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Mac OS X: How to reset the printing system

This article explains how to reset the printing system in Mac OS X.

Mac OS X includes a Reset Printing System troubleshooting function that you might want to use after you try all other printing troubleshooting steps for Mac OS X 10.6 or later, or Mac OS X 10.5.8 or earlier.

What does Reset Printing System do?

  • Deletes all queues and jobs.
  • Resets all printer settings to their default by deleting configuration files.
  • Performs a permissions check on the /tmp directory.

Any printers, scanners, or fax modems that previously appeared in System Preferences will need to be added again after resetting the printing system.

Resetting the printing system in OS X Lion

To use the Reset Printing System function in Lion, follow these steps:

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Print & Scan from the View menu.
  3. Hold down the Option key while clicking the "-" (Remove printer) button. If no printers are currently added, hold down the Control key while clicking in the box that appears above the "+" (Add printer) button, then choose Reset printing system… from the contextual menu.

Resetting the printing system in Mac OS X v10.5.x or 10.6.x

To use the Reset Printing System function in Mac OS X v10.5.x or 10.6.x, follow these steps:

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Print & Fax from the View menu.
  3. Hold down the Option key while clicking the "-" (Remove printer) button. If no printers are currently added, hold down the Control key while clicking in the box that appears above the "+" (Add printer) button, then choose Reset printing system… from the contextual menu.

Resetting the printing system in Mac OS X v10.4.x

To use the Reset Printing System function in Mac OS X v10.4.x, follow these steps:

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Print & Fax from the View menu.
  3. Hold down the Option key while clicking the "+" (Add printer) button.

    As an alternative, you can choose Reset Printing System… from the Printer Setup Utility menu while in Printer Setup Utility (which open when the  "+" button is clicked).
Last Modified: Apr 6, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Apr 6, 2012
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