Trying to start the Print Spooler Service you see a message like this:

Could not start the Print Spooler service on Local Computer.
Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified.

If you look at the Print Spooler Service in the Services applet, it shows the Print Spooler Service set to Automatic, but it is not running and will not start.

If you look in the Event Viewer System log you will see a message similar to this:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Service Control Manager
Event Category: None
Event ID: 7000
The Print Spooler service failed to start due to the following error:
The system cannot find the file specified.

An Error 2 means that the specified file could not be found.

In the case of the Print Spooler Service, the "specified file" is most likely file to be missing is:


Running sfc /scannow will not help you.

You could "try" running sfc /scannow, but it will not replace any missing or corrupted system files since that is not what sfc /scannow is supposed to do.

Somehow you must manually replace the missing or suspicious file.

There should be backup copies of the missing file in other places on your hard disk. When you find a copy of the missing file, just copy it and paste it into the c:\windows\system32 folder where it belongs.

When copying the file, respond in the affirmative if asked to replace or overwrite the existing file.

The most likely places to look for backup copies of missing system files are:


If you can't find the file there, search your hard drive(s) and see if you can find a copy. You could also copy the missing file from a working system using a floppy or USB device, email the file to yourself etc.

Deleting the spoolsv.exe file manually would require some extra effort since it is one of the 3498 files that Windows XP automatically looks after. Windows File Protection should automatically replace any monitored file quickly and silently if it ever disappears.

Replacing the file may provide immediate relief for the symptom of the problem but does not actually fix the real problem... which is how did the file ever come up missing in the first place? It is important to fix the actual problem and not just treat the symptom of the problem.

Possibilities are some malicious software has afflicted your system or your antivirus or antimalware programs thought the file was infected (maybe is really was) and quarantined/deleted the file.