Fix Spoolsv.exe consuming high CPU problem

My laptop, using Windows7, has been running at very high CPU usage lately. Since I had multiple instances of high CPU usage applications like Visual Studio, Expression, etc. open all the time, I did not suspect anything. On top of that since I had mutiple processors in machine, I did not feel the pinch that much. This morning I restarted the laptop and noticed that my CPU usage is running to about 75% with no applications open. Well so I started my diagnostics.

Task Manager

First place to check for processes that may be using high CPU. I did not see any process that had high CPU usage. Then I realized that this is Windows7 and I am not seeing processes for all users. So first thing you need to do is click on Show processes for all users check box and make sure it is checked. Now I was able to see all the process. And there it was the culprit. My machine had spoolsv.exe process using 50% CPU. Since I have two processes, that would mean that one of the processors is using all 100% resources.


Spoolsv.exe is a print spooler service used by Windows to manage print que on your machine. This was another surprise for me because I was not printing anything on my laptop. Then why is this spooler service running and taking up all the resources. Now I need to figure out what is going on with printing documents on my machine.

What is printing?

To see what is printing on your Windows 7 machine, follow these steps.

  • Goto Start > Devices and Printers menu item.

    device and printers
  • This will bring up view where you can see all devices and printers attached to your machine. The following screenshot shows how the view looks like on my laptop. Usually you may have one or two printers in your list. Click on any of the printers you see in your list. Now you will have See what's printing button show up in your toolbar. Click on it and it will show you all documents in que for that printer.

  • If you see any documents waiting for printing or saying that they are printing, remove them from printer's que. Go through each printer in the list and clean up the printing ques.

  • Now go back to Task Manager and check CPU usage. There should not be any entry for Spoolsv.exe and your machine's CPU usage should be back to normal.

Is Spoolsv.exe a virus or trojan?

If cleaning up printer ques does not help in bringing down CPU usage for Spoolsv.exe, then you may want to entertain the notion that your windows machine may be infectd with some virus or trojan. That would mean that it is time to run full scan on your machine and clean it up.

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