How to Clear the Print Queue in Windows 10 Without Restarting

Printers are the bane of the computer. No matter what printer you are using, for whatever reason, you will face all sorts of problems while connecting or trying to print files. One of those problems is the print getting stuck. When a print is stuck, it will not be printed. What’s more, it will stop all the other prints in the queue from printing. Simply put, if you have one print that is stuck, it will stop the entire queue and prevent other files from printing.

To make matter worse, the options to clear print queue are hidden deep and the apps provided by the printer manufacturer are no better either. That being said, though the options are not so easy to find, it is quite easy to clear the print queue with just a few clicks. There are four different methods to clear the print queue. I will list all of them. Follow the one you like.

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1. Clear Print Queue from the Settings App

Every time you try to print something, Windows adds it as a print job. By clearing the print job list, you can clear the print queue. The new Windows 10 Settings app has proper options to clear print job list.

1. Open the Settings app by pressing the keyboard shortcut Win + I. You can also open the Settings app by searching for it in the start menu or by clicking on the “All Settings” button in the Notification center.

2. In the Settings app, go to “Devices -> Printers and Scanners”.

3. On the right-panel, click on your printer device and click on the “Open Queue” button.

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4. The above action will show all the print jobs in the queue. Right-click on each print job and select “Cancel” option.

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5. In the confirmation window, click on the “Yes” button.

6. Once you cleared the print queue, this is how it should like in the print job window.

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That is it. By canceling all the print jobs, you’ve successfully cleared the print queue in Windows 10.

2. Clear Print Queue from the Control Panel

You can also use the good old control panel to cancel print jobs and clear the print queue. In fact, this method is basically the same as the above one. The only difference is that you will be using the control panel rather than the settings app.

1. Search for “Control Panel” in the start menu and open it.

Start menu control panel search item

2. Make sure the View By is set to “Large icons”, find “Device and Printers” and click on it.

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3. You will see all the devices attached to your computer. Find your printer under “Printers” section, right-click on it and select the option “See what’s printing”.

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4. The above action will open the print job window. Here, right-click on each print job and select the “Cancel” option.

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5. You will see a confirmation window. Click on the “Yes” button.

6. This is how it should look like in the print job window after clearing all the job.

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You are done clearing the print queue. You can start a new print queue and the printing process should work fine.

3. Stop, Clear, and Restart Print Spooler from Command Prompt to Clear Print Queue

Whenever you try to print a file, Windows creates a print job and adds it as a file in the Printers folder located in the C drive. By deleting all those print job files, you can clear the print queue. Since the files are actively used by the print spooler service, you need to first stop it and then delete the print job files. From the command prompt, you can stop the Print Spooler service, clear the queue and start the service in one go. Let me show you how.

1. Search for the “Command Prompt” in the start menu. Right-click on the command prompt and select “Run as Administrator” option.

Open command prompt as admin

2. The above action will open the command prompt with admin rights. Use the below command to stop the print spooler service.

net stop spooler

3. Next, you need to delete the print job files. For that, use the below command to delete files. Don’t worry, we are not deleting anything important. These files are just responsible for the print queue.

del /Q /F /S "%windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*.*"

4. After deleting the print job files, you need to start the print spooler again so that you can print your files without restarting Windows. For that use the below command.

net start spooler

That is it. From now on, you should be able to print files without the print queue getting stuck. If the print queue does get stuck again, follow the above procedure once more to clear the print queue.

4. Stop Print Spooler Service and Clear Queued Files

If you don’t like or not comfortable using the command prompt method, you can manually stop the print spooler services from the management console and manually delete the print job files. Let me show you how.

1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. In the empty field, type services.msc and press Enter. This will open the Windows Services management console window. This is where you can manage various Windows and other services.

Services run command

2. Scroll down and find the “Print Spooler” service. Now, right-click on it and select “Stop” option.

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3. The service will be stopped almost instantly.

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4. Now, open the Run dialog box again using the keyboard shortcut Win + R. Type %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS\ in the field and press Enter. This will open the print jobs folder.

Note: If you see an administrator confirmation prompt while opening the folder, click on the “Continue” button.

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5. Select all the files and hit the Delete button on your keyboard.

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4. Once deleted, this is how the PRINTERS folder should look like.

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6. Now, go to the Services window, right-click on the “Print Spooler” service and select the “Start” option. This will start the print spooler service so that you can print your files.

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After deleting the print job files, you are done clearing the print queue. You can now start printing again and don’t have to worry about stuck prints.

If you like this article, do check out how to uninstall Interner Explorer 11 in Windows 10 and how to stop background apps in Windows 10.

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