Who Hates Offline Printers?
Clearly everyone does and some people may be lucky enough not to deal with these situations (almost ever), but for the rest of us who deal with this from time to time, i have but created a “Restart Print Spooler” Macro/Shortcut that works with all Windows Laptops, that has helped me get my printers back online with just a few clicks on a button.
If you already have something like this in place....congrats, but if you don't, i highly recommend you read through.
In this article I will explain how it came about, what it is, what it does, how it’s saved me & my staff time and most importantly, how you can easily download and install it on your own WINDOWS run photo booths for FREE.
I’ll happily admit we at Wooshka Photobooths are in no way computer, printer or camera geeks.
It was around a year ago when I was having some printers just randomly dropping offline and I decided I really had to find out why this was happening.
So through an extreme process of elimination I actually found & pinpointed the specific issue that was causing these random offlines to happen (but i’ll save those details for another blog).
Still with my major issue taken care of, printers (being the stupid fickle things that they are) can still decide to have the occasional spaz attack for whatever reason and drop offline.
My good friend Jordan (i’d put him in the computer geek basket...sorry mate) showed me a way to restart my laptops printer spooler, through the services settings and in doing so this really did seem to fix offline issues on most occasions and bring the printer back online (this was very handy to know).
Restarting the print spooler wasn't a super hard or long task, but it did still require a number of steps take place for it to be completed and overall it would take around 1 or 2 minutes (if done correctly).
To go through the process I would need to find the services option (which I ended up attaching to my desktop as a shortcut), open it up and scroll down past hundreds of alphabetical options to find print spooler, then click on the print spooler, then hit stop print spooler and then after a few seconds of waiting i would click on start print spooler (basically I was turning it off and then turning it back on again)……then it was done & it usually would kick my printers back into action instanly.
So every now an then I'd get a call from an attendant and I would have to talk them through doing this over the phone because they weren’t 100% confident with going through the steps and restarting the spooler themselves. Now this didn’t take too long at all but it was slightly annoying, especially when we have 11 booths out on most Saturday nights and it can be quite stressful (i hate the phone ringing on a Saturday night).
So after seeing me talk my staff though this occasionally, Jordan said to me “Dude, to save people calling you, why don’t we just make a MACRO SHORTCUT to restart the print spooler by clicking one button?”
My response? “I’ve literally no clue what a macro is, but if it’s possible to do, go for it”.
So Jordan went about creating this macro shortcut and loading it onto all 11 of my booth laptops.
Did I mention Jordan is a legend?
This shortcut (whilst not needed very often these days) has been absolutely fantastic, I’ve passed it onto a few friends within the industry and it has successfully helped them out a few times already.
So what does the macro do?
It simply is a shortcut loaded onto my desktop that’s programmed to do all of the steps required to restart the print spooler with just 1 touch.
Yes, you just go to your desktops and click on the macro shortcut and press “yes” and it will automatically find services, find print spooler, stop the print spooler and then restart the print spooler…..I love this thing.
Since bringing this system in, I have told all my attendants to use this “Restart Printer” button on the desktop if they have any offline printer issues before calling me……and guess what, I don’t get anymore calls about offline printers. Every now and then someone might say “I used the “Restart Printer: button last night and it worked fine, and that’s exactly how I want it to be. I want to put simple little systems in place that my staff can easily & quickly work through when/if needed without having to call me for assistance.
I’m sure everyone has felt the pressure of having some kind of booth issue when you have a line of people just waiting to jump in and take their pics…..The feeling absolutely sucks and this shortcut literally takes 10 seconds to find and trigger.
Now I will say that this will generally work anytime your printer goes offline for minor tech issues but obviously it’s not going to bring a printer online that has a broken cable or isn’t plugged in correctly etc…..so don’t go thinking it’s the answer to every single offline issue.....but it will certainly stop you from shutting down your booth program and rebooting the entire computer during a job.
Ok, so who wants this Macro Shortcut?
This is how you download and install it yourself.
Click on the below link (on a PC of course), it will direct you to a WeTransfer site where you can download the "Restart Printer" Zip file
>>> CLICK ON THIS LINK & DOWNLOAD ZIP FILE <<<
Place the download "Restart Printer Zip file on your booth computers desktop (as per below image).
Double click the newly pasted zip file on your desktop and it will open it up, then drag (or copy and paste) the internal unzipped file into your (C:) Drive (as per below image).
Go into you (C:) Drive and scroll down and find the newly added RESTART PRINTER file.
Then RIGHT CLICK on the file, go to SEND TO and then DESKTOP (create shortcut) and select that (as per below image).
You will now have a RESTART PRINTER Shortcut added to your desktop that has come directly from your (C:) Drive (as per image below)......also feel free to delete the original Zipped file from your desktop as it is no longer needed.
Right Click on the shortcut and select Properties (as per below image)
Now click on the "Advanced" box (as per below image)
Check/Tick the "Run as administrator" box and click OK
Now just click on "Apply" and then "Ok" in the bottom right corner and you should be good to go.
STEP 10: USING/TESTING THE BUTTON
Now lets test it out (this can be done anytime and will not create any issues)
Just double click on the "RESTART PRINTER" shortcut and a window will pop up asking - Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer YES or NO......and you simply click YES, this is giving the Macro permission to do it's thing and find/stop and restart the print spooler.
If it quickly loads/flashes up the image you see below, then you installed it correctly....well done:)
I once saw a boother write on one of the FB networks that him teaching his staff how to restart the print spooler was his most important lesson he had taught them.......this shortcut will make it even easier now!
Finger crossed you never need to use it but if you find your booth printer is offline in the future, give this magic button a try before you do anything else.....for me most of the time once I trigger it within a few seconds i'll start to hear the sweet sound of the printer printing once again. Of course if it doesn't work, you may have a deeper issue that needs addressed.
Hopefully some of you guys/girls can install this for yourselves and I'm very sure you will be super glad you did when/if it saves you one day.
I absolutely love it and will always have it loaded up on all of my booth computers (just incase)