Many of us have suffered from the annoying problem at some point or another. You decide that you don’t want to print a document after clicking the “Print” button, so you open up your printer’s print cache and try to cancel or delete the document. To your dismay, the document stays there, stubbornly refusing to be deleted. This, of course, clogs up your print queue and holds up all of your other printing projects.
As it turns out, there’s a simple and straightforward way to clear your print cache in Windows Vista—without restarting your computer. First, make sure you have Administrator privileges on your PC. Then simply follow these steps:
1. Open up your Start Menu and click on Run. Type in “services.msc” and click OK. When asked for permission to continue, click Continue.
Figure 1. The Services dialog box.
NOTE: The Services dialog box can also be accessed from the Control Panel. Once you’re in Control Panel, click on System and Maintenance, then Administrative Tools. Then, double-click on Services. If you’re in Classic View, which can be selected from the upper-left corner of the Control Panel window, you can simply double-click on the Administrative Tools icon and open up Services from there.
2. Double-click on Print Spooler in the Services dialog box, and Print Spooler Properties will open up. Click “Stop” to stop the Print Spooler service from running.
Figure 2. Print Spooler Properties.
3. Go to the Start Menu and then Run. Type the following: “C:\WINDOWS\System32\Spool\PRINTERS” and click OK.
NOTE: This will only work if the C:\ drive is the hard drive on which Windows is installed, which is usually the case. If the C:\ drive isn’t your main hard drive, double-click on the Computer icon on your desktop, double-click on your main hard drive, and then open up the following folders in succession: Windows, System32, Spool, and finally Printers. If you’re given a warning that you’re opening system files, click “View Files Anyway.”
4. Delete any files that you see in the Printers folder that opens up. If asked to confirm deletion, click OK.
5. Now go back to your print cache and delete the documents as you normally would.
6. Finally, return to the Print Spooler dialog box in Services and click Start to begin the print spooler again.
Everything should be back to normal after completing these simple steps. Now you can return to printing your documents with ease—and without a headache!