Printers are an important device at home or the office. Still, it gets frustrating when you receive the error ‘Another computer is using the printer’ while printing something or restarting or shutting down the printer.
- A printer may become temporarily inaccessible if used by several users or computers, thus giving out the “Another computer is using the printer” error.
- You might get this error due to a corrupted or outdated printer driver, incomplete log out of another user, outdated Windows, broken printer, or an issue with Spooler service.
- A power cycle, updating drivers, clearing data in the Spooler folder and restarting the service, setting your printer as a default printer or logging out any previous users can help you eliminate the error.
What Causes The Issue?
Many users have encountered this error, and after researching, we found that it appears for several reasons, which are as follows:
- The option in the Sign-in Options menu instructs the computer to use the sign-in information to complete the device setup and automatically reopen programs that trigger this error.
- Another possibility is that the user who previously logged onto this computer still needs to log off the system completely. Human action or a malfunctioning device could be to blame for this.
How To Fix The “Another Computer Is Using the Printer” Error
Following are the methods that can help fix the frustrating error.
Power cycling your computer, printer, and Wi-Fi is another option that many users find effective. By doing this, you might be able to reset your printer’s configuration and parameter settings or revoke it if it has become unresponsive. The network configurations are also reset, and a system reboot will help fix any temporary glitches.
The steps to perform a power cycle are as follows:
- Shut down your computer, printer, and Wi-Fi; it will automatically turn off if you have a LAN connection.
- Now, unplug all the devices and cables for two to three mintues.
- Reconnect and turn on all the devices.
- Try to print anything to check if the error is resolved.
Also Check: Computer Restarts When Trying To Print
Scan Your System
Malware might be a reason for your printer problem; you can perform a system scan with Windows Defender, a powerful tool that finds and removes malware from your system.
Go to the Windows Security settings.
Here are the steps to scan your system:
- Go to the Windows Security settings.
- Go to the Virus & threat protection.
- Next, hit the Quick Scan button.
- Your computer will restart after running the Windows Defender Offline scan, which takes about 15 minutes.
To view the scan’s results:
- Go to the Device Security tab in the Virus & threat protection.
- Click on Protection History.
- Malware will be automatically found and either deleted or quarantined by the Windows Defender Offline scan.
Set Printer As The Default Printer
Some printer functions when you set them as a default printer in your system’s settings, such as the Canon printer.
To select a default printer:
- Go to Start and jump to Settings.
- Choose a printer by going to Bluetooth & devices, then Printers & Scanners.
- Then select Set as default by clicking on the printer.
- You might be unable to find the Set as default option due to the selection of another option: Let Windows manage my default printer. You must uncheck the selection before altering the default printer setting.
- Go to Printers & Scanners.
- Remove the checkmark from the right pane next to Let Windows manage my default printer.
- Then click the Manage icon next to the printer you want to use under Printers & Scanners.
- Then click on Set as default.
- Click the Start icon at the screen’s top right, followed by a Search symbol.
- Type printers in the search box, and you will see Devices and Printers; click on it.
- Now, go to the Printers tab, right-click on the particular printer, and choose Set as default printer.
Logout Previous User
An uncompleted log-off from a previous user can cause the error message “Another computer is using the printer.” This problem can be fixed by logging off the user through Task Manager. It can be due to a device malfunction or simply a user who didn’t completely log out of the system.
- Go to Task Manager.
- Go to the top menu and select the Users option.
- Next, right-click the user you want to log out of the system and choose Disconnect from the context menu.
- Do this for every user who hasn’t connected anymore, and try printing anything to check if the error is resolved.
Restart Print Spooler Service
The Print Spooler service is crucial for a printer because it maintains the print job queue and manages communications with the printer. You cannot print or won’t be able to view your printers if this service is disabled. Users can see the print spooler service and cancel a print job that is in progress or handles waiting for jobs.
Turning the Print Spooler service on and off can be beneficial. This method clears everything out and will help everyone have access to the printer.
- Launch the Run dialogue box by pressing Windows+R.
- Type services.msc and press Enter.
- A list of every service that Windows offers will display in the results. Look for Print Spooler service.
- Now, right-click on it and hit Restart from the context menu.
Create A Batch File
If the restarting Spooler service solves the error at a time, but the issue keeps coming up whenever you try to print anything, then create a batch file. You can apply this method with a single click and save your time.
Here’s how to create a batch file:
- Go to File Explorer.
- Open View and click on Options.
- Now choose the Change folder and search options.
Remove the checkmark from the box next to Hide Extensions for known file types.
It will allow you to change the text file into the batch file that we are creating by following the steps below:
- On your desktop, create a new text file. Now type the below text in the file:
net stop spooler
net start spooler
- Press Ctrl+S to save the text in the file, rename it, and change the extension to .bat from .txt.
- You will see a pop-up; click Yes on it.
- Spooler service will now start up automatically anytime you double-click the icon without your intervention.
Delete Everything In The Spool Folder
Deleting data from the Spool folder helped some users eliminate the annoying printer error.
- Find the folder using the path: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS. Open it.
- Now, select all the files and folders inside PRINTERS and right-click on the selection to choose the Delete option.
