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    What is the Spooler Subsystem app and is it safe?

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    Pau Monfort

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    Virtually all system processes, apps and services in the Windows operating system have their own executable (.exe) files. For example, SMSS.exe powers the Microsoft Management Console, MMC.exe powers 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. Spooler Subsystem app is a vital system process. In this explanation, we will walk you through the functions of the Spooler Subsystem app. Also, we will show you what to do if the app malfunctions.

    What is the Spooler SubSystem App?

    All Windows computers ship with the Spooler Subsystem app. The program is an important system component responsible for “spooling” printing activities. The app acts as an intermediary that transports data from your applications (browsers, word processors, etc.) to your printer.

    When sending multiple print jobs to the printer, either from the same application or from different applications, the Spooler Subsystem app stores the print data in a queue in the PC memory. 

    The Spooler Subsystem app then sends the print jobs to the printer one at a time, in the exact order in which they were sent. This way, you don't have to wait for the printer to do a print job before sending another.

    Basically, the app makes it easy to handshake between the printer and the Windows computer.

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    Is the Spooler SubSystem app safe?

    As mentioned above, system apps and processes are powered by their individual executable files. For the app, that file is Spoolsv.exe. Developed and signed by Microsoft, this app runs constantly in the background and is totally safe to use. 

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

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

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

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    Is the Spooler SubSystem app a virus?

    The app could be a virus if a malicious program mirrors or hides the original spoolsv.exe executable file. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques to confirm the legitimacy of the app. All you have to do is verify the location of the file and the digital signature.

    Check the location of the app

    1. Open the Task Manager ( Ctrl + Shift + Esc ), right-click App Spooler SubSystem in the Processes tab and select Property. Alternatively, go to the tab Details , right-click Spoolsv.exe and select Property.
    2. Check the "Location" line and make sure it reads C: WindowsSystem32. This 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.
    3. Go to the "Details" tab and check the copyright of the file. It should read "Microsoft Corporation". If not, the file is probably a Trojan horse.

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    What happens if Spoolsv.exe is a virus? 

    If you are sure that the Spooler Subsystem app is not genuine, remove the file from your computer immediately.

    1. Right-click sull’app Spooler SubSystem in Task Manager and select Open file path.
    2. Right-click on the file spoolsv and select Delete.

    You can run the file via your antivirus app or try other ways to remove stubborn malware from your computer. Don't have an antivirus app? Refer to this collection of the best virus and malware scanners for Windows. 

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

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    How to fix Spooler Subsystem app errors

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

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

    1. Restart the Print Spooler service

    This will stop the print spooler and restart it. Although restarting the print spooler may clear the data in the PC's print queue, it is a good troubleshooting step to correct the error messages.

    Start the Task Manager, go to the tab Services , right-click spooler and select Restart.

    2. Run the Windows Printer Troubleshooter

    Windows has a dedicated troubleshooter for diagnosing and solving printer problems. To access the tool, go to Settings > Updates and security > Troubleshooting > Additional troubleshooting tools > Printer and select Run the troubleshooter.

    The troubleshooter will scan the Spooler service for errors, check the printer driver, and perform other diagnostic checks. 

    Select Apply this fix on the results page if the troubleshooter detects errors, particularly with the spooler service. Otherwise, close the troubleshooter and try other solutions below.

    3. Clear the printer queue

    Spoolsv.exe may not function correctly if the printer queue is overloaded or if there is a print job stuck in the queue. Cancel all pending print jobs in the queue and check if this stabilizes the Spooler Subsystem app CPU and memory consumption.

    1. Go up Settings > devices > Printers and scanners and select the active printer in the "Printers and Scanners" section.
    2. Select Open queue.
    3. On the printer toolbar, select Printer and choose Cancel all documents.
    4. Select Yes to the confirmation request to proceed.

    4. Update the printer driver

    Finally, make sure your printer driver is up to date. Damaged or outdated drivers can cause various types of printing errors. 

    You can remove or uninstall the printer driver and download the latest version from the printer manufacturer's website. Alternatively, try updating the driver from Windows Device Manager.

    1. Right-click the Start menu icon and select Device management.
    2. Expand the “Print Queue” category, right click on the printer and select Update Driver.
    3. Select Automatically searches for drivers.
    4. If the update agent does not find a new driver version, select Check for updated drivers on Windows Update.

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

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    Spooler Subsystem demistificato

    This is all you need to know about the Spooler Subsystem app. It is a safe and vital system process that cybercriminals can use to gain access to your computer. We should mention that updating Windows and restarting the computer can also fix the spoolsv.exe high CPU usage issue.

    Further Reading:

    • 2 solutions to the error "Print Spooler service is not running"
    • How to delete print queue
    • What is a WPA2 password? I'll explain it to you
    • How to enable advanced protection in Google Chrome
    • How to check if your password is secure using Google Password Checkup
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