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Computer slow, spoolsv.exe eating up CPU


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#1 msgsu

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 02:59 PM

Win XP Pro computer going slow. Task Manager shows spoolsv.exe using 99% of CPU.

Tried fix involving going into Microsoft Document Printer, but cannot get into Start>Printers and Faxes. Just freezes on blank screen.

Tried fix of clearing out C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS, but it was empty.

Anyone have any other suggestions?

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#2 Romeo29

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 04:11 PM

- Open command prompt ( Start Menu > Run, type cmd and press Enter )
- Type net stop Spooler in command prompt and press Enter

This would stop Printer Spooler service. Wait 10-20 seconds. Do you see that CPU usage is down now?

If CPU usage is remains same even after stopping the service, then you may have a virus infection posing as spoolsv.exe. BC experts will guide you in that case.

If CPU usage is down after stopping the service, then type the following in command prompt pressing Enter after each line :
del %SystemRoot%\System32\spool\Printers\*.shd
del %SystemRoot%\System32\spool\Printers\*.spl
net start Spooler

This would purge your pending printer jobs.

#3 msgsu

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 12:05 PM

Thanks for replying. When I did the two DEL commands, it said no files could be found. However, when I restarted the spooler everything was fine.

This morning she started her computer and the CPU usage was getting hogged by the spooler again. Is there a way we can prevent this so I don't have to run this process every morning?

Thanks again.

#4 Romeo29

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 12:25 PM

Some program is giving command to print at startup. It may be your security product or something else. You might want to do a selective startup to find the culprit.

One workaround is to delay start Spooler service after you log on to Windows, thus preventing the program to print at startup :
- Open Start Menu > Run, type services.msc and press Enter
- Locate Print Spooler in service list, double-click on it. Set the startup type to Manual.
- Creat a file named start_spooler.cmd and save it in %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\%username%\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
- Open this file in Notepad and type the following and save it :
@ping -n 180 127.0.0.1 > nul
net start Spooler
exit
- Restart your computer

The Spooler service will start 3 minutes (180 seconds in ping command) after you log in. You can also put the delete commands to purge the old print jobs if any.

Edited by Romeo29, 02 December 2009 - 12:26 PM.


#5 msgsu

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 06:16 PM

To create the the cmd file, with the job deleting code, did not work. I wonder if whatever is jamming up the process waits for it to start before submitting? I don't know. But now to manually stop the process, delete the jobs, then restart is not working either. I've had to just set the process to manual.

Sorry, got any other suggestions? Also, is there a way we can do this and have the user not in the admin group?

#6 Romeo29

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:07 PM

You may have to do selective startup using system configuration utility. Then enable each process one by one finding out which program is sending the print job.
You should also try removing and reinstalling printers (drivers) in Windows.
No, theis can be done only by a person with admin access.

#7 msgsu

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:31 PM

I tried a diagnostic startup including starting the spool service, and it still jumped up to 99. Doesn't the diagnostic startup only load critical services? Is there anything else that can be tested? As a note, I did do a virus scan and a malware scan and they both came up negative.

#8 msgsu

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:24 PM

I retried a virus scan and a malwarebytes scan, both came up negative. I can't get into Printers and Faxes to remove the printers because of the lock up not allowing me in. I can't do it in safe mode because spoolsv wont start in safe mode. When I stop then restart spoolsv it goes back up to 99. Have I missed anything? I feel stuck! Thanks for any help.

#9 Stang777

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:59 PM

Have you tried going to run and typing services.msc, then finding print spooler and setting that to manual or disabling it all together?

That might just do the same thing as Romeo had you do in post #2, but since I am not sure I thought I would throw it out there

Edited by Stang777, 08 December 2009 - 08:01 PM.


#10 msgsu

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:32 PM

Have you tried going to run and typing services.msc, then finding print spooler and setting that to manual or disabling it all together?

That might just do the same thing as Romeo had you do in post #2, but since I am not sure I thought I would throw it out there


I have been in the services to switch auto/manual/disabled as a part of most of my troubleshooting. Thanks for the thought, though!

#11 capnrazor

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:18 PM

Hi I am having an issue that may be related. I have 2 PCs that are running slowly. my initial analasys shows that spoolsv.exe is using about 7 meg with no visable print documents or files in the spool folder. when printing usage spikes to 90% or higher. My current suspicion is that it is related to acrobat or HP PCL printer drivers.

the HJT log from one of the affected PCs is at http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...=278080&hl=

msgsu are you by any chance running acrobat or an HP printer?

#12 msgsu

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 04:23 PM

Hi I am having an issue that may be related. I have 2 PCs that are running slowly. my initial analasys shows that spoolsv.exe is using about 7 meg with no visable print documents or files in the spool folder. when printing usage spikes to 90% or higher. My current suspicion is that it is related to acrobat or HP PCL printer drivers.

the HJT log from one of the affected PCs is at http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...=278080&hl=

msgsu are you by any chance running acrobat or an HP printer?


Yes and yes. Today we deleted the print drivers, but that did not help. I wonder if there is something I can do to the Adobe software to fix this?

#13 capnrazor

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 04:27 PM

Yes and yes. Today we deleted the print drivers, but that did not help. I wonder if there is something I can do to the Adobe software to fix this?


On a fresh boot do you see spoolsv.exe taking up high CPU and memory the way I do?

#14 msgsu

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:19 PM

Yes. Anytime the spool service is active it goes up to 99.

#15 capnrazor

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 07:16 PM

Well I have been working on this for several days now and finally gave up and re-installed and patched XP. so far I am not seeing the issue with the same hardware and as close as i can tell the same software and patches. so unless someone more clever than i takes this problem on it seems like a re-install is the solution




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