Windows 7 : Working with the Printer Queue

8/30/2012 7:29:49 PM
After you or other users on the network have sent print jobs to a given printer, anyone with rights to manage the queue can work with it. If nothing else, it’s often useful to observe the queue to check its progress. This way, you can better choose which printer to print to, or whether some intervention is necessary, such as adding more paper.


You can drag a printer’s icon from the Printers window to your desktop for easy access.

To view a printer’s queue, click Start, Devices and Printers, then double-click the printer’s icon. For a local printer this should display the queue window. For network printer, this displays a summary window; double-click See What’s Printing to view the queue.


When print jobs are pending for a local printer, workstation, an icon appears in the notification area, near the clock. You can hover the mouse pointer over it to see the number of your documents waiting to print. Right-click it and select the printer’s name to examine the queue.

Figure 1 shows a sample printer’s folder with a print queue and related information. The window displays the status of the printer (in the title bar) and the documents that are queued up, including their sizes, status, owner, pages, date submitted, and so on.

Figure 1. A printer’s queue window showing one print job printing and one pending.

For network printers, to keep network traffic down to a dull roar, Windows updates the queue display only every so often. If you are printing to a network printer and want to check the current state of affairs, choose View, Refresh, or press F5 to immediately update the queue information.


By default, all users can pause, resume, restart, and cancel printing of their own documents. However, to manage documents printed by other users, the printer’s owner or the network administrator must give you the Manage Documents permission.

If you find that Windows says you don’t have permission to perform some function, such as deleting a document from the queue or changing printer settings, in most cases you can right-click the document or printer and select Run As Administrator to perform the operation with elevated privileges. From the pop-up menu, select the task that you were trying to perform, and try again.

Deleting a File from the Queue

After sending a document to the queue, you might reconsider printing it, or you might want to reedit the file and print it again later. If so, you can remove the file from the queue. To do so, right-click the document and choose Cancel, or choose Document, Cancel from the menu. The document is then removed from the printer’s queue window.

If you’re trying to delete the job that’s currently printing, you might have some trouble. At the very least, the system might take some time to respond.

And, as mentioned earlier, if you are told that you don’t have permission to delete another user’s document, click Printer in the queue windows’ menu, select Open As Administrator, follow the User Account Control Prompt to enter an Administrator’s password, then try again.

Canceling All Pending Print Jobs on a Given Printer

Assuming you have been given the privilege, you can cancel all the print jobs on a printer. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the printer and choose Cancel All Documents. A confirmation dialog box appears to confirm this action.

If you have a printer’s queue window open, you can also select Printer, Cancel All Documents from that window’s menu.

Pausing, Resuming, and Restarting the Printing Process

If you need to, you can pause the printing process for a particular printer or even just a single document print job. This capability can be useful in case you have second thoughts about a print job, want to give other jobs a chance to print first, or just want to adjust or quiet the printer for some reason.

To pause a print job, right-click it and choose Pause. Pretty simple. The word Paused then appears on the document’s line. The printing might not stop immediately because your printer might have a buffer that holds data in preparation for printing. The printing stops when the buffer is empty. When you’re ready to resume printing, right-click the job in question, and choose Resume.


Pausing a document lets other documents later in the queue proceed to print, essentially moving them ahead in line.

In some situations, you might need to pause all the jobs on your printer so that you can add paper to it, alter the printer settings, or just quiet the printer for a bit while you take a phone call. To pause all jobs, open the printer’s queue window and choose Printer, Pause Printing. You have to choose the command again to resume printing, and the check mark on the menu goes away.

Should you need to (because of a paper jam or other botch), you can restart a printing document from the beginning. Just right-click the document and choose Restart.

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