Spooler Subsystem apps are integral in operating a printer and giving it commands to print, scan or send a fax. This Windows service is like a middleman between your PC and the printer.
Thankfully, this issue is quickly resolved mainly through performing a software update or a quick clearing of the printer queue. The only way to tell if the spooler subsystem app is malfunctioning is when you open the task manager and notice that it’s taking too much of your CPU resources.
Is the Spooler Subsystem App a Virus?
The spooler subsystem app comes by default with any Windows operating system and is completely safe and made to serve a specific purpose. However, malware is out there that masks ordinary processes to circumvent your antivirus systems.
What Causes High CPU Usage for the Spooler Subsystem?
Here is a list of the most common reasons why you get very high CPU usage for this application:
- Your Printing queue is full: This is perhaps the most common reason why you get high CPU usage for the Spooler subsystem app.
- Queuing of files set for printing enters a loop: Any loop would cause very high CPU usage, as it goes on indefinitely until stopped.
- Your printer has encountered an error: If the printer encounters an error, it might constantly try to resolve it with the operating system – causing abnormally high CPU usage
- Outdated drivers: In rarer cases, the problem is caused due to an improperly configured PC or printer driver.
- Your system has malware masking as a Spooler subsystem app: Some malware are specially designed to mimic windows processes in order to bypass the defenses.
How to Fix Spooler Subsystem App With a High CPU Usage?
As a non-essential Windows process, seeing that this application takes up more than 1% of your CPU is abnormal and is, in essence, wasted performance. This article will show you how to fix high spooler subsystem CPU usage as well as how to prevent this bug in the future. Here are the different ways to fix it:
Use the Built-in Troubleshooter
Windows offers some advanced troubleshooters specifically made to resolve printer errors. Running this troubleshooter will let windows go through a checklist of potential fixes and apply them automatically. Here is how to do so:
- Open the Windows Start Menu
- Click on the Settings tab on the side of the menu
- Locate the tab called “Update & Security” and click on “Troubleshoot“
- Click on “Additional troubleshooter”
- Once inside the troubleshooting section, click on “Printer” and then click on Run the troubleshooter
Let the process finish, restart your PC and check if the spooler subsystem’s high CPU issue persists.
Clear the Printer Queue
Here are the steps to clear the printer queue:
- Open the Windows Start Menu
- Click on the PC settings tab on the side of the menu
- Find and click on the tab called “Devices“
- On the left side of the popup menu, you have to click on “Printers and Scanners“
- Under the Printers & Scanners tab, find the button that says “Open Queue” and click it
- You will see a list of queued items for print, click on “Cancel All Documents” button
- Remove all items from the queue by canceling them, restart your PC and check if the issue persists
Disable the Process
A quick solution to temporarily resolve this issue is by forcing windows to stop running the process manually. Here are the exact steps to do so:
- Press and hold your Windows key + R simultaneously
services.mscand click Enter
- You will be redirected to a menu with the various running windows services
- Locate the Print Spooler service (you can sort the services alphabetically by clicking on the Name tab once)
- Double click Print Spooler and then click the Stop button to prevent the service from running.
You will notice that it is completely gone if you check your task manager. While this fix works wonders, the con is that you might have to perform it every time you encounter a high CPU usage problem.
Update Your Drivers
Having the latest drivers for both your Printer and PC can prevent a spooler subsystem from malfunctioning. In general, there are two ways to update a printer’s drivers. The first is by using the built-in Windows driver update function, and the second is by using the printer manufacturer’s driver assistant application.
Since every printer manufacturer has a slightly different proprietary app that can install drivers, we will show you the universal way to do so via the Windows Driver Update function:
- Click on the Windows Start Menu
- Type the words “Device Manager” inside the search field and open the app
- Click on the arrow next to the Printers section
- Right-click on the specific printer you wish to update, and click on Update Driver
- Click on “Search automatically for updated driver software” and follow the process on the screen
After the procedure is finished, restart your computer and check if the high CPU usage issue persists.
Reset Your Printer
This last resort measure involves performing a factory reset on your printer. When a printer’s internal memory and settings are reset, this might clear up an error in the printing queue system that causes abnormally high CPU usage.
Every printer has a different way to perform a factory reset; some require you to go to the printer’s settings via its built-in interface, while others require a simple prolonged holding of the power button. In any case, check your printer’s instruction manual online to find the specific steps to perform a factory reset.
After the reset is done, restart your devices, then open up your Windows task manager and check if the issue persists.