Local Print Spooler Not Running

Who else is having the local print spooler not running error message? Read on and learn how to easily fix this.

The printing issue seems to be bothering a lot of people in several flavors of the Microsoft Windows operating system (ranging from Windows XP via Windows Vista, Windows 7 and even Windows 8) and many people are in the dark when it comes to finding a solution. A customer brought the problem to my attention when she contacted me in frustration about her stubborn printer.

A little bit of Googling revealed a lot of forum posts, help desk messages and support requests from frustrated computer users that have been struggling with this issue. What struck me, though, was that it was pretty hard to find a decent explanation or instructions to solve the local print spooler service error.

I decided to publish this article as a resource for people like you, who are in the same situation, so you don’t have to waste time reading through lengths of forum posts in order to fix this problem if you are faced with the local print spooler not running error message.

Solving The Issue

Ok, let’s get down to business.

  1. Click the Windows Start button
  2. Type "%WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers" (without the quotes)
    Local Print Spooler Not Running - Step 1
  3. In Windows Vista and 7 you might see a notification that you need to click "continue" in order to get access to the folder. If so, please go ahead and click the continue button.
    Local Print Spooler Not Running - Continue
  4. An Explorer windows will open up, showing the contents of the folder C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS
  5. This folder should be empty. If you see some files in there, then you have just found the cause of your printing problems. Simply delete the files and you should be well on your way to finally printing that document you wanted to print.

If you have deleted the files in the abovementioned directory and you still get the local print spooler not running message, you might need to restart the print spooler service before your actions take effect.

In order to restart the print spooler service, do the following:

  1. Click the Windows Start button
  2. Type "Services.msc" (without the quotes)
    Local Print Spooler Not Running - Services
  3. Right-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list.
    Local Print Spooler Not Running - Restart
  4. Select "Restart" in the context menu

You also might want to check that the print spool service startup type is "Automatic":
Again, right-click "Printer Spooler" in the Services list and select "Startup Type" in the context menu. Then, make sure that "Automatic" is selected.

The HP Color LaserJet 2600n Printer

The case that I was working on involved a HP Color LaserJet 2600n printer, but obviously the local print spooler service problem can happen with any type of printer. That’s because the issue happens at the print spooler service level, rather than with the printer driver that’s associated with your printer.

The good news about this is that the solution described above can be used to solve printing problems with a wide variety of printers, but the bad news is that people often search in the wrong place in order to find the (easy solution). We’ve seen comments of people who were searching the internet for solutions for their specific type of printer, which made it very hard for them to find a working solution.
We had to narrow down the problem to the local print spooler service. Once you know that, it’s figureable-outable.


But even if you know where to look, it seems pretty darn hard to find a decent description of the steps you need to perform in order to get your printer working again. We’ve seen literally hundreds of forum threads, help desk messages and user community posts of people describing the exact same problem, crying out in frustration for help.

This seems to be a classic example of a very common problem that has caused many, many people to spend way too much time trying to find an answer to their question. That’s why we decided to put together this article and publish it. Life’s too short. If this piece of information can help only a handful of people, it will have served its purpose. Judging by the number of unanswered calls on the internet about this local print spooler not running error message though, I’m inclined to think that more than a handful of people would benefit from having a solution.

If you found this article helpful, please do us a small favor and let us know via the comment box below.

Thanks for reading and have a great day, free of printing problems!

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