- Retry printing to see if the error is resolved.
Don’t Use A Printer With WS Or XPS
Sometimes the list will have two printers. Both have the same name, but one has a WS at the end; names might look like this:
- Canon PIXMA E470 Printer
- Canon PIXMA E470 Printer WS
- Canon PIXMA E470 Printer XPS
The printer might not be printed if you are connected to the WS printer. WS stands for web services.
Restart the spooler service as defined above after canceling all print jobs. Choose the printer with the model name and no WS or XPS. See if this works by printing anything.
Change WSD Timeout Setting
A control method called WSD (Web Services for Devices) is intended to detect, configure, and control devices automatically. The WSD Timeout settings might cause the issue, but extending the time fixes this.
You can alter the WSD Timeout Settings by two methods:
- Obtain the IP address of your printer by the website.
- Now change the settings from default and keep it to 10 minutes.
- Save changes and close the settings.
Note: Before making any modifications, terminate all pending jobs.
Most printers have the same configurations, and you can change the Timeout through settings. However, the procedure could differ slightly depending on your model.
- Go to Menu and open Setup.
- Jump to Device Settings and click on LAN Settings.
- Now, select Other Settings and opt for WSD Settings.
- Here, you will find Timeout Setting. Please change it to 10 Minutes.
- Save the modifications and perform a power cycle as described above.
Update Printer Driver
Reinstalling or updating the printer driver will update everything, such as a corrupted printer driver or a stuck queue.
To try this method, follow these instructions:
- Go to the Device Manager and expand Print queues.
- Now look for the printer messing up with the system, right-click on it and click on Update Driver.
- Let the Windows update service do the job, just follow the on-screen instructions, or you can download the latest version of the driver from the manufacturer’s website.
If your system cannot find updates, use any third-party updater, such as Driver Easy, Driver Fix and Driver Booster. It will automatically detect and find the correct drivers per your system configurations and update the drivers on your computer.
This way, you will get the error-free installation that might have been done due to the wrong driver installation or any mistake by updating the drivers manually!
Restart your computer to see whether the problem has been fixed.
Check For Windows Updates
The Windows Update service is the best way to install Windows updates. You can update Windows manually by downloading updates from Microsoft’s servers, but updating through Windows Update is much easier.
- Windows Update can be accessed through Settings on Windows 11.
- Use the search bar, type settings, and open Settings from the results or Start menu.
- Look at the left for Windows Update and click on it.
- Opt for Check for updates to look for available ones.
- When you click that button on Windows 11, the OS is checked for updates, but it also does this automatically per your chosen settings. Your PC may restart while you’re using it or sometime later time to install updates.
Windows Update option is accessible from Settings on Windows 10.
- To access it, choose the Start menu and look to the left for the gear/settings icon.
- On the left, select Update & Security, followed by Windows Update.
- By selecting Check for updates, you can find any available updates.
- Windows 10 automatically checks for updates, downloads, and installs on the spot or when you aren’t using your system.
The Control Panel is the access point for Windows Update, various configurations, information on update history, and more.
- From the Control Panel’s menu, opt for Windows Update.
- Hit on the option Check for updates for any available ones.
- Depending on the Windows version you’re running and the settings you’ve made for Windows Update, installation may occur automatically or require you to proceed through the Install Updates button.
Troubleshooter searches for and resolves printing issues on your computer, including the “Another computer is using the printer” error.
- Go to Settings and select Update & Security.
- Now, at the left, click on Troubleshoot.
- You’ll see Find and Fix problems with printing on the right side. Click on it.
- After that, select Run The Troubleshooter.
- Pay attention to the on-screen instructions.
Common Questions Answered
When attempting to print a file, you might encounter this error which shows that the printer is working or another user might have connected. The printer also becomes inaccessible due to a corrupt or outdated driver.
A printer driver is software that converts data from a printing request into a language the printing device comprehends. Applications or programs can print files with the help of printer drivers without knowing the details of each printer model specifically.
It is a built-in Windows software that interacts with printers and holds print jobs temporarily in memory until the printer is ready to print.
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[Errors Troubleshooting Expert]
Arsalan Shakil (aka GuyThatDoesEverything on YouTube) is a PC Tech Enthusiast and Electronic Geek. With over 10+ years of experience in Electronics, he then decided to explore Software Engineering to design embedded products and automate existing hardware solutions.
When he started tearing down old cameras to understand how they worked, he was shocked (literally, when he got zapped by a flash discharge capacitor), giving him the power (debatable) to fall in love with videography/photography. He also started making some fun videos that later became YouTube tech reviews.
- 10+ years of experience in Electronics design, embedded solutions, and prototyping
- Majored in Software Engineering
- Research paper publication in IEEE for Embedded Military Uniform & LoRa WAN wireless technology
- Specialized in IoT Solutions
- PC Enthusiast & PC Modder
In his local region, he’s known to expose cheap PSU brands, often claiming fake certification or false claims on the box. He’s a true nerd and needed some friends in his life. Then he met some guys who work at Tech4Gamers, and they also came out to be equal nerds who suggested he join Tech4Gamers as a Hardware Expert.