How To Unpause Printer

As a user in the computer lab, you ran into a problem: something happened and your printer is no longer able to print. You go up to the front desk and find someone who can un-pause it for you so you can keep working.

The technician looks slightly confused, but hands you a piece of paper with instructions on what to do. You take it back to your desk, wondering what could have happened to the printer.

Well, now you can do this without the help of a technician. This guide covers how to un-pause (or pause) a printer for various operating systems.

How To Unpause Printer On Windows

Using Windows Command Prompt

Open Command Prompt by clicking on the Start menu, then typing “cmd” in the search box, and hitting enter.

Once there, type “net stop spooler” and hit enter to stop the spooler service. To start it again, type “net start spooler”.

Using Windows Services Panel

Open the Services panel by clicking on the Start menu, then typing “services.msc” in the search box and hitting enter.

Scroll down to Print Spooler and double-click it. One of the options is “Startup Type”.

You can change this so that it starts automatically. This will allow you to un-pause the printer without doing anything else.

Enabling The Spooler Manually

If you are unable to un-pause it through one of the methods listed above, there is an alternative way.

You will need administrative access to do this. Click on Start menu, or press the Windows key, go to Control Panel, and type “services.msc” in the search bar. If it doesn’t appear, click on “View by: Large Icons”.

Scroll down to Print Spooler and double-click it. Then select the dropdown menu under Startup Type and choose Automatic or Manual (if it is already set to Manual, choose Automatic).

How To Unpause Printer On Mac

Use Automator To Un-Pause Printer

Open up the Utilities in Applications. If it’s not there, you can find it under Finder, then Applications. Search for “Automator” and open up Automator once it pops up.

Create a new document by going to File > New. Under Library, look for “Print”, then click on Actions under it. Drag over “Pause Printer” to the open document, and save it.

You can give this anything you want. It doesn’t matter what the Automator action is named, but for this example, let’s call it “Un-Pause”. You will then get a pop-up window that you can name, but this is optional.

This Automator action will pause the printer, so you have to run it first before you can un-pause it. To do this, open up your Applications folder, right click on the icon for Automator, and select “Launch Application”. It should be in your Dock if you use one.

Once Automator is open, you can run the action. The text at the very top should say “Printing has been disabled by your administrator” since you are un-pausing it. Once it’s done un-pausing, close out of Automator and reopen the printer in CUPS to print again if necessary (if the printer is already open, it should be okay).

How To Unpause Printer On Linux

For this example, we’re walking through Ubuntu 14.04.

Step 1: Open up the Terminal by typing “Terminal” into the search bar and hitting enter.

Step 2: Type in “sudo service cups status”. This will give you the status of your printer, and whether it is paused or not.

Step 3: If your printer’s status says “Paused”, type in “sudo service cups pause”. This will pause the printer for you to be able to un-pause it.

Step 4: Once that finishes, type in “sudo cups unpause”. This will finish unpausing the printer for you.

If you want to check once again on your printer’s status, type in “sudo service cups status” into the Terminal.


There are multiple ways to un-pause or pause a printer.

You can use the Windows Command Prompt, Services Panel, Automator, or CUPS depending on which operating system you’re using.

Not all of them have to be done in that order. You could just use the command prompt first if it’s too difficult to do through CUPS.

The most important thing is to make sure you do something so that the printer isn’t paused if you need it to be able to print again.

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