"Operation could not be completed. The print spooler service is not running". You've probably seen this message at some point if you print often enough. It doesn't really make much sense if you don't know what a print spooler is or what it does. Well as always, we're here to help you understand your problem and solve it too. So read on weary printer problem traveller.
What on earth is a print spooler or spooling?
First of all let's have a look at what the 'print spooler' is and what purpose it serves. Spool is an acronym for simultaneous peripheral operations on-line.
Printers can only write one document at a time. Print spooling (sounds like some weird printer sport doesn't it?) allows multiple processes to write documents to a print queue without waiting.
Let me give you a brief example that will explain it better. Say you have a 20 page document open in word that you want to print. A regular printer can only print one document at a time, meaning that without a print spooler, word would have to wait until the first page is finished before the printer would retrieve to information for the second page and so on. This would mean that word would be in demand through out the whole printing process of those 20 pages and the CPU and memory would be tied up in the process to until all 20 pages were printed.
Thanks to the print spooler, word would write the 20 page document to the print spooler device for the printer to retrieve it at its own pace, freeing up the process allowing it to perform other tasks.
How to fix a print spooler problem?
If you are receiving this error then do not worry too much, it is a fairly easy problem to fix and there are a couple of things you can try to get it sorted.
The most common problem that causes the print spooler to stop working is when the printers drivers have been corrupted. So the very first thing you should do it simply to re-install or update the drivers. You should be able to find them on the website of the printer manufacturer (e.g: HP, Lexmark, etc.).
If this doesn't work then you can also try restarting the print spooler. Let me walk you through that process:
• Click on the Windows start button
• Select 'Run...' and once open, type in 'services.msc'
• Once you have the services window open. Find the print spooler service in the list.
• Select the print spooler service, and then you should be see the option to restart this service, click that option.
The printer driver corruption could also be the problem when using Windows 7, so again, try re-installing or updating your printers drivers first.
If that didn't work then you can also try the following:
• Make sure you are logged into an account with administrative access.
• Click the Windows/Start button and then Control Panel>System and Maintenance>Administrative Tools.
• Double click on services.
• Right click on the print spool service and select properties.
• Within the 'General' tab, make sure that the start up type is set to 'Automatic'.
• If the print spool service is not running then select 'Start' under 'Service Status'.
Hopefully using one of the suggestions above you will have sorted your problem and will be able to print again. If not, let us know and we will do our best to help you some more.