Error message when you use the Add Printer wizard: "Operation could not be completed"

Error description

When you use the Add Printer wizard to create a local printer or a remote network printer, you may receive the following error message:
Operation could not be completed. The print spooler service is not running.
This error occurs because the Spooler service has not been started or has stopped working. This article helps you fix the problem.

To have us fix this problem for you, go to the “Fix it for me” section. If you would rather fix this problem yourself, go to the “Let me fix it myself” section.

Fix it for me

To fix these problems automatically, click the
Fix this problem button or link. Then, click Run now in the
Automated Troubleshooting Services page, and follow the steps in this wizard.

Fix this problem

  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or to a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
Now go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.

Let me fix it myself

To start the Spooler service, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then click Services.
  3. Double-click the Printer Spooler service, and then change the startup type to Automatic. This sets the Spooler service to start automatically when you restart the computer.
  4. If you want to start the spooler service immediately, click Start under the Service Status field.
Now go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.

Did this fix the problem?

  • Check whether you can create a printer. If you can create a printer, you are finished with this article. If you cannot create a printer, you can contact support.
  • We would appreciate your feedback. To provide feedback or to report any issues with this solution, please leave a comment on the
    "Fix it for me" blog, or send us an
    e-mail message.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More information

You can also start the Spooler service by typing net start spooler in the Run dialog box.

For troubleshooting steps and an automatic fix for common printer problems in Windows, go to the following Microsoft website: For the Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, click the following article numbers to go to the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
158042 "Operation could not be completed" when using Add Printer wizard

For more information about how to troubleshoot printing issues, click the following article number to go to the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

314085 Advanced troubleshooting for when you cannot print in Windows XP


Article ID: 314876 - Last Review: Apr 25, 2013 - Revision: 1