Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.

Share story

Q: I use an HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 printer in the office and it is giving me fits.

On a fairly regular basis, it won’t print. When I open the print dialogue to see what is printing, there is always a document that seems to be preventing all subsequent printing attempts to stall. The newer print jobs can all be deleted.  However, when trying to delete the problem-causing print job, it will give a “deleting” status but it won’t delete.

The only way so far that I have found to “unstick” the offending print job is to shut down both the printer and the computer for a few minutes. When I turn them both back on, the printer will spit out the print job that has been causing the problem. It will work fine for a few days then it will happen all over again.

Is there a fix that you can recommend that will solve this problem? As you can probably tell by the jargon in my email, I’m not terribly proficient in office automation.
— Kevin Howard

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here>>

A: It sounds like you need to restart the Windows Print Spooler. In Windows 10, the easiest way to do so is to right-click on the Start button and then select Computer Management. Next, in the Window that pops up click on Services in the left-hand panel, then scroll down the list that appears in the right-hand panel until you see Print Spooler. Right-click on Print Spooler and then select Restart. That should solve your problem.


Q: When the time came, I waited until the last minute to change my working PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. I have, however, kept an older, offline PC on Windows XP for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are:

In XP, the search function (later titled search companion) can find the needle in a haystack. The search function in 7 is useless.

In XP, files in a folder can be shown in thumbnail view, an option not available in 7, but invaluable when working with photos and clipart.

My questions:  Is there available software that will perform (in Windows 7) the same function as the XP search? Loss of the thumbnail view option seems an incredible oversight on the part of Microsoft. Is there a setting (that I’ve overlooked) in Windows 7 to restore the thumbnail view option? And, in answer to what is probably your question, yes, I will wait until the last minute to update Windows 7 in my working computer — and (hopefully) not have to change to anything that has been in general use for less than two years.
— Joel Derby, Bothell

A: Hmm. I haven’t noticed a difference between the search function in Windows XP and Windows 7. Can you provide more information?

As for thumbnails, every version of Windows supports them, though not for every file type. If you are using a file type that is unsupported you can download and install a third-party program, such as SageThumbs.

Before installing a third-party program, however, make sure File Explorer is configured to show thumbnails. In Windows 7, open the Control Panel and launch Folder Options. Click on the View tab and make sure the box next to “Always show icons, never thumbnails” is unchecked.