This error message can occur when you add a new printer to your computer or send print operations to an existing printer in the network. There are several reasons why the Print Spooler service can stop or not start automatically at all. This can vary from your Windows Firewall to your printer drivers and multiple other things.
When the Print Spooler service is down, you will not be able to interact with your printer. This is because the Print Spooler service acts as a communication bridge and facilitates the interactions you wish to make with your printer. Therefore, ensuring the service runs in the background without any issues is a high priority.
In this article, we will take you through several methods you can use to rectify the problem. As it turns out, the cause of the error message can differ in each case, which is why it is essential that we go through the possible sources of the issue before diving into the solutions. With that in mind, let us start right away.
- Windows Defender Firewall interfering with the connection — One of the reasons which can result in the error message in question is the Windows Defender Firewall. This happens when the Windows Firewall prevents your computer from sending the request due to a false positive. As a result, the Print Spooler service
is kept at bay, unable to perform its tasks. The service can stop running in such situations, resulting in an error message. When this occurs, you will have to disable your Windows Firewall to fix the issue temporarily.
- Windows Update bug — Another cause of the Print Spooler failing to start can be a problem with a Windows update. This has been reported by several users who were affected by the same issue. In most cases, the issue was resolved by a new update. If this case is applicable, you must check for any pending updates and install them on your computer.
- Malfunctioning Printer Drivers — As it turns out, the printer drivers you are using on your system can also uproot the issue at hand. This can happen when the drivers’ malfunction or have been damaged due to a recent Windows update. In such a scenario, you will have to reinstall the proper drivers again to fix the issue.
- Windows files corruption — System file corruption can result in various issues. The Print Spooler service is no exception, as it is part of the operating system for facilitating printing jobs. You can get rid of corruption via a couple of built-in utilities, i.e., SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management).
- Intervention of third-party programs — The interference of a third-party program on your computer is not new; instead, it happens commonly. As it turns out, in some cases, the third-party programs on your computer can interfere with the Print Spooler service, resulting in the service malfunctioning. These issues can often be sourced to security software or the printing programs responsible for your printer.
- Damage to existing print files — Any previous or pending printing tasks are stored on your computer inside a specific directory. In some cases, the corruption of these files in your Windows directory can cause the service not to function correctly. The service spools these files to the printer to perform the printing task. In such a case, you will have to remove those files that should fix the error message.
- Duplicate printers — Finally, if you have multiple printers in your network, the issue can also arise due to duplication. A case of duplication can occur when you have multiple printers tied to the same port or IP address. In such a scenario, you will have to remove the duplicate printers to get everything back to working.
Now that we have gone through various possible causes of the issue in question let us start going through the possible solutions you can implement to resolve the error message.
1. Set Print Spooler Service to Automatic
If the Print Spooler service cannot start automatically when required, you will not be able to perform any printing jobs. This can happen when the service’s startup type is set to manual. In that case, you will have to manually start the service before performing any print tasks.
When you start troubleshooting the problem in question, you first need to ensure that the Print Spooler service can start automatically. If the service is not running in the background when you try to issue any printing commands, your system will not be able to communicate with the printer.
If this case is applicable, you will have to change the service’s startup type so it can start automatically whenever needed. To do this, follow the instructions down below:
- First, open the Run dialogue box by pressing the Windows key + R on your keyboard.
- In the Run dialogue box, type in services.msc and then hit Enter.
- On the Services window, look for the Print Spooler service. You can press P on your keyboard to jump to services starting with the letter P. This ought to make the search easier.
- Once you find the Print Spooler service, double-click on it to open up the Properties window.
- On the Properties window, change the Startup type to Automatic.
- Click Apply and then hit OK.
- See if the error comes up again.
If you still face the error message, move on to the next fix below.
2. Edit Print Spooler Service Configuration
If changing the startup type of the Print Spooler to automatic does not fix the issue for you, you can try configuring the service even further as a possible fix. As it turns out, there have been reports of users resolving the problem in question by changing the computer’s response when the service fails.
You can do this from the properties window of the service. You have the ability to specify actions for the first, second and subsequent failures of the service. To do this, follow the instructions down below:
- Open up the Run dialogue box by pressing the Windows key + R shortcut.
- Type services.msc in the Run dialogue box and hit Enter.
- Locate the Print Spooler service and double-click on it to open the Properties window.
- On the Properties window, switch to the Recovery tab.
- There, choose the Restart service option for First Failure, Second Failure, and Subsequent Failures. This will restart the print spooler service upon any failures it encounters.
- Once you do that, click Apply and OK. Check if the error message goes away with this.
3. Remove Duplicate Printers (if applicable)
One of the reasons the problem occurs is when you have multiple printers on the same port or IP address. This can be helpful when the error message occurs only on specific systems in your network. When this happens, you will need to check if the systems use the same network printer.
If this case is applicable, you must remove the duplicate printers, which should do the trick for you. Removing devices from your computer is a straightforward process with the help of the Control Panel. Follow the instructions down below to do this:
- First, open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu.
- On the Control Panel window, make your way to Hardware and Sound.
- There, click on the Devices and Printers option.
- Now, if you are using Windows 11, a Settings window should appear.
- On the Settings window, click on Devices.
- There, at the bottom, click on the More devices and printer settings option.
