Q: For several weeks, my Microsoft Surface Pro tablet computer printed via Wi-Fi to an HP Photosmart 6520 printer. But now, files that have already been printed won’t delete from the print queue, which prevents me from printing anything else.
I tried restoring the Surface Pro to its factory settings and downloading the latest software driver for the printer, but that didn’t fix the problem. A temporary solution is to uninstall, then reinstall the printer every time the problem occurs, but that’s inconvenient. What can I do?
Alan Forsberg, Mankato, Minn.
A: Your Wi-Fi printing is being blocked by a problem in the “spooling” software that sends a document from Windows to the printer. This spooling error causes a document to become stuck in the Windows print queue, a waiting line for pending print jobs. To make matters worse, you can’t cancel or delete the jammed printing job the way you normally would, and the jam prevents other documents from being printed.
But you should be able to fix the problem with HP’s free, automated troubleshooting program, “Print and Scan Doctor.” To download the software and learn how to use it, see “running Print and Scan Doctor” and “fix printing problems” at tinyurl.com/n5jswmd.
Alternatively, you can try to fix the problem manually. You'll need to unplug the printer to clear it, then locate the “Print Spooler” function in Windows and click “stop.” You'll also need to erase the stuck print job from the Windows “Printers” folder. After you restart both the tablet and the printer, they should work together again. For details, see tinyurl.com/oopx4h7.
If neither the automated nor manual solution works, the latter website offers other potential fixes, including disabling your tablet’s firewall security software (to see if it’s acting as a barrier to printing), creating a different user account in Windows (in case your existing account restricts your ability to print) or using the Windows “System File Checker” to make sure the Print Spooler software hasn’t been damaged.
Q: I recently received a Windows 7 error message that said “Internet Explorer has stopped working.” The tech guy that I used said that he had to remove several virus and malware infections, but he didn’t say specifically what they were.
But it was a costly fix. Is there a way I can remove the malicious software myself next time? Do I need better antivirus protection than Microsoft Security Essentials?
Jan Petersen, Ramsey, Minn.
A: You can fix most malware infections yourself. Microsoft Security Essentials is good security software, although no single program catches everything. As an additional safeguard, download the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/jsdacdk), and run it periodically.
But don’t always assume that malware is the problem. There are usually other causes of the “Internet Explorer has stopped working” message, such as a faulty browser file, a change in the browser’s settings or the browser’s incompatibility with some types of online video (see tinyurl.com/qcsp3ny). If the problem reoccurs, try the non-malware fixes described at tinyurl.com/hqmjkz3.