What is the Spooler subsystem app and is it safe?

Virtually all system processes, apps, and services on the Windows operating system have their executable (.exe) files. For example, SMSS.exe controls the Microsoft Management Console, MMC.exe controls the Microsoft Management Console, and so on.

Usually, Windows requires some system services to perform essential tasks on your PC. Others, Windows can do without it. The spooler subsystem app is an essential system process. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the features of the spooler subsystem app. We’ll also show you what to do if the app ever breaks down.

What is the Spooler SubSystem app?

All Windows computers come with the spooler subsystem app. The program is an important system component responsible for “spooling” print jobs. The app acts as an intermediary that transfers data from your applications (browser, word processors, etc.) to your printer.

When you send multiple print jobs to your printer, either from the same or different applications, the spooler subsystem app stores the print data in a queue in your PC’s memory.

The Spooler subsystem then feeds the print jobs to your printer one at a time, in the exact order you sent them. This way you don’t have to wait until your printer has completed a print job before you send a new job.

Basically, the spooler subsystem app facilitates handshaking between your printer and Windows computer.

Is the Spooler SubSystem app safe?

As mentioned before, system apps and processes are powered by their individual executable files. For the spooler instance app, that file is: spoolsv.exe† Developed and signed by Microsoft, this app runs constantly in the background and is completely safe to use.

On average, the spooler subsystem app (or spoolsv.exe) barely consumes up to 1MB of memory space on Windows devices. The CPU usage is also minimal.

However, there are instances when the spooler subsystem app goes rogue and your system may malfunction or slow down. Some users have reported high CPU usage by Spooler Subsystem app

There are several reasons why this happens: virus infection, corrupt or outdated driver, incorrect printer configuration, or an overloaded print queue.

Is the Spooler SubSystem app a virus?

The spooler subsystem app could be a virus if a malicious program mirrors or camouflages the genuine spoolsv.exe executable. Fortunately, there are numerous techniques to confirm the legitimacy of the spooler subsystem app. All you need to do is verify the file location and digital signature.

Check the location of the spooler subsystem app

  1. Open Task Manager (CtrlShiftesc), right click Spooler SubSystem App on the Processes tab and select Properties

Otherwise go to the Details tab, right click spoolsv.exeand select Properties

  1. Check the “Location” row and make sure it reads C:\Windows\System32

That is the default location of the spooler subsystem app on any Windows computer. If the location points to a different path or folder, the spoolsv.exe file is likely a malicious copy.

  1. Go to the “Details” tab and check the copyright of the file. It should say “Microsoft Corporation”. Otherwise, the file is probably a trojan horse

What if Spoolsv.exe is a virus?

If you are sure that the spooler subsystem app is not genuine, delete the file from your computer immediately.

  1. Right click on the Spooler SubSystem App in Task Manager and select Open file location
  1. Right click on the to rinse file and select remove

You can run the file through your antivirus app or see other ways to remove stubborn malware from your computer. Don’t have an antivirus app? Consult this compilation of the best virus and malware scanners for windows

Online based virus scanners are also great alternatives, especially if you don’t want to install untrusted apps on your device.

Fix Spooler Subsystem App Errors

In addition to the unusual use of system resources, the spooler subsystem app sometimes crashes during use. Some error messages related to the process include “Spooler SubSystem app has stopped working and has been closed”, “Spooler SubSystem app encountered a problem”, and “Spooler SubSystem has stopped working”.

If you ever encounter any of these errors, try the troubleshooting recommendations below.

1. Restart the Print Spooler service

Doing so will terminate the print spooler and restart it. While restarting the print spooler can clear data in your PC’s print queue, it’s a good troubleshooting step to resolve error messages.

Start Task Manager, go to the Services tab, right click spoolerand select Restarting

2. Run the Windows Printer Troubleshooter

Windows has a special troubleshooting tool for diagnosing and resolving printer-related problems. To access the tool, go to SettingsUpdates and SecurityResolving problems Additional troubleshootersPrinter and select Run the troubleshooter

The troubleshooter scans the spooler service for errors, checks the printer driver, and performs other diagnostic checks. Select Apply this solution on the results page if the troubleshooting tool detects an error, especially with the spooler service. Otherwise, close the troubleshooter and try other solutions below.

3. Clear the printer queue

Spoolsv.exe can malfunction if your printer’s queue is overloaded or if there is a print job in the queue. Cancel all pending print jobs in the queue and check if that stabilizes the CPU and memory consumption of the spooler subsystem app.

  1. Go to SettingsDevicesPrinters and scanners and select the active printer in the “Printers and Scanners” section.
  1. Select Open Queue
  1. From the printer toolbar, select Printerand choose Cancel all documents
  1. Select Yes at the confirmation prompt to continue.

4. Update the printer driver

Finally, you want to make sure your printer driver is up to date. Corrupt or outdated drivers can cause various types of printing errors. You can uninstall or uninstall your printer driver and download the latest version from the printer manufacturer’s website. You can also try updating the driver from Windows Device Manager.

  1. Right-click the Start menu icon and select Device Manager
  1. Expand the “Print Queue” category, right-click on the printer and select Update driver
  1. Select Automatic driver search
  1. If the update agent does not find a new version of the driver, select Search for updated drivers on Windows Update

That will prompt Device Manager to check your PC’s Windows Update history for an updated version of your printer driver.

Spooler Subsystem Demystified

That’s all you need to know about the spooler subsystem app. It is a safe and essential system process that cyber attackers can exploit to gain access to your computer. We should mention that updating Windows and restarting your computer can also solve the high CPU usage problem of spoolsv.exe.

Leave a comment below if there’s anything you still don’t understand about the printer spooler process.

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