests in future.

What If It Keeps Happening?

If the problem only occurs occasionally it is likely just due to an incompatibility with the actual data being printed e.g. a webpage that has unusual fonts or some other format that the printer is unable to convert into printed output – run the above fix to resolve it.

However, if you find that almost all documents keep getting stuck in the print queue then Microsoft’s answer is that it is an issue with your printer drivers (software) – one solution may be to download and update new printer drivers from the manufacturer. You could also try the Microsoft automatic Fix It for printers – see our review here. This will repeat our fix above but may also flag up/fix any different Windows errors that stop printing.

Other causes may include a misconfigured printer e.g. network printing to an IP address that doesn’t exist – uninstalling and reinstalling the printer software from scratch should fix this.

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60 Responses to: "Documents Not Printing – Stuck In Print Queue"

  1. Kerry says:

    Help! We run a business and can’t print anything!!! I have emptied the queue, everything is hooked up put the document still goes in the queue. I noticed there is nothing under the “port”. Shouldn’t there be? Need help ASAP!! Oh and my printer is an HP Officejet 4620 and have Windows 7.

  2. Timothy George says:

    Thank you so much!! This solved one of my biggest problems on Windows 10!!

  3. Kent says:

    This method *worked* today on my laptop running Windows 8.1.
    And the printer was an HP psc 1350 all-in-one printer (about 11 years old).

    Just wanted Windows 8.1 users to know.

  4. Judy says:

    Using Vista/7 for my windows 7 – didn’t work. Still have job in queue!! Dang.

  5. Blanche says:

    Document “stuck” in queue! Can’t find “start” in Windows 10. Help!

    • Roy says:

      @Blanche – ‘start’ refers to what used to be called the Start button but is now just the Windows button – it’s the button at the very bottom left of your screen (which you click on to shut down or open a program etc)

  6. Klou says:

    Mine says System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied.

  7. mike latti says:

    This is great it works! I feel like a pro! My Lenovo lap top is now printing to my HP printer. Thanks.

  8. pjsplace says:

    The problem I had was the latest IE browser. It was causing the problem so uninstalled the latest update and that fixed it and now I use motzilla without any issues.

  9. Jo says:

    The documents are out of queue however now I can’t print. The next print job goes into queue and the status does not say printing. In fact it doesn’t say anything.

  10. Louise Haugan says:

    This worked for me…shut down your computer. Unplug everything,,,wait 60 seconds. Plug everything back in, turn your computer back on and voila…it’s not stuck in queue anymore, print what you need to.

  11. Neil says:

    Here is what works for me. I have a new HP PageWide inkjet 452dn printer connected via USB to my computer. Print jobs were consistently getting stuck in the queue. Sometimes they would print but not leave the queue. Once stuck there, nothing else would print. There are lots of procedures using Services, Print Spooler, clear the queue but the problem just occurs again after you clear the queue. Well, first of all HP has a neat little application called HP Print and Scan Doctor. Run that and it will clear the print queue and get you back in business printing. Problem still arises afterwards, so you may have to run the application often. Then I discovered that by selecting “Customize your printer”, “Advanced”, “Spool print docs …”, and select the option to “Start printing after last page is spooled” that I now very rarely get a document stuck in the print queue. Hope it works for you.