Another Computer is Using the Printer? Here’s the Solution

another computer is using the printer

Although we have been using printers for several decades now, we still experience different problems when trying to print documents. In this article, we will try to address one such common issue. This is when our computer informs us that another PC is using the printer, which is why it is unable to print a document.

Sometimes, the error appears when more than one computer is attempting to print documents. However, if the printer is connected to a single computer, it means there is most probably a technical issue you need to resolve.

The following are some methods we recommend you try in order to fix the issue:

Set the printer as the default one

This works for some printers (Canon printers included). They usually have more than one printer listed. One is listed as a “WS” printer and often causes the issue we are trying to solve. In such a case, try to set the normal printer and not the “WS” printer as the default one. Simply removing the latter may also solve the issue.

Power cycling

Going through a full power cycle is a process which works for many people and involves turning off certain devices completely and turning them on again. This applies not only to your printer but also to your PC and Wi-Fi device. By power cycling a device, you force it to reinitialize a number of configuration parameters on one hand and on the other, to recover from an unresponsive state. Through power cycling, you also reset all its network configurations.

Remember that restarting your devices instantly may not be sufficient. It is always a good idea to disconnect the power cables for several minutes too. After two or three minutes, you can plug the cables back in and switch on the devices.

Print Spooler Service Reset

The software program called Spooler Service manages all the print jobs a computer sends to a printer. This service allows a user not only to cancel certain currently processed jobs but also to control other jobs currently on the queue.

The steps to take in order to reset the service are as follows:

  1. Press together Win key + R and type “services.msc” in the Open field.
  2. Confirm with OK and the Services window will open.
  3. Locate the service called “Print Spooler” in the Name field of the window. Pressing “P” on the keyboard will make it easier for you to navigate and find it.
  4. Double click on it and the Print Spooler Properties window will open.

windows services

  1. Click the Stop button and confirm by pressing OK.
  2. Start the Windows file explorer by pressing Win key + E and from the left Quick access pane, click on This PC.
  3. Navigate to the path “C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS”. If prompted for access, just click Continue.
  4. Once you navigate to the “PRINTERS” folder, delete all the files inside.
  5. Reboot your PC and check whether you still have a problem.

Make a batch file

If the solution above fixes the problem but the issue still keeps reappearing, you can make a batch file to automate all the above tasks by simply clicking on the file. This is a time-saving solution, allowing you to perform all of the previous steps if the error returns.

  1. Open the file explorer in Windows by pressing Windows + E or just clicking on its icon.
  2. Go to View=>Options and click on Change folder and search options.
  3. Uncheck the option “Hide extensions for known file types” as shown on the screenshot below:

folder options

  1. Create a new txt file on your desktop with the following commands as file content:

net stop spooler

net start spooler

exit

  1. Save the file with the name PrintSpoolerServiceReset or choose another name that suits you more.

What is great about this file is that every time you double-click it, the print spooler service will automatically perform the reset for you.

 Update to the most recent drivers for your printer

If you are unsuccessful at resolving the problem with the aforementioned methods, perhaps your issue is driver-related. Outdated device drivers are known to cause compatibility issues and cause issues in your printer. Your best bet in such a scenario is to visit the website of your printer’s manufacturer and download the most recent driver for your particular device and operating system. Ensure that both the printer model and the operating system match yours.

In case you already have the latest driver installed but it doesn’t work properly, you can always try an older version.

The steps to update your Windows printer driver are described below:

  1. Press Win key + R and type “devmgmt.msc” in the Open field. Confirm your choice with OK and the device manager of your PC with the display on the screen.
  2. Navigate to the “Print queues” and expand it. Find your printer from the dropdown menu, right-click on it and choose to “Update driver”.
  3. When the OS asks you whether you wish to update the driver, select to browse your computer for driver software if you have already downloaded it from the manufacturer’s website or have a disk with it.
  4. Choose the driver file from the browser button and run it to initiate the update.
  5. Reboot the PC and check whether this has solved the issue.

If this doesn’t work for you, try uninstalling the driver before you update it.

Alter the WSD’s timeout settings

WSD stands for Web Services for Devices and is meant to serve as a control mechanism for finding, controlling and setting up devices. The WSD’s timeout settings detect issues and will try to fix them.

The WSD Timeout Settings can be changed in two ways. You can either visit the webpage through your printer’s IP. Instead of the default, you should alter the setting to ten minutes. Ensure that you cancel all running printer jobs before making this change.

Most devices come with the same configuration. The settings can be accessed in the order listed below. The navigation may be somewhat different for different printer models.

Menu=> Set up => Device Setting => LAN Settings => Other Settings => WSD Settings => Timeout Setting => 10 Minutes

Do not forget to do a power cycling after you change the WSD timeout settings.

Scan your system

Another way to solve this problem would be to scan your machine for malware. The steps to do this are as follows:

  1. Press the start menu button in the lower left side of the Windows taskbar and type “Windows Defender”. Click on “Windows Defender Security Center”.
  2. Ensure the Virus & thread protection is running, click on it and initiate a scan.

These are our recommended fixes for the problem “Another computer is using the printer”. Let us know in the comments if any of these ideas have solved your problem or whether you have discovered another solution to the issue.

About the author

Ollie

is a Systems Engineer and a former Computer Tech Support Specialist. When he's not working or tweaking his Dell XPS 13, he enjoys taking a photograph or two.

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