Introduction: Paper Saving Utility for Printers

About: Senior ICT engineer working in electronics, principally valves (tubes) Linux, networks and general IT support

This little program is a must for people who have either inkjet or laser printers.

If your printer sometimes seems to take on a life of its own when you send it a print job, if it starts spewing out page after page of gobbledygook or blank pages and will not stop printing even after you turned it off and back on again then this little utility will be a Godsend.

You can customise it to suit your configuration and it works on most Micro$oft versions.

Step 1: What It Does...

The Instructable is simply a small utility file (batch file) that cleans out the computer memory and directory where the print jobs are stored.

What are batch files? Batch files are very simple files written in TXT format that allow you to program a range of useful tasks on a DOS or Windoz computer. AND you don't have to be an expert programmer to create fantastic tools, simply Google 'BATCH FILES' and you find heaps of useful information and lots of programs.

This batch file immediately stops sending data to the printer, stops the background process controlled by the operating system and resets the computers print system.

Afterwards it re-starts the background service allowing you to reprint the job all without having to re-boot the computer.

What the batch file can't do is clean out the printers memory! A printer will have a small amount of memory built in, this will need to be wiped manually. You do this by turning off the printer as soon as it starts misbehaving, remember to turn it on again when you have run the batch file!

Step 2: How to Create the Batch File

Batch files are simply 'text' files with the extension 'BAT' i.e. The file name would be 'purge.bat'

They can be located almost anywhere on your PC. I recommend your desktop is a good place as any.

The only thing to remember is that most versions of Windoz automatically hide the extension of files so be careful not to make that mistake. The extension is the file type designator which tells the computer what program to use to open the file such as M$ Word opens DOC, Notepad opens TXT, Photoshop opens JPG etc. To make the extensions visible you need to go to MY COMPUTER and click TOOLS then FOLDER OPTIONS then VIEW. Remove the tick on HIDE EXTENSIONS FOR KNOWN FILE TYPES. Once the batch file is complete you can simply follow the same steps above and re-tick the box to re-hide the extensions.

Open a simple TEXT editor such as NOTEPAD and cut and paste all of the text following the ...
Then save the file you created on your desktop. I called mine PURGE.BAT

In batch files you can add comments using the command REM before the line you want to type.

This is my purge.bat file....

REM This is a simple batch file that cleans out the print queue.

REM The first line stops the print queue

net stop spooler

REM Then we change to the main hard disk which is normally C:


REM Then we change to the system printer spool folder

cd %systemroot%system32\spool\PRINTERS

REM Then we delete the print jobs in there

del *.* /yes

REM Then we start the print queue

net start spooler

Step 3: How To.... Using the PURGE.BAT Utility


You have just sent an important job to your printer, it starts printing then it goes mental and throws a wobbler, spewing paper for no reason. Simply follow the following 5 steps....


2. Switch off the printer immediately. Remember to keep the power button pressed if it does not turn off at once. Do this at the wall if you have to.

3. Go to your desktop and click the PURGE.BAT file. It will do its thing automatically.

4. Turn on the printer.

5. Re-print the job.