Default Windows Spool Directory and Permissions

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Article ID: 137503 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q137503
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This article discusses the default Windows spool directory and minimum permissions required for the spool directory.


Windows spools print jobs by default to the following directory as the they are processed:
The print jobs are then sent to the print device, and each job is deleted from the directory once the print job is complete.

It is possible for the administrator of a Windows print server to manually instruct Windows the location for placing the spool files, if for example there is a concern for disk space. For additional information regarding the moving of the spool file location, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 123747
TITLE : Moving the Windows NT Default Paging and Spool File
After following the instructions in the article above, the administrator must make sure that the path specified actually exists. If it does not exist, Windows uses the default spool directory.

The directory structure of the new spool file location may be created on a FAT, HPFS or NTFS partition. The spool file can reside on a compressed NTFS directory. If you create the spool file on an NTFS directory, the administrator can make the necessary changes to the permissions of the directory. Minimum requirements for permissions on the directory are as follows:
   Name                      Type of Access
   -----------------------   --------------
   Creator\Owner             Full Control
   Administrators            Full Control
   System                    Full Control
The default permissions on the directory are as follows:

   Name                      Type of Access
   -----------------------   --------------
   Creator\Owner             Full Control
   Administrators            Full Control
   System                    Full Control
NOTE: The Everyone group does not have full control access on any Windows platform if a computer is joined to a domain. Instead, Users will have Special Access to the folder.

The administrator of the Windows print server does not have to share the new spool directory. Specifying the new spool directory in the registry and the minimum user permissions on the new directory allows users of the print server to print their jobs as before. These changes are transparent to the end user, requiring no changes on their part.


Article ID: 137503 - Last Review: February 22, 2007 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition

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