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10.6: Reset the Printing System System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintI encountered a problem recently where Word would not save, and Photoshop and other applications would not launch after an upgrade to 10.6 from 10.4.

Essentially what I needed to do was reset the printing system. While this was easily achieved in 10.5/10.4 it's not so easy in 10.6 especially when CUPS would not launch.

There was no access to the Print & Fax prefpanel or to the local webpage at so after a bit of hunting I found the following fix.

To reset the print system without using the Print & Fax system preferences, you can follow these steps in the Terminal. This can be done either locally or by logging in remotely via an SSH session.
  • Stop the CUPS daemon with the following command:
    sudo launchctl stop org.cups.cupsd
  • Rename the old CUPS configuration file:
    sudo mv /etc/cups/cupsd.conf /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.backup
  • Restore the default settings file:
    sudo cp /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.default /etc/cups/cupsd.conf
  • Rename the printers file:
    sudo mv /etc/cups/printers.conf /etc/cups/printers.conf.backup
  • Restart CUPS:
    sudo launchctl start org.cups.cupsd
That should resolve the issue; it did for me when I tried it.

[crarko adds: I did the steps, and it appears to do what it says. I didn't have the original problem so I don't know if this really fixes it.]
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10.6: Reset the Printing System
Authored by: chabig on Jan 19, '11 10:24:24AM

This is just a reminder to folks that the hint is applicable when System Preferences won't launch, which indicates a pretty serious problem.

When System Preferences does work, follow Apple's instructions:

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10.6: Reset the Printing System
Authored by: Baby Bloc on Jan 19, '11 07:38:49PM

I didn't know about Reseting the Printing System. It looks like if you are able to access the Print & Fax pref pane, you just option-click on the left column and it's there. I had to look around before I found it:

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10.6: Reset the Printing System
Authored by: ascanio on Jan 20, '11 02:13:59AM

It's actually ctrl-click or right-click, at least for me.

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