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Illustrator crashes when saving anything!

Well, my copy of Illustrator running on Windows Vista would not save for the past few days. At first I assumed it was a corrupted or funky file problem specific to the one file and found a work around file for Photoshop. A few days later I needed to use Illustrator to copy a vector into Photopshop and convert to a smart object. Every time I cut and pasted Illustrator would hang and then eventually crash and nothing would be pasted into Photoshop. Okay, so I decide I’ll save the Illustrator file and then place it in Photoshop via File / Place. Still no joy, the second I went to save, it crashed. Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy I created a blank canvas, typed something on it and go to save it, again Illustrator crashes with the message “Adobe Illustrator CS3 has stopped working”. Wonderful, so helpful, and the “Check online for a solution” wasn’t even working for me, but to this date even when it has worked in other programs it rarely provides a useful solution.

Time for some Google power. After doing a few searches I realize that this is not an isolated issue, and could be one of many problems. One post on a forum stands out though. Illustrator CS3, at least on Vista, requires that your Print Spooler be running. Well, this is another issue I have not solved yet. I have a randomly crashing Print Spooler. Anyway, I start up the print spooler and sure enough, Illustrator now saves. Why the print spooler is even needed I don’t know, but I think it would be helpful if when this happens illustrator could recognize it’s not running and say “Hey, your Print Spooler is not running, Illustrator requires it to be on, please start it up”, or something along those lines.

Here’s how you can check your print spooler.

Go to your start menu. In the search box type services. Your services dialog will open. Scroll down to Print Spooler. If it is running already then this might not be your problem, but try restarting it just in case. By the results of my Google search there are many other reasons why Illustrator might not be saving, but hopefully this helps some people out.

67 Comments to “Illustrator crashes when saving anything!”

  • Joe

    Thanks a bunch! This saved my sanity.

  • Luffie

    thanks a lot dude!! you’ve just saved a man’s life and 2 man’s sanity!!! god bless!!!

  • Sonny



  • Ghiavolu

    Thank you ! You are a life saviour !!! I was having the problem illustrator crashing on drag & drop to photoshop. I reinstalled adobe 100 times, i formatted computer , reinstalled windows – GOD!
    The thing is i`m tweaking my xp for performance and for /3GB switch , so…
    THANK YOU MAN! God bless!
    (from ROmania)

  • Micha

    ohh thank god … I’m not very religious but god bless u man u saved my life

  • Paul

    Wierd but yes that works!!! Thanks for saving me a bunch of time looking this one up! I disable my print spooler because well I have no use for it but obviously Illustrator does!

  • paige

    awesome…it worked. thanks so much!

  • Jamie

    Gosh, one of those silly stupid problems that take a keen eye to spot. Thanks so very much for this solution. I had been relying on the Vector Smart Object work flow in Photoshop and this saved me.

  • Jonas & Martin

    Hi, we both had this problem with Vista and most programs in CS3. Starting/restarting the print spooler solved the the problem, but the print spooler subsequently stopped after each saving. We solved this by selecting “properties” for the print spooler, goint to the “Recovery” tab, and setting “Subsequent failures”: to “Restart the Service”.
    Thanks a lot

  • sunny

    mine crashes when i’m trying to get it started.. i tried your method as well, but still not working.. is there any solution for mine? if so, would appreciate it if you can drop me an email..

  • Ian Hoar

    Hi Sunny, if it is crashing when it starts then it is a different issue than the crash on save bug. Have you tried uninstalling it and reinstalling?

  • archi 101

    WOOP!!! saved me….with assignment due in 7 hours it wasnt looking good. THANKS A LOT!

  • John Lau

    Brilliant, I turned off this stuff accidentally a few days ago!
    This article should be added to Adobe’s KB!! Thankyou SOOOO much.

  • Broder

    Had disabled print spooler and dependencies since I don’t use the printer much. Reinstalled Illustrator several times before I found this post, thanks!

  • Nicolas

    Thank you! you saved my night and days searching to fix this problem.
    i just enabled my print spooler in windows vista home edition

  • Wizdumb

    Thanks so much man. Its funny though. When I first installed illustrator my save worked once the first time I tried to save a project. After that it didnt. This saved my life…literally

  • Michael

    Thank you. I tuned my XP for speed with Pro Tools LE. The spooler option worked for me, too. I first thought the version cue/update problem would be the fault, like it is for other mac users.

