How to troubleshoot the print spool server service that is not running

Written by peter lancett
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The Print Spooler service is a critical service involved in preparing data to be sent from a computer to a physical printer. The Print Spooler service is involved in loading file data into memory for printing. It manages the print queue if multiple jobs have been sent to a printer. It depends on another service called the Remote Procedure Call service (RPC), so if RPC is not running, the Spooler service will not run. Third-party printer drivers have also been known to corrupt the Print Spooler service. You should check that the RPC and Pint Spooler services are running if you receive the \"print spooler service is not running\" error message.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer running Windows OS
  • Printer Drivers
  • Printer user manual

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  1. 1

    Click \"Start\" then click \"Control Panel.\" This opens the Control Panel window. Double-click \"Administrative Tools\" to open the Administrative Tools window.

  2. 2

    Double click the \"Services (local)\" shortcut icon. This opens the \"Services\" window. The Services window displays a list of all services installed on the computer and the current status of each service.

  3. 3

    Scroll down the list of services to locate the \"Remote Procedure Call (RPC)\" service. Right-click the RPC service and select \"Properties.\" This opens the \"Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Properties\" window. Ensure that the \"Startup type\" is set to \"Automatic.\" Ensure that the \"Service status\" shows a status of \"Started.\" These are default settings and cannot be changed in this window.

  4. 4

    Locate the \"Print Spooler\" service from the list of services. Right-click the \"Print Spooler\" service and select \"Properties\" to open the \"Print Spooler Properties\" window. Set the \"Startup type\" drop down list to \"Automatic.\" Click the \"Stop\" button in the \"Service status\" area of this window. When the service status indicated \"Stopped,\" click the \"Start\" button to restart the service. Once the service has started again, click \"OK.\"

  5. 5

    Open a document and send it to your printer to test that the spooler system is working. If the document prints, the Print Spooler Service has been successfully reset. If the print job fails, you should uninstall your printer drivers and reinstall them.

  1. 1

    Click \"Start\" then click \"Control Panel\" to open the Control Panel window. Double-click the \"Add or Remove Programs\" icon. This opens the Add or Remove Programs window.

  2. 2

    Scroll down the list of installed programs to locate the printer drivers for your printer. Click the program that includes your printer drivers. Click the \"Remove\" button. This will remove the printer drivers and associated printer programs from your computer. These programs can no longer cause problems with the Print Spooler service.

  3. 3

    Reinstall your printer drivers, following the printer manufacturer's instructions. The Print Spooler service will now work correctly.

Tips and warnings

  • Download the latest drivers for your printer from the printer manufacturer's web site. Original drivers may be corrupt so it is a best practice to always install the latest drivers.
  • Browse to the spool folder (C:windows\\Systemj32\\spool) after starting the computer in \"Safe Mode.\" Load Safe Mode by pressing the F8 key during start up. In safe mode you can delete all the files in the Spool folder. Corrupt files in this folder might cause problems with the Print Spooler Service
  • Changing the behaviour of the RPC service involves editing the system registry. This can seriously harm your OS installation if performed incorrectly. Only edit the settings of the Print Spooler service.

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