- After that, on the Devices and Printers window, locate the duplicate printers and right-click on them.
- From the drop-down menu, choose the Remove device option. See if this resolves the issue.
If you are still a victim of the error message, move to the following method below.
4. Install Pending Windows Updates
As it turns out, in some cases, Windows updates can cause issues with certain operating system components. While Windows updates bring new features and patches to known bugs, specific updates can be problematic. However, such issues are often resolved on subsequent updates.
Many users have reported that they started facing the issue after installing a specific Windows update. In addition, there have been claims of the issue being solved in the follow-up updates. As such, if you are someone who has not installed any updates recently, doing so might be a good option as it might potentially fix the problem for you. Follow the instructions down below to install any pending updates:
- To start off, open up the Settings window by pressing the Windows key + I on your keyboard.
- In the Settings window, make your way to Windows Updates.
- Once you are there, click on the Check for updates button to download and install any pending updates.
- Wait for the updates to install. Your computer will restart automatically during the process. After that, see if the problem persists.
5. Disable Windows Defender Firewall
The Windows Defender Firewall is a vital part of the Windows operating system. As the name shows, Windows Defender Firewall overlooks your computer’s incoming and outgoing connections. As a result, this helps keep your computer securely over the internet.
In some scenarios, the Windows Defender Firewall can be the culprit for the error message in question. This can happen when the Windows Firewall does not allow spooler requests to go through correctly. If this case is applicable, you will have to temporarily disable the Windows Defender Firewall to resolve the issue. To do this, follow the instructions down below:
- First, open up the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu.
- On the Control Panel window, navigate to System and Security.
- There, click on the Windows Defender Firewall option.
- Now, on the Windows Defender Firewall screen, click the Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off option on the left-hand side.
- Then, click the Turn off Windows Defender Firewall option for both Public and Private networks.
- Finally, click OK to save the changes.
- See if the issue goes away with this.
If the problem no longer persists, you can try adding your printer software to the Firewall’s whitelist. Once you do this, the firewall will allow any requests made by the software and the issue should not resurface. In addition, you will be able to turn the firewall back on. Follow the instructions down below:
- On the Windows Defender Firewall screen, click on the Allow an app through or feature through Windows Defender Firewall option.
- There, click on the Allow another app button.
- After that, click on the Browse button and navigate to the installation directory of your printing software. Open the executable file.
- Once you do that, click on the Network Types button and tick both the Public and Private checkboxes.
- Finally, click Add and then hit OK.
6. Close Third-Party Programs
According to several user reports, the error message can also occur due to the interference of a third-party program with the Print Spooler service. Background processes interfering with another process are not new, and it happens all the time. This especially holds true for any computer security programs you might use.
However, the problem may not only be due to a third-party security program. Any process running in the background can be the culprit. Some users have reported HP Wolf Security as the culprit. Therefore, we recommend closing out any third-party program running in the background that you do not need.
Once you close out the unnecessary programs, check if the error message goes away. In case it does not, move on to the next fix below.
7. Delete Printer Files
As it turns out, the spooler sends files you wish to print to a folder inside the Windows directory. These files exist in the respective directory for the purpose of any pending print tasks. However, in some cases, any corruption or damage to these files can result in the malfunction of the Print Spooler service.
When this occurs, you will have to clear out the contents of the respective folder to resolve the issue. To do this, you will require administrative privileges as the folder resides in the Windows installation directory. With that in mind, follow the instructions down below:
- First of all, open up a File Explorer window.
- Using the File Explorer window, navigate to the C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS directory.
- Once there, delete all the files inside.
- After doing that, restart your system.
- Once your PC boots up, see if the problem still occurs.
8. Reinstall Printer Drivers
Drivers are essential in the Windows operating system. This is because they are used to communicating with their respective hardware. There have been reports of the error message occurring due to a bad driver or malfunctioning drivers. As it turns out, if the drivers on your system for your printer are not working correctly, you will not be able to use your printer.
If this case is applicable, you will have to uninstall your current printer drives and then reinstall them. Doing so will also update the drivers since you will download them freshly from your printer’s manufacturer. To do this, follow the instructions down below:
- To start, open up the Device Manager window by searching for it in the Start Menu.
- On the Device Manager window, expand the Print queues list.
- From the drop-down list, locate your printer and right-click on it. Click on the Uninstall device option.
- After that, head to your manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers available for your printer.
- Before you install the new drivers, restart your computer.
- Once your PC boots up, install the latest drivers and see if the issue goes away.
If you still encounter the Print Spooler service not running an error message, move to the next method below.
9. Repair System Files Corruption
Finally, if none of the methods above has freed you from the problem in question, it is very likely that the issue is occurring due to the corruption of the system files. In such a scenario, you can use two built-in utilities to repair the corrupt files.
The utilities in question are System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing Management (DISM). Running these scans will locate corrupt files and replace them with functioning copies. To do this, follow the instructions down below:
- First, open up the Start Menu and search for the command prompt. Click the Run as administrator option to open it up.
- Once the command prompt window is open, type in sfc /scannow and then hit Enter.
- Wait for the SFC scan to complete the system scan and look for any corrupt files.
- After the SFC scan, type in dism /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth and press Enter.
- Wait for the DISM utility to restore any corrupted files.
- Once you do that, see if the problem still persists.