Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

The print job won’t stop printing

Sometimes we tell our machines to do something (let’s, for the sake of example choose, oh, say, print a 10-page document) and then, being human and somewhat fickle, we change our minds.

Perhaps we notice that we selected the wrong document; or, we have a sudden “inspiration” and there’s now a whole new thought we want to insert into it.. or we notice a major typo that we need to fix. Whatever it is, we want the printer to stop printing NOW.

Now what I am going to say next might comes as a surprise and a shock to some of you folks– but, sometimes in life you just have to grab that band-aid by the corner and rip that sucker off.
Here’s the thing, and I ain’t gonna sugarcoat it– computers are dumb machines. (Maybe, instead of “dumb”, I should say “obedient”..)

Computers follow rigid logic to obey the “commands” you “input”, and they really don’t “multitask” very well. They ‘think’ and act sequentially.. and don’t move on to the next input/command until they have completed the first one.
What this means is: they won’t even see the command to stop printing the 10-page document until they have “processed” the Print command you gave earlier.
(The paper and ink that gets wasted this way is truly your fault, and not the computer’s. You told it to Print, and it merely obeys!)

When you hit the power button on the printer (or yank the power cord out of the wall) you haven’t really stopped the Print job. Oh, no. You have only interrupted it. When you turn it back on, or reconnect the USB cord– your machine is going to everything in its power to complete its assigned task.. and it starts printing the 10-pager from right where it left off.

The correct way to stop the print job (you commanded) is to erase it from your PC’s memory. Remember I told you computers were dumb? Well, they can be forgetful too.

1) Go to Printers in your Control Panel (In XP: Start> Settings> Printers and Faxes. In Vista: Start> Control Panel> Hardware and Sounds> Printers.)
2) Double-click on the printer that is still trying to print the 10-page document.

The window that opens will show all the print jobs scheduled to be sent to the printer for completion, and the 10-page document should appear here.

3) Click on “Printer” from the menu bar, and click “Cancel All Documents”. (Answer “Yes” if you’re asked, “are you sure?”)

That’s it. Your computer has now “forgotten” your command to print, and when you turn your printer on again, it will not start printing something you no longer want.

Today’s free link: Taskbar Shuffle Drag and drop your taskbar buttons and system tray icons to instantly reorder them.

Copyright © 2007-8 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 21, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, printers, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , ,


  1. I interesetd to read here and will bookmark it, thank


    Comment by bonky | May 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thank you for your interesting information,indeed it was helpful for me.
    Thank you again!


    Comment by TT | November 11, 2008 | Reply

  3. TT–
    Thanks for your comment.


    Comment by techpaul | November 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks man this is really helpful.


    Comment by the smasher | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  5. Over half a century of computers and many billions to leaders in the industry and they still don’t know how to have a cancel button that effectively cancels a printing job!


    Comment by Bob Allen | August 23, 2009 | Reply

    • Mr. Allen,
      Your comment was the first thing I saw as I started my day, and I have to thank you. I love starting my day w/a good laugh!

      Hey, all you coders out there, how about it? How about an applet that creates a shortcut on the Desktop that, when double-clicked, sends a High priority “cancel all print jobs” command?


      Comment by techpaul | August 23, 2009 | Reply

  6. I still have a couple problems that won’t be solved by this solution.

    1. The job no longer shows up in the printer queue (today copy after copy of the same job kept printing on our laser printer and there was nothing in the print queue). Had no way to stop it other than taking the paper out but it’s still waiting to print more pages.

    2. In the print queue sometimes a deleted job gets hung up. Such as if you tell it to cancel all documents and it shows in the queue that it’s deleting but it never goes away. You can’t print the next thing until that first job is cleared out. Sometimes restarting the computer helps but sometimes not. Unplugging the printer and plugging it back in does not help.

    Any suggestions on those two problems?


    Comment by Non-profit manager | September 14, 2009 | Reply

    • NPM,
      I don’t know what OS or printers you are describing, but the SOP is to uninstall the printer and re-Install it again.


