Document Stuck In Print Queue – How To Fix

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An easy fix for a document stuck in print queue. This is a common problem with printers and means that the submitted document will not print – and stops any further documents from printing.

You will not receive an error message and the status of the document in the print queue will stay as ‘printing’ forever…

It is always worth trying to delete the document first but often that will not work – the status may 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 trying to print more to ‘test things’ you will just end up with lots more print jobs queued up.

How To Fix A Document Stuck In Print Queue

You will 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 any problems.

To do this, follow the 5 steps below – they are the same for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Vista:

1. Click ‘Start’ and type CMD into the search box. Right click on the ‘CMD’ program in the search results and select ‘Run as administrator’.

2. You may now see a User Account Control message asking “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”. Click on ‘Yes’ to confirm.

This will open an elevated (Administrator) level Command Prompt window (as shown below, with all subsequent steps completed).

restart print spooler
Clearing the print queue

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

[Tip: if you see a ‘System Error 5‘ error message then you didn’t choose ‘Run as administrator’ in step 1 – start over again]

4. 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)

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

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

What Do These Commands Do?

The CMD program is a legacy program from the pre-Windows days of Microsoft DOS but it is still a very useful way to enter system commands:

‘net stop spooler’ – stop print spooler service (basically the ‘print queue’). We need to stop this service from running before we can delete any documents in it.

‘del’ command – deletes everything currently held in the print queue folder, including any ‘stuck’ documents.

‘net start spooler’ – restart print spooler service, so that it is ready to accept new print requests.

What If This Keeps Happening?

If you occasionally get a document stuck in print queue error, it is likely just due to an incompatibility with the actual data you sent to be printed.

This is especially common when trying to print a whole webpage because it may have unusual fonts or styles that the printer is unable to convert into printed output – run the above fix to clear the print queue.

Note: if you then try to print the same webpage again it will likely just get stuck again – because the printer still can’t convert it… Always look for a ‘print friendly’ or ‘click to print’ button on the webpage which will convert the page into a format more suitable for printing.

However, if you regularly encounter this error then it is most likely an issue with your printer drivers (software) – the ideal solution is to download/update new drivers direct from your printer manufacturer’s website.

If you have an old printer and there are no driver updates available, it may be the right time to upgrade to a new printer – about $50 buys a basic WiFi printer with good reviews like the Canon TS3120 – check price on Amazon.

Other causes of a document stuck in print queue may include a misconfigured printer e.g. trying to network print to an IP address that doesn’t exist – uninstalling the printer software then downloading the latest version and installing from scratch should fix this.

You could also try running a Windows Troubleshooter for printers – this could repeat our fix above but may also fix any other Windows errors that could stop printing, or at least inform you of the cause.

56 thoughts on “Document Stuck In Print Queue – How To Fix”

  1. Others are also having this problem as well, this fixed it temporarily for me, but who wants to keep doing the cmd thing over and over. There is another solution I found although it has not worked for me it has worked for other and I will tell you why in a minute but for those of you running IE 11. Many people uninstalled the latest update for IE11 and it solved their problem, however all my IE updates failed so there is no update to uninstall and therefor did not work for me but it might for others.

  2. Tried instructions to delete stuck print file – net stop spooler. Received Accessed Denied. Now what can I do?

    • @Bob – you most likely get that error message if you aren’t running an elevated (admin level) Command Prompt prompt – see Step 2 again (must choose ‘Run as administrator’).

      In Win 8 right click cmd and choose to run as admin. If you’re accessing it from the search charms, click run as admin – cmd window must be called “Administrator command prompt” and not just “command prompt”

  3. We keep getting this issue – I have tried all sorts to rectify it; including installing the driver from windows 7 cab, installing the latest driver from the manu website. It does not happen a lot, this is the thing. It happens about 10 times a day spread over 40 printers. Just clearing the print queue on the print server and doing “net stop spooler && net start spooler” works, without having to enter the del file command.

    I would like to know why this happens – the printers are fairly new, they will print one document fine, then stall on the next and there is no apparent difference in the documents – e.g, these are student documents and there work is mostly identical. We have tried un-ticking “Keep printed documents”, changing the default print processor. This didn’t seem to happen as often in XP,

  4. Wow! Someone sent me a ridiculously huge Excel file which jammed up the priner queue. This cleared it out. Thanks!

    • Did the steps and cleared the queue but still getting stuck in queue. Was working one minute than stopped and now doing this…

      • You could try the Microsoft Fixit for printers – see my answer to comment 2 below.

        However, if you keep on getting docs stuck in the queue after that, Microsoft say that the problem is most likely your printer drivers – uninstalling the printer drivers and reinstalling the latest version may resolve

  5. I ran out of ink in the middle of printing a 232 page document—how do I start to print again without printing the entire document—-I have a MacBook and an Epsom printer

  6. any idea why i seem to need to do this all the time? every time i want to print i have to clear the spooler and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

    • @Jessica – see my answer to comment 12 for Microsoft’s official explanation of why it happens. Most likely to be caused by an outdated or poorly written printer driver (software from printer manufacturer)

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