Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Fix ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ Error When Printing from a USB Printer

Ubuntu 5

If you have ever tried to print a document from a USB printer and been met with the frustrating ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error, you know how exasperating it can be. This error can occur due to various reasons such as incorrect configuration, missing plugins, or software issues. In this article, we will walk you through different solutions to rectify this problem and get your printer back up and running.

Empty the /var/spool/cups Directory

The first step in troubleshooting this error is to check the /var/spool/cups directory. This directory stores temporary files related to print jobs. If there are corrupted or unnecessary files in this directory, they might be causing the ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error.

To empty this directory, you need to delete the files inside it. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo rm /var/spool/cups/*

The rm command is used for removing files or directories in Linux. The * symbol is a wildcard that represents all files in the directory.

After running this command, reconnect your printer and try printing a document to see if the issue is resolved.

Install Necessary Plugins

If the error persists, you might need to install the necessary plugins for your printer. For HP printers, you can refer to the instructions provided on the HP Linux Imaging and Printing website.

Installing the correct plugins ensures that your printer can communicate effectively with your computer, thereby reducing the chances of errors.

Check for Missing Libraries

Sometimes, the ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error can occur due to missing libraries. You can check for missing libraries by examining the cups error log. Run the following command in the terminal:

sudo tail -n 100 /var/log/cups/error_log

The tail command displays the last part of files. The -n option specifies the number of lines from the end of the files that should be displayed. In this case, we are displaying the last 100 lines of the error log.

If you see errors related to missing libraries, such as “ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory,” you need to install the missing libraries.

You can use the apt-file search command to find the missing library and then install it using apt-get install.

Verify USB Connection

A loose or disconnected USB cord can also cause the ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error. Ensure that the USB cord is properly connected to both the printer and the computer. If the cord is missing or disconnected, reconnect it and reinstall the printer driver if necessary.

Restart the Print Server

Restarting the print server can often resolve issues related to the print server. To restart the print server, run the following command:

sudo systemctl restart cups.service

The systemctl command is used to control the systemd system and service manager. The restart option is used to stop and then start a service. In this case, we are restarting the cups.service, which is the service for the print server.

Update Software Packages

Updating your installed software packages can also help resolve software-related issues that may be causing the printer problem. Run the following commands to update your software packages:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

The apt-get update command updates the list of available packages and their versions, but it does not install or upgrade any packages. The apt-get upgrade command installs the newest versions of all packages currently installed on the system.

Remove and Re-add the Printer

If none of the above solutions work, you can try removing the printer from the system settings and then re-adding it. This can refresh the printer settings and resolve any configuration issues.


The ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error can be a nuisance when you’re trying to print important documents, but with the right troubleshooting steps, it can be resolved. By following the solutions provided in this article, you should be able to get your USB printer back up and running in no time.

What does the ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error mean?

The ‘Stopped – Filter Failed’ error typically occurs when there is an issue with the print filter, which is responsible for converting the print data into a format that the printer can understand. This error message indicates that there was a problem with this conversion process.

How do I access the `/var/spool/cups` directory?

The /var/spool/cups directory is located in the root directory of your Linux system. You can access it by opening a terminal window and typing cd /var/spool/cups.

Can I delete all files in the `/var/spool/cups` directory?

Yes, you can delete all the files in the /var/spool/cups directory. These files are temporary and related to print jobs. Deleting them will not have any negative impact on your system.

How do I install plugins for my printer?

The process of installing plugins can vary depending on the printer brand and model. For HP printers, you can visit the HP Linux Imaging and Printing website and follow the instructions provided to download and install the necessary plugins.

How can I check for missing libraries?

You can check for missing libraries by examining the cups error log. Open a terminal window and type sudo tail -n 100 /var/log/cups/error_log. This command will display the last 100 lines of the error log, allowing you to identify any missing library errors.

How do I restart the print server?

To restart the print server, open a terminal window and type sudo systemctl restart cups.service. This command will stop and then start the cups.service, which is the service responsible for the print server.

How do I update software packages?

To update your software packages, open a terminal window and type sudo apt-get update to update the list of available packages. Then, type sudo apt-get upgrade to install the newest versions of all packages currently installed on your system.

How do I remove and re-add the printer?

To remove and re-add the printer, go to the system settings on your computer. Look for the printers or devices section, find your printer, and remove it. Then, follow the steps to add a new printer and select your USB printer from the available options.

What should I do if none of the solutions work?

If none of the solutions provided in this article work, you may need to seek further assistance. Consider contacting the printer manufacturer’s support or seeking help from online forums and communities dedicated to Linux and printing issues.

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