Looking to disable the print spooler service? Windows 10 runs the service to keep your printing and faxing jobs running smoothly, but there may be reasons you need it stopped. We’ll show you how you can do it.
One cause for some people disabling the service is the rise of the PrintNightmare vulnerability that can let hackers take over and remotely control PCs. While Microsoft shares a security advisory for this exploit and works on a proper patch, you can disable the vulnerable service.
What Is PrintNightmare?
The PrintNighmare is a zero-day vulnerability the exploits a critical flow by running a compromised printer driver (local or remote) to gain control of your PC. You can read more about how it works. At the moment, all Windows versions are in the line of fire because the vulnerability lies in the Windows Print Spooler service (spoolsv.exe), which handles the printing jobs.
Until Microsoft releases a proper patch, one option to remedy the situation on your own is to change a specific printer policy using the Group Policy Editor. This way you’ll prevent any incoming remote connection requests to your printer. (However, this will only work on Professional editions of Windows 10.)
If you can’t change the group policy setting (for example, if you’re running the Home edition of Windows 10), you can disable the Print Spooler service entirely on your computer using the Windows Services panel. Keep in mind you’ll need administrator account privileges for that.
You can use the Windows Services panel to disable Print Spooler services from running automatically, especially when you use word processors or similar apps.
Warning: You will not be able to print or fax with your PC while the Print Spooler service is disabled. When you’re ready to print again, you’ll need to reenable it with the same method you used here.
Press the Windows+R to open a Run dialog box. Next, type “services.msc” and hit Enter to launch the Windows services panel.
From the Services panel, scroll down and double-click on “Print Spooler.”
When the Print Spooler Properties window opens, select the drop-down next to “Startup Type:” and pick “Disabled.”
Select the “Stop” button to halt the service and select the “Ok” button to apply the changes.
Close the Services panel window.
That’s it. While your computer is safe for now, it’s a good idea to install all the latest Windows 10 updates on your computer.
If you need to use the printer, you’ll need to connect it to your Windows computer to print locally. But first, you need to disable a printer policy that bars all incoming remote connections using the Group Policy Editor.
Note: This method won’t work if you’re running Windows 10 Home because you can’t access the Group Policy Editor.
Click 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” under that section.
Next, select “Printers.”
On the right pane, scroll down to select the policy titled “Allow Print Spooler to Accept Client Connections” and double-click on it to open its settings.
Select “Disabled” from the policy window and select the “Okay” button.
Close the Group Policy Editor. After this, you need to restart the Print Spooler service for the changes to take effect.
That said, an attacker can still run the code locally on your computer. So use your preferred antivirus application to run a scan to find and fix any problems on your computer.