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How to Unpause a Printer: 5 Easy Ways (Windows & Mac)

Sometimes your printer can get paused and it isn’t clear how to unpause it. Here’s how to unpause a printer and get back to printing – in just a few clicks.

To unpause your printer, go into printer settings and unpause the printer. On Windows, this is done through Control Panel, Start Menu, or Print Queue. On Mac, go to Printer in the Dock and unpause. You can also unpause directly on the printer or use Windows Troubleshooter.

how to unpause printer

How to Unpause Your Printer

Here’s how to unpause a paused printer. They include onscreen (Windows and Mac) and on-printer controls.

If none of these work, check the section: Is your printer offline? at the end of the guide.

A. Windows Settings

The most common way to unpause a printer is with Control Panel on your Windows 11 or 10 computer.

Here’s how to find the printer menu to unpause your printer.

  • Via Control Panel: Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sounds > View devices and printers. Select Printers and Scanners.
  • Via Start Menu:
    • Windows 11: Go to Start > Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Printers & scanners
    • Windows 10: Go to Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners
  • Via Print Queue: Once you’ve sent the document to be printed, you can find it in Print Queue. This can be found in the notification area (System Tray), in the bottom right of the screen of your Windows device.

To unpause your printer, look for the Pause/Unpause option. Just one click will disable the Pause Printing function.

  • Under Printer > Pause Printing. If there is a text menu, it might show with a blue checkmark (Windows 10) or just as solid/grayed out (Windows 11).
  • Pause/Unpause toggle switch – this option is in some printer-specific software.
unpause printer in print queue

Do you own an HP printer? Because you’re reading this guide, there is a pretty good chance that you own an HP printer. From my experience, HP printers are the most common to be unintentionally paused. But these steps apply equally to Canon, Epson, Brother, and all other mainstream printers.

B. Mac Settings

You might choose to pause lower-priority jobs, to allow your more urgent document to print first.

Here’s how to unpause those jobs and send them to the printer on your Mac.

  1. Navigate to the Printer icon in the Dock
  2. Select the specific print job that you want to unpause (resume)
  3. Click Resume

C. Via Printer

Sometimes there will be a message displayed directly on your printer. If you can’t get your printer to print, check your printer display.

Sometimes all it takes is to click OK or acknowledge a warning.

D. Use Windows Troubleshooter

If you haven’t been able to get it unpaused, you can use Windows Troubleshooter.

You can find it here: Settings > Troubleshoot > Printer > Run

Once the troubleshooter runs, follow the recommended changes to get printing again.

E. Driver and Print Spooler Fix

If none of these work, you might consider reinstalling your printer driver or restarting your print spooler service.

When doing either step (reinstalling printer driver or restarting print spooler) don’t forget to restart your computer. You may continue to have errors and issues until a computer restart.

More reading: Fix a Printer in Error State (8 Ways)

Is Your Printer Offline?

When a printer goes offline, it can appear to be paused. Here’s how to get your offline printer back online: Canon, HP, and Brother.

This guide by Microsoft can also help correct some common printer problems. In addition to what I covered in this guide, they also suggest restarting your printer and checking cables.

Need more help? Check out all our printer troubleshooting guides.

Your Turn

How did it work for you? I would love to hear what worked and if you have another method for unpausing your printer.