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I've got a user on a Windows XP Pro machine. She's got an HP LaserJet 1022 printer attached. For some reason, which I don't understand, she can't get anything to print to that stupid printer. Right now she's got 17 print jobs in the queue, and nothning at all is coming out. I've checked and the print spooler service is running. Why doesn't it work?

The printer is on and connected to the PC.

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Are there any lights on the printer itself? – random Aug 4 '11 at 14:27
Yes. And interestingly enough, the user can print a few times, but then, all by itself, it just stops. I have to cycle the power on the printer for it to work again. What's up with that? – Rod Aug 4 '11 at 20:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It sounds like the first job in the queue is causing the spooler to crash, so all other print outs are stuck behind it.

The spooler will maintain the jobs through restarts (of the spooler, and the system) so on restart (if this is the case) it will just crash again.

You can manually clear the print queue and try again (Instructions from here).

  1. Click "start" and go to "Run"
  2. Type "services.msc" at the prompt which will open the Services window.
  3. Scroll down the alphabetical list in the right window pane until you come to the entry with the name "Print Spooler"
  4. Right-click this entry, then select "stop". This will stop the computer running the process that holds your print queues.
  5. Leaving that window open for now, click again on "Start", and then click "My Computer" to open a Windows Explorer window.
  6. We've stopped the queue service, now we just have to clear the jam that is already there. To do this we navigate to the print spool folder which is hiding within the Windows folders. Usually Windows is installed on C: drive, but you should be easily able to tell when the Explorer window opens which drive it is on. The usual path to the spool folder is C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS, but yours may be slightly different. Your windows drive may have another name for instance, but this would be uncommon. So click on your Windows drive (usually C), then double-click on the Windows folder, and then find the System32 folder and double-click on that. Windows may warn you that you are about to view system files, but click "View files anyway" message and search out the "spool folder". Within the Spool folder is your Printers folder, and you should open that.
  7. Delete every file within this folder to empty the jammed print queue (pressing the "ctrl" and "a" keys will select all files and then you can just hit "delete").
  8. Close the explorer window now that we have emptied the cleared spool files, and return to your Services window. we must re-start the Print spool service, and do so by right-clicking the Print Spool entry and selecting "Start" from the list. Close the services window and try printing again

You may also want to try updating the printer driver to the latest version from, as it the updated driver may be able to handle the document that's currently causing you grief.

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I didn't know I could still work with the queue, even when you stop the print spooler. Interesting. Thank you for these tips! – Rod Aug 4 '11 at 15:36
I keep a script on my print server that stops the printer queue services, deleted the entire contents of that directory, and then restarts the services. By scripting it the whoe process takes less than 10 seconds and then everything is back to normal and OK. – music2myear Aug 4 '11 at 15:54

The reason is simply because printers are a nightmare that seemingly have not advanced that much in many years...

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(Entire Comic Link)


The first thing to try and do is to check the queue. If it shows some sort of error, note it and please say or research it. If however it just says printing... or similar, follow this advice:

Try turning the printer off and on again.

Next, restart the spooler service.

Next, try to see if a driver upgrade is available.

Next, try to kick it a few times.

Make sure the printer is connected.

Try restarting the spooler service again, and deleting the temporary files in the spool directory.

If you are still having problems, let me know and I will try to give a few further steps.

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I absolutely LOVE those cartoons! I think there's a lot of truth to them, as I hate printer issues. – Rod Aug 4 '11 at 15:37

Is this all the checking you've done: Check to see the spooler is running and look at the jobs in her queue?

If so, have you tried deleting some (or all) the jobs in here queue?

Also, does the job at the head of the queue have some status regarding what it is trying to do? It may say it's errored out, or it may give details helpful to us to determine the real problem.

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Yes, that's about all I did. I stopped and restarted the spooler. I also checked the jobs in the queue and they the first one had a status of "Printing", whereas the rest were all "Pending". No errors were being reported on any of them. – Rod Aug 4 '11 at 15:38
How long had the first job been in the queue? Anything more than a few minutes and it should have timed out with an error. What happens when you delete the first job? – music2myear Aug 4 '11 at 15:53

Try some of the HP print diagnostic tools, usually solves issues with HP printers.

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