You experience problems printing, viewing printer icons, and adding printers, the Print Spooler service does not function correctly, and you receive print-related error messages on a Windows XP-based computer


You experience the following problems on a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer:
  • You cannot print, and no printer icons appear when you double-click the Printers and Faxes icon in Control Panel.
  • When you try to use the Add Printer Wizard, you receive an error message that resembles the following:
    Operation cannot be completed.
  • The Print Spooler service is stopped, and the service does not start even after you restart the computer.
  • When you try to manually start the Print Spooler service, you receive an error message that resembles the following:
    Error 5: Access Denied


This problem occurs because the Print Spooler service is corrupted.


To resolve this problem, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type %windir%\system32, and then click OK.

    Note %windir% represents the folder where Windows is installed.
  2. Right-click the spoolsv file, and then click Rename.
  3. Type oldspool, and then press ENTER.
  4. Insert the Windows XP disk in the computer's CD or DVD drive. Press and hold down the SHIFT key as you insert the disk to prevent the Windows XP installation from starting automatically.
  5. Click Start, click Run, type expand CD drive:\i386\spoolsv.ex_ %windir%\system32\spoolsv.exe, and then click OK.

    • Make sure that there is a character space between "spoolsv.ex_" and "%windir%."
    • CD drive represents the drive letter of the CD or DVD drive that contains the Windows XP disk. For example, if the letter of the CD or DVD drive is E, type the following, and then click OK:
      expand E:\i386\spoolsv.ex_ %windir%\system32\spoolsv.exe
  6. Restart the computer.

More Information

For troubleshooting steps and an automatic fix for common printer problems in Windows, please see the following Microsoft web page:

Troubleshooter: Printer problems in Windows

Article ID: 919750 - Last Review: Sep 23, 2011 - Revision: 1