Looking to turn off the print spooler service? Windows 10 is running the service to keep your print and fax jobs running smoothly, but there might be reasons you need to stop it. We will show you how you can do it.
One of the causes of the deactivation of the service by some people is the rise of PrintNightmare vulnerability which can allow hackers to take control and remotely control PCs. While Microsoft shares a security advisory for this exploit and is running on an appropriate patch, you can disable the vulnerable service.
What is PrintNightmare?
PrintNighmare is a zero-day vulnerability that exploits a critical workflow by running a compromised printer driver (local or remote) to take control of your PC. You can find out more about How it works. For the moment, all versions of Windows are in the crosshairs because the vulnerability lies in the Windows Print Spooler Service (spoolsv.exe), which manages print jobs.
Until Microsoft releases an appropriate hotfix, one option to remedy the situation on your own is to change a specific printer policy using the Group Policy Editor. This way, you will prevent any incoming remote connection request to your printer. (However, this will only work on Professional editions of Windows 10.)
If you cannot change the Group Policy setting (for example, if you are running Home edition of Windows 10), you can completely disable the Print Spooler service on your computer using the Windows Services panel. Keep in mind that you will need administrator account privileges for this.
You can use the Windows services panel to disable the automatic execution of print spooler services, especially when using word processors or similar applications.
Warning: You will be not be able to print or fax with your PC when the Print Spooler service is disabled. When you’re ready to print again, you’ll need to re-enable it with the same method you used here.
Press Windows + R to open a Run dialog box. Then type “services.msc” and press Enter to launch the Windows services panel.
In the Services panel, scroll down and double-click on “Print Spooler”.
When the Print Spooler Properties window opens, select the drop-down menu next to “Startup Type:” and choose “Disabled.”
Select the “Stop” button to stop the service and select the “OK” button to apply the changes.
Close the Services panel window.
That’s it. Although your computer is safe for now, it is a good idea to install all latest Windows 10 updates on your computer.
If you need to use the printer, you will need to connect it to your Windows computer to print locally. But first, you need to disable a printer policy that prohibits all incoming remote connections using Group Policy Editor.
To note: This method will not work if you are running Windows 10 Home because you cannot access Group Policy Editor.
Click on Start, type “gpedit” in the search box and press Enter to open the group policy editor.
Select “Computer Configuration” from the left pane.
Select “Administrative Templates” in this section.
Then select “Printers”.
In the right pane, scroll down to select the policy titled “Allow the print spooler to accept client connections” and double-click it to open its settings.
Select “Disabled” in the policy window and select the “OK” button.
Close the Group Policy Editor. After that, you need to restart the Print Spooler service for the changes to take effect.
However, an attacker can still execute code locally on your computer. So use your preferred antivirus application to run a scan to find and fix problems on your computer.