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I’ve been having big problems with my laptop over the last few days. For some reason that I couldn’t figure out, the cpu usage kept shooting up 100%, even with no applications running and I could do absolutely bugger all! So frustrating – I couldn’t even run a registry cleaner or spyware scan because there just weren’t enough system resources.

I struggled for 2 days to try and sort the problem out. And I was starting to panic – every hour that went by was another precious hour of work being lost, time that really couldn’t afford to be wasting with stupid PC problems. I get so hacked when the machines start playing up, it’s so friggin’ frustrating because we totally rely on them for every aspect of the business and when they give hassles, the business suffers. I feel so helpless because I don’t know enough to fix them myself.

Eventually, after much gnashing of teeth and tugging of hair, I managed to get into IE and Google “100% cpu usage XP” and I managed to come across a solution, thank goodness. I was expecting to find some really complicated, technical workaround that I’d have to call a professional in to do for me, but luckily it was a really simple problem and fix. All it was was a document that had got stuck in the print spooler a while back. The minute I cancelled it, everything was fine! AAARGH!!! Can you believe it? Something so small and simple caused so many problems and so much irritation …. Now I have to work double time to try and catch up.

Anyway, I thought this may help someone in the future. So if you ever find that your PC’s cpu usage suddenly spikes for no apparent reason, and you run out of system resources, check your print spool!

To do this:

  1. Go to the Windows Start menu and select “Control Panel”.
  2. Find and open the “Printers and Faxes” option.
  3. When that opens up, have a look in the “Documents” colum next to the printer names.
  4. They should all be on zero, but if one of them shows a number, it means there’s one or more documents stuck in the print spool.
  5. Double click on the printer name to open the print spool window and click on the offending document.
  6. Then, from the menu, choose Document > Cancel.

That’s it!