Friday, January 8, 2010

Can't Delete Print Jobs on Windows

My brother-in-law called me up the other night. He's taking a C programming course, and I half expected him to ask me for some help with his homework. I was wrong - he seems to be handling it quite well, for a guy who never programmed before.

I was disappointed to hear that he called me up to fix a printing problem. He complained that he can't print on his Window$ XP PC, because a print job that he cancelled has not been removed from the printer queue (it's status is "Deleting - Printing" - WTF?), so all the subsequent jobs were stuck, waiting for the first one to finish.

Well, I have a reputation to keep. I sat down at my wife's laptop, so that I could both follow his description of what he already did, and guide him through any suggestion of mine. Turns out he already tried most of my suggestions, including power cycling both his printer and his PC.

I had one last idea: Google. I came up with several links (including a Micro$oft support article and this blog entry), from which the following procedure was derived:
  1. click the Start bottom and then select "Run..."
  2. stop the spooler service by typing
    net stop spooler
    and then hit Enter or press OK
  3. launch the file explorer (e.g. by hitting the Windows Key and "e" together)
  4. navigate to the folder
    %SystemRoot%\System32\Spool\Printers
    the %SystemRoot% bit is supposed to be automatically replaced with the path to the Window$ system folder (e.g. C:\WINDOWS)
  5. delete the *.spl and *.shd files that show the approximate time and date of the print job causing the problem (or delete everything there, if you don't mind losing other pending print jobs)
  6. click Start, select "Run..."
  7. restart the spooler service by typing:
    net start spooler
    and hit Enter or press OK

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