Tech – for Everyone

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

How to cancel a print command*

Folks–having a crazy morning, and so I am reposting a prior article, for now. Hopefully I’ll get a new post up a little later on…

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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July 21, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Windows | , , , , , ,


  1. you helped a lot. thank you!


    Comment by anonymous | January 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Thank you for taking the time to write that, and I am glad you found my website helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | January 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you …..why windows or adobe did not make it SIMPLE :


      Comment by Anonymous | April 9, 2012 | Reply

      • Sir or Ms,
        The history of the evolution of “digital” devices shows that the modus operandi has been to Get The Idea To Work. Get It To Market First. And Work The Bugs Out Later.

        Maybe one day they’ll get around to adding your button (if they think it’ll be a “marketable” feature..)


        Comment by techpaul | April 9, 2012 | Reply

  2. yours’ tip helped me a lot. Thanksļļ


    Comment by vipin jain saharanpur india | July 31, 2011 | Reply

    • vipin jain saharanpur,
      Thank you for taking the time and letting me know you found my website helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | July 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. yes, i had faced this problem so many times. Since then i have followed your suggestions, i have no problem.


    Comment by jain Vipin Dinanath Bazar,Saharanpur,India | August 4, 2011 | Reply

    • jain Vipin Dinanath,
      Glad to hear it.


      Comment by techpaul | August 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. Yes it was very helpful


    Comment by Anonymous | September 13, 2011 | Reply

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


      Comment by techpaul | September 13, 2011 | Reply

  5. thanks honey,it was a helpful information


    Comment by shallu kaushal | November 11, 2011 | Reply

    • shallu kaushal,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know you found my writings helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | November 11, 2011 | Reply

  6. haha


    Comment by Gaurav | December 12, 2011 | Reply

    • Gaurav,
      I do not know you.. and I hope you won’t take this the wrong way (I mean.. you could be 12 years-old, for all I know) but your decision to take time out of your life to post this comment is in my opinion indicative of a problem. I think you may need to seek help.


      Comment by techpaul | December 12, 2011 | Reply

  7. you’re a life saver


    Comment by Anonymous | December 29, 2011 | Reply

  8. dear. what i was looking for a keyboard shortcut to abort the current printing…
    as u give a print command (ctrl+P) something like that.


    Comment by bhakcho | January 6, 2013 | Reply

    • bhakcho,
      Yes.. aren’t we all. Unfortunately, I know of no such command/keyboard shortcut. (Someone suggested Alt+F, then U.)

      Printers are “peripherals”.. things you plug in and attach, not (direct) “Windows (operating system) components”; and they have their own manufacturers, and ‘software’ controlling them. None of the printer manufacturers (that I’m aware of) has yet had the kindness to include adding a desktop “cancel all documents” shortcut, or keystroke combo to their drivers, installers, or “included software”.
      Which kinda tells me they don’t really care about us, or the environment, and don’t mind wasting our ink (as we’ll just have to buy more).

      But.. if anyone out there knows a better answer, I certainly hope they’ll post it here.


      Comment by techpaul | January 7, 2013 | Reply

  9. Inspite of cancel print job, the printer continues chugging with screen showing deleting


    Comment by B V Lakshminarayana | August 8, 2013 | Reply

    • B V Lakshminarayana,
      You don’t give me any information about your hardware/software, so all I can suggest is that you may need to “cycle” the printer. Look in the manufacturer’s support area of their website (it’s probably a “FAQ”).


      Comment by techpaul | August 8, 2013 | Reply

  10. Dear Sir,

    Really, you help a lot by posting this useful info.

    Stay Blessed


    Comment by Abdul Jabbar | October 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Abdul Jabbar,
      Thank you for letting me know you found the article helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | October 12, 2013 | Reply

  11. am really get good knowledge


    Comment by Dawit | September 15, 2017 | Reply

  12. Hi TechPaul. Sometime back, I had figured out the way you showed but without the logic that you’ve shared. At least now, I can stop the fruitless search for a more instant solution, having found that screaming, “St-o-o-o-o-o-p” at the printer just doesn’t work! Thank you from my logic-impaired brain!


    Comment by CW | November 4, 2017 | Reply

    • LOL.

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know I helped out.


      Comment by techpaul | November 4, 2017 | Reply

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