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Spooling: What is Spooling Means in Operating System?

by Altaf Shaikh
Spooling: All About it

When using printers and punch card readers or any other batch processing device spooling is a word you must have come across. So What does it exactly mean? It works like a request queue where the data or instructions are from multiple sources and are accumulated later for the execution. In the article below we will tell you everything about spooling and how it works.

What is Spooling?

Spool means for Simultaneous Peripheral Operations on-line.  It is a kind of buffering process. It holds the data temporarily to be executed later by the device or system. The data is sent or stored in memory or storage until the computer or specific program does not request for execution.

Devices like printers and punch card readers are very slow as compared to the rest of the programs in the system. Getting input and output from the system is seen quickly in the queue and here spooling is required. IT works like a request where the data, instructions, and process from multiple sources are collected at a place and executed later. Mostly this collection is made in the computer’s memory or buffers and even sometimes the input-output device shows the interrupts.

The Spooling process is based on FIFO which means First In – First Out bases as per the instructions in the queue.

Implementation of Spooling in Devices

Let’s understand it even better for some devices.

  1. Printers

Most commonly you must have seen spooling printers. The documents or files you need to be printed are first stored in the computer memory or the printer’s spooler and whenever the printer is ready it draws the data from the spooler or memory and prints.

It can overlap input-output operations with one job for processing operations for other jobs. That means multiple different processors can ask a printer to print a document in a queue without waiting for the previous document printed. It can be used in generating Banner Pages also.

  1. Keyboard / Mouse

You must have experienced many times that suddenly your mouse or keyboard stops working for some time. We keep on clicking again and again on the screen to check if the mouse or keyboard is working or not.

And then When they resume working whatever you had clicks or pressed gets executes very quickly and fast. This is because all the instructions get stored in the spooling device and then get executed respectively.

  1. Batch Processing System

In the batch processing system, it is used to maintain a queue for the ready to run jobs. So that they can be done as soon as the system is ready with all the resources to process the instructions

  1. E-mails

The Email is first delivered to the MTA that is Mail Transfer Agent to temporary storage first. From here the MA that is the Mail User Agent picked the mail and delivers.

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How to Start and Stop Spooling in Printer?

You can start and stop spooling for printers in the following manner mostly it is stopped when the printer stuck on spooling. Simply follow the steps

To Stop

  1. Click on the start button of your computer
  2. Select Run
  3. Type command
  4. Click OK
  5. In the command prompt type net stop spooler
  6. Press Enter

To Start

  1. Click on the start button of your computer
  2. Select Run
  3. Type command
  4. Click OK
  5. In the command prompt type net start spooler
  6. Press Enter

Benefits

The spooling in printers is great wherein a single printer is shared by multiple computers. This is where it becomes very useful. The spooler allows the users to order print and continue to work while the printing process is done in the background where it makes multiple printing jobs without letting any user wait to work.

But in a Complex working space where there are different operating systems on different computers but all are networked together. Here when the printers are shared it becomes a bit complicated because the data needs to be translated into many different formats. Here you need a third party software or hardware to make everything work smoothly. Sometimes even consulting services come into the picture for this.

FAQ

What does it mean for a printer to be spooling?

Printer Spooling lets you send multiple files, large documents, or series of documents to print without any wait to finish the previous task. It is like buffering. It is a place where the documents are lined and printed as per the queue.

What does spooling stands for?

Spool stands for Simultaneous Peripheral Operations on-line

How do I get my printer to stop spooling?

  1. To stop following the following steps
  2. Click on the start button of your computer
  3. Select Run
  4. Type command
  5. Click OK
  6. In the command prompt type net stop spooler

Press Enter

How do I get my printer to Start spooling?

  1. To start to follow these steps
  2. Click on the start button of your computer
  3. Select Run
  4. Type command
  5. Click OK
  6. In the command prompt type net start spooler
  7. Press Enter

Conclusion

The word spooling means a queue or line of the data waiting to be processed or printed. It is a mediator between the computer applications and the slow peripherals like a printer. It has its benefits. A User can instruct multiple tasks to an Input-Output device without waiting for the previous task to finish all thanks to the spooling.

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