Fixed: spoolsv.exe high CPU usage.

The other day, my Windows 7 PC became extremely sluggish. It became so slow that Ctrl+Alt+Del failed to work. After looking at the processes list, I could see that spoolsv.exe was using up 20% of my CPU.

Is spoolsv.exe a virus? What is it?

No, it is not a virus. It is a normal part of the Windows operating system. spoolsv.exe is the “Spooler SubSystem App”, which hands print jobs over to your printer. This spooler will check to see if your printer is busy before it attempts to print. It will also handle basic printer configuration.

For example: If your printer is turned off and you hit the print button, then spoolsv.exe is the process that holds the print job until it detects that your printer has been turned back on. It is the bridge between your computer and your printer / fax machine.

High CPU usage.

There is absolutely no reason why my spooler should have been taking up 20% of my Intel Core i7. I was not printing anything at the time and I had no print jobs in the queue.

According to various sources on the Internet, this high CPU usage is probably the result of a faulty printer driver or a misconfigured printer.

To start off, I would suggest that you open up the Devices & Printers section in your Control Panel and remove any printers that are no longer in use.

The fix.

After doing a bit of Google Fu, I found that the following steps worked for me:

  1. Type “Administrative Tools” into the start menu and then click on the option that appears.
  2. Once you are in the “Administrative Tools” section, you will need to click on “Services”.
  3. In the “Services” menu, find “Print Spooler” and right click on it.
  4. On the context menu that appears after you right click, press “Stop”. This will stop the “Print Spooler” service.
  5. Once the Print Spooler service has been stopped, you will need to go to the following folder: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS
  6. Delete all of the cached files inside the PRINTERS folder.
  7. After deleting those files, restart the “Print Spooler” process by right-clicking on it and selecting “Start”.

After completing the steps above, the spoolsv.exe process on my PC went back to consuming less than 1% of my CPU. Hopefully, these steps work for you as well.