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So you've got yourself a Canon printer and you'd like to print something but you can't! ... because your annoying printer hates you and is blocking you with the error message "Another computer is using the printer" and no amount of turning it off and on again (or shouting at it) seems to clear the problem. You've hunted around for this mysterious 'other computer' - and asked other members of the household if they are hiding one - but alas there's no sign of it.

You are not alone. Our Canon MG4250 WIFI printer had been hitting us with the "Another computer is using the printer" error message on a daily basis until we finally cracked and looked into this infuriating printing problem. We found a solution so we'd like to share it just in case it helps you with your own printing problems. (It may not just be Canon printers ... Epsons appear to be affected too).

DISCLAIMER: this advice is given in good faith. You use it entirely at your own risk. We are not technical people or IT people so if you crash, corrupt, upset or mess up your PC or laptop in the process our obligations are limited to providing words of comfort only (limited to 75 words for each event). We are running Windows 10 so we're not sure if this works with other versions of Windows (?)

OK. Here we go then. All you need to do is follow the instructions below:

  • Save and backup all your files just in case your computer decides to punish you for daring to try and solve your printing problems.

  • Make sure your printer is turned on.

  • Hold down the WINDOWS KEY on your keyboard (it will have four squares on it representing the Microsoft Windows logo) and then tap the 'R' key once. This will cause a box to open on your screen. You can now take your finger off the WINDOWS KEY; we're done with that.

  • Type 'services.msc' (no apostrophes) into the box and then click 'OK'.

  • After 5-10 seconds another box will open with a list of services (probably with small cog images next to each one).

  • OPTIONAL STEP IF YOU'RE FEELING BRAVE: it helps if that list is in alphabetical order. If it's not in alphabetical order, left click the 'Name' header at the top of the list and it will re-arrange itself alphabetically.

  • Scroll down the list until you see a service called 'Print Spooler'.

  • Right-click 'Print Spooler' and then choose 'Stop' by left-clicking it. A small progress box will appear for a few seconds and then vanish.

  • Right-click 'Print Spooler' again and then choose 'Start' by left-clicking it. Again a small progress box will appear for just a few seconds.

  • That's it! ... now just close the Services window by clicking the cross in the top righthand corner.

So that solves the problem with our Canon Pixma MG4250 printer displaying the warning message "Another computer is using the printer". We've noticed on other websites that this printing problem occurs with other models including the Canon MG5420, MG6450, MX 470 and MX512 which also display this error on occasion. It also seems to curse some Epson printers.

Thanks for the thanks ... you're all very very welcome ....

3rd May 2018: VH contacted us to express their gratitude for this information which helped to fix this problem with an MB2040.

10th May 2018: DB emailed to say thanks and that these instructions were very easy to follow even for the computer illiterate. They were running Windows 10.

7th June 2018: PR said "This fix worked perfectly and I was really struggling to find a solution"

22nd July 2018: NN got their Canon MX920 working (Windows 10)

26th July 2018: PM thanked us for helping with his Canon IP7250 and questioned the fidelity of his printer because it spends so much time occupied with a stranger.

26th July 2018: MM had success with Windows 10 and a Canon 922.

August 2018: J finally made peace with her MG6851. She says the problem often occurs if she hasn't switched the printer on before sending a print. We've experienced that too.

October 2018: JT fixed her MG5400 (and promised us a share of her next lottery win!), JC now has a functioning MG5550 and M said our solution was "much easier, faster and more straightforward than Canon's tech advice". We'll take that!

February 2019: RC wrote "Our Canon MX490 would like to thank you for saving it from being thrown against a wall, stomped on, whipped around by its cord and finally unceremoniously deposited in the garbage for shredding. Our printer is once again a functioning member of our family."

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