      Comment by techpaul | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  7. I have a Sharp Mx-6201N. I have a job that has been stuck in ripping mode for two days. If i turn the machine of and unplug it from the network; after i plug it back in the other print jobs will print. However, it goes back to the one job that is still ripping. I can not delete it. I go in as admin and i am able to highlight the job but the stop/delete it grayed out. Any suggestions?


    Comment by crystal henderson | July 7, 2010 | Reply

    • crystal henderson,
      Grayed out means you do not have “privilege”.
      This is not the type of question that the answer will benefit “everyone”, but the type that is asking for free tech support, which I don’t do. However, I am feeling charitable this morning so I sent you an e-mail. Check your inbox.


      Comment by techpaul | July 7, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you. That’s pretty silly. I was signed in as administrator. “an administrator with no privileges”


        Comment by Anonymous | July 7, 2010 | Reply

        • crystal,
          If you are in an Active Directory environment (aka a business network), I believe it is possible that the Administrator account you are using may not have rights to that printer’s que.

          I did not say “no privileges”; and I stand by the suggestions I provided. Good luck. You might also try contacting Sharp’s support.


          Comment by techpaul | July 7, 2010 | Reply

  8. Can you help, please, to fix an icon to stop printing on the desctop?
    Thank you


    Comment by jadir | August 27, 2010 | Reply

  9. WOW! this method/solution was really helpful!


    Comment by hello123 | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • hello123,
      I am glad you found this tip useful. I hope you’ll stay and look around some — I have posted over 1,000 such articles.


      Comment by techpaul | September 29, 2010 | Reply

  10. thanks for the info. saved lots of papers :)


    Comment by Anonymous | February 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know I helped out.


      Comment by techpaul | February 9, 2012 | Reply



    Comment by KAY MCKENNIS | February 11, 2012 | Reply

      You can tell the printer what to do.

      The method for that is by selecting your printer “preferences”. Click the Start button > Printers (or Start > Control Panel > Printers and faxes) and locate the icon for the printer you’re going to use. Right-click on it and select Printing preferences from the context menu.

      Here you will find many pre-set “profiles” (one sure to be “B&W only”). You would do this on a case-by-case basis, but if you would use this ‘profile’ the vast majority of the time, you can set as as the “default”. You can also set “Printer Profiles”.. which is a bit more advanced.. and I need to write up a tutorial for (soon). (Or you can google it)


      Comment by techpaul | February 11, 2012 | Reply

  12. Nothing to cancel, it has been printing blank sheet now for about an hour. I am running out of paper. what do I do to stop this thing it has mind of its own. The printer is a HP 2100Tn


    Comment by Anonymous | April 5, 2012 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Pull the plug, then click here.

      You might also look on there using the term “hard reset”.


      Comment by techpaul | April 5, 2012 | Reply

  13. Thanks that was great. It did the Job


    Comment by Anonymous | October 6, 2013 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Thanks for taking the time to let me know I helped you.


      Comment by techpaul | October 7, 2013 | Reply

  14. Hi, If I gave wrong count like 20,000 jobs at a time. But the spooler is calculating and it takes huge to time calculate I have canceled the calculated documents but again it starts counting the remaining in queue. Is there any other way to stop the queue.



    Comment by Anand | March 8, 2016 | Reply

    • Anand,
      If the above technique is not sufficient to clear all the que… the next thing to try is to uninstall the printer. Reboot the PC. And then re-Install the printer.


      Comment by techpaul | March 11, 2016 | Reply

  15. 2017 and I still needed help canceling a job from my Dymo machine……UGH! Thank you so much, your answer was exactly what I needed.


    Comment by Kelli | June 9, 2017 | Reply

    • Kelli,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know you found my post helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | June 10, 2017 | Reply

  16. Thank you, I almost had to print an extra 2,000 labels.


    Comment by Anonymous | December 12, 2017 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know you found my post helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | December 17, 2017 | Reply

  17. worked great! thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Comment by Anonymous | March 27, 2018 | Reply

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