HOW TO: Move the Print Spool Folder in Windows 2000

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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to change the location of the spool folder on a Windows 2000-based computer.

The spool folder is the area on the hard disk that Windows uses to store print jobs as they are being printed. By default, the spool folder is located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Spool\Printers folder. This is also the partition that contains the Windows system files.

If the print server supports many printers or large print jobs, consider relocating the spool folder. You can increase Windows performance, and increase free space on the partition in which Windows is installed, by moving the spool folder to a different partition.

How to Move the Spool Folder for All Printers on a Server

To change the location of the spool folder for all printers:
  1. Log on to the computer as Administrator, or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  3. On the File menu, click Server Properties.
  4. Click the Advanced tab.
  5. In the Spool folder box, type the complete path to the new spool folder location. If the new spool folder does not exist, this procedure creates it.

    NOTE: Do not use the root folder of a drive (for example, E:\) as the new spool folder. You must specify a folder (for example, E:\NewSpoolFolder or E:\Path\NewSpoolFolder). If you use the root of the drive and you do not specify a new spool folder, the default %SystemRoot%\System32\Spool\Printers folder is used.
  6. Click OK. The following message appears:
    The changes to the spool folder will occur immediately and any currently active documents will not print. It is recommended to allow all documents to complete printing before changing the spool folder. Are you sure you want to change the spool folder?
    Verify that all documents have been printed, and then click Yes.

  7. Close the Printers folder.
  8. If the new spool folder is on a partition that uses the NTFS file system, verify that users have sufficient permissions to access the folder.

How to Move the Spool Folder for a Specific Printer on a Server

WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To change the location of the spool folder for a specific printer:
  1. Log on to the computer as Administrator, or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Start Windows Explorer and create a new folder to use as the new spool folder.

    NOTE: Do not use the root folder of a drive (for example, E:\) as the new spool folder. You must specify a folder (for example, E:\NewSpoolFolder or E:\Path\NewSpoolFolder). If you use the root of the drive and you do not specify a new spool folder, the default %SystemRoot%\System32\Spool\Printers folder is used.
  3. Click Start, and then click Run.
  4. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
  5. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key, where PrinterName is the printer whose spool folder you want to move:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers\PrinterName
  6. In the right pane, double-click SpoolDirectory.
  7. In the Value data box, type the path to the new spool folder that you created in step 2, and then click OK.
  8. Quit Registry Editor.
  9. If the new spool folder is on a partition that uses the NTFS file system, verify that users have sufficient permissions to access the folder.
  10. Restart the computer.

Troubleshooting

When you try to change the location of the spool folder, you may receive the following error message:
Server spool directory location is invalid
This error message may occur if the path that you specified for the new spool folder does not exist. For example, the error message occurs if the new spool folder is a subfolder, but the parent folder does not yet exist.

To resolve this issue, use Windows Explorer to create the path to the folder that you want to use as the new spool folder. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
240905 Error Message: Server Spool Directory Location Is Invalid

REFERENCES

For additional information about the Windows 2000 spool folder, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
137503 Default Windows Spool Directory and Permissions

Properties

Article ID: 318748 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 3.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB318748

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