Fix Print Spooler Service Error 2 and Error 3 in Windows

When you open Devices and Printers applet, none of your printers may be listed. Running the Printer Troubleshooter may show that the Print Spooler service isn’t running, and attempts to start the Print Spooler service manually via Services MMC or using the Microsoft Printer Troubleshooter Fix-It may turn out to be futile, showing up one of the following errors:

Windows could not start the Print Spooler service on Local Computer.

Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified.


Windows could not start the Print Spooler service on Local Computer.

Error 3: The system cannot find the path specified.

Obviously the first thing the user did was to run the Printer Troubleshooter Fix-It, and it did determine Spooler service wasn’t running, but was unable to fix it.

There could be two possible causes for this error. 1) Spooler service registry settings are incorrect and/or 2) Some spooler modules missing (which SFC /Scannow could fix). First I had the user send me the Spooler service registry settings, and it showed:


DisplayName REG_SZ @%systemroot%\system32\spoolsv.exe,-1
Group REG_SZ SpoolerGroup
Description REG_SZ @%systemroot%\system32\spoolsv.exe,-2
ObjectName REG_SZ LocalSystem
ErrorControl REG_DWORD 0x1
Start REG_DWORD 0x2
Type REG_DWORD 0x110
ServiceSidType REG_DWORD 0x1
RequiredPrivileges REG_MULTI_SZ SeTcbPrivilege\0SeImpersonatePrivilege
FailureActions REG_BINARY 80510100000000000000000003000000140000000100

The ImagePath value was missing, which caused "Error 3: The system cannot find the path specified.". In case the ImagePath value exists but contains incorrect data (pointing to a non-existent file), it results in "Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified." when starting the Spooler service.

The problem was resolved by creating a value named ImagePath (of type REG_EXPAND_SZ) and setting it the following value data:


Registry Fix for Print Spooler service

If you prefer running a REG fix rather than editing the registry manually, then download Unzip and run the enclosed REG file. This restores the default registry settings for the Print Spooler service in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. For Windows 10, download the registry file

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

5 thoughts on “Fix Print Spooler Service Error 2 and Error 3 in Windows

  1. Thank you so much for this. It worked when I had the ‘Print Spooler’ not working problem on Windows 8.1 Pro as well. Great fix!

  2. thanks you so much , thanks a ton . printer registry tool which have been develped worked miracle, iwas stuck in error 2 from past a 3 weeks , i tryed many many steps from other blogs but no chance.. any way keep up the good work .. u saved my time .

  3. Thank you so much, especially for the REG tool you built! I was working on a relative’s PC and her print spooler had “given up the ghost”. All the other fixes did not help, but your reg tool helped to rebuild the lost file path

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