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How to Clear Printer Queue: Delete Print Jobs Windows/Mac

There are many reasons to clear the print queue on your printer. Maybe your printer froze, or you sent your document to the wrong printer.

Here’s how to clear printer queue:

  • Windows: You can cancel pending jobs from the printer menu or use Services > Print Spooling to manually clear all pending documents in the printer queue.
  • Mac: Go to Printer Utility or Open Print Queue, and manually select the jobs to delete.

Here are all the steps and settings so you can clear your printer queue and get back to printing.

how to clear printer queue

This guide is part of our Printer Skills series.

How to Clear Printer Queue in Windows

There are two ways to clear your printer queue in Windows. Here they are, beginning with the simplest.

1. Cancel Pending Print Jobs via Printer Application

You can either right-click on the Printer icon in the toolbar or search “Printers” in the Windows search bar.

You’ll find a menu that looks like this:

how to clear printer queue windows
How to clear the printer queue in Windows 11

Under Printers & scanners, go to Open Print Queue. In the More options (three dots), select Cancel All.

Accept by clicking Yes. Your print queue should be clear of pending print jobs.

cancel pending print jobs

2. Clear Printer Queue with Print Spooler

If the first method didn’t work, try this more advanced method.

  1. In the Windows search bar, search Services (Services.msc)
  2. Go to Print Spooler. Right-click and click on Stop.
  3. Go to C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS (My Computer > C: > Windows > System 32 > Spool > PRINTERS).
  4. Select all and Delete.
  5. Return to Services window, right-click on Print Spooler and select Start

When you return to your Print Queue, it should now be clear of any pending print jobs.

Here’s a good step-by-step guide for this process.

Here’s a helpful video by HP for stopping, clearing, and restarting the Print Spooler in Windows 10.

If your printer seems to have frozen, check to see if it has been paused. Here’s how to unpause a printer.

How to Clear Printer Queue in Mac (2 Ways)

There are several ways to clear pending jobs in the printer queue on Mac computers.

  1. Mouse over the Printer icon and click on your printer name to open Printer Utility. Select the print job you want to clear. Click the X beside it to delete the document from the printer queue.
  2. Or, go to Menu > System Preferences > Printers. Select the Open Print Queue for your printer. Select the pending document and cancel.

How to Cancel Print Jobs in macOS

Here are 3 ways to cancel a print job in progress on your printer.

While the tutorial is specifically for HP printers, the methods apply for all printer brands.

5 Reasons to Clear the Print Queue

There are many reasons your printer might glitch out. One of the easiest fixes to do is to clear the printer queue.

Here are some reasons to clear the print queue on your printer:

  1. Your printer is not responding.
  2. A failed print job is preventing other documents from printing.
  3. You’ve sent the document to the wrong printer.
  4. You need to modify print settings before it prints.
  5. Too many copies of the document have been requested.

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Your Turn

How did things go? Were you able to successfully clear your printer queue? Please share your questions and tips below.