    Good luck and many thanks.

  • JayPii

    I too had this problem with my Illustrator! I have a Mac though, running leopard, so the spooler setting wasn’t an option.. I went into my printer setting and realized my iMac and my mothers Mac Mini were networked and it was using her printer. The printer was set to Idle. I simply removed that printer from my defaults and “Tadah” illustrator saves.. I am guessing illustrator needs a printer to save, so by either removing default printers or making sure your printer is working will solve the problem.

    Thanks for the article!

  • Chaos

    thanks a lot ! You’re my hero , I wub you ~~ ( wub means love , sounds like a baby saying “love” since he can’t pronounce the letter “l” correctly 😉 )

  • John

    I’ve been toggling between user accounts for months, to get around this. (The second account wasn’t hooked up to the same printer, so it worked fine)
    Thank you!!!
    I’ve linked to this post from my Illustrator Scripting blog”. Keep up the great work, I’m a new fan!

  • Rob

    You’re a genius. This solved two problems I was having at once. InDesign was crashing on startup, and Illustrator crashed on save. I never would have guessed it was related to the stupid Print Spooler service.

  • Kit

    Ah, you are a saint! Thank you so much for figuring out that problem; never would’ve figured it out myself.

  • Vani Ala

    I thank you a million times. I was frustrated the past few days trying to solve this issue.

    Appreciate the help.

  • jose

    a million thanks!!!!! i can’t believe it worked on my problem too. thank you and may your life be full of blessings!!

  • samson


  • RelD

    Very Thanks Man !!!!

  • Dino

    Just wanted to tell you that this post is still helping many people including myself. Thank you.

  • Kent

    My God!!!!!!! Thank you very very much! This info solve my problem!

  • Kent

    Thanks alot!!! U stop me from chewing my Illustrator CS3 disc!

  • blissweb

    Fantastic dude. I knew there must be a rational cure for this somewhere.

    I like your suggestion too. Come on Adobe, check the print spooler and popup a message before crashing and burning.

    Especially as people usually resort to “Saving” just after they’ve accomplished something, something worthy of saving, which would take them a long time to redo if they lost it 🙁

    Duh !!!

    • pagna

      my illustrator crash when save too, i was restart the print spool ready but it still crash when save the same before.

  • Breakablez

    Great !!!

    thanx dude…u are awesome..

  • Alex P

    Hey man that was a very helpful posting.. You have saved me reinstalling 10 PC due to false information of virus activity. this helped me to be a star 🙂
    Thanks a lot dude..

  • Sova

    Thanks a lot!!!!!

  • c

    you have yet again saved one more (me) from insanity! Tnx!

  • Tamasys

    Thanks so much! I lost a document I worked very hard on a while ago because of this, and have been afraid to use Illustrator since. It’s great to be able to use it again :D.

  • Hans Julius

    One extra tip for users with a mobile office and multiple printers; make sure that the printer set as ‘default printer’ is working. My default printer was one at my university (and I am at home now) so the same problem kept occuring, until I set adobe pdf printer as default printer. 🙂

  • Juan Albarran

    I have a problem with my Illustrator CS4,
    Everytime that i start up the app it crashes immediately..
    and apear a window that says
    The application Adobe Illustrator CS4 quit unexpectedly.
    Mac OS X and other applications are not affected
    Click Relaunch the application again. Click report to see more datails or send a report to Apple…

    I dont know what to do.. The problem starts since i had the Illustrator CS3.. i thougth with the CS4 it not would not happen again..

  • JC

    Thanks — solution worked under Windows 7 (64) too. Lifesaver.

  • Justin

    Fantastic, worked for me too! Thank you!!!

  • Herwin

    I LOVE YOU!!!

  • Joyce

    Thank U Ian!! U rock!!! I LOVE U TOO!

    Just in case anyone who cant locate your “Print Spooler” option like I do, try go to :

    Start > Run > type “msconfig” > Services > checked on “Print Spooler”

    Hope this helps!! 😀

  • Petr Bajer

    Thank you very much, it really helped me too. And “thanks” to Adobe for wasting my time again.

  • johndre2

    The same thing happens for windows 7 and the same fix work. Just an FYI for anyone coming here with that OS and the same problem like me…..Thanks

  • Avishag

    Thank you!!!
    you’re a genius

  • Prad

    Hey….thanks a lot man…. i was frustrated on how to solve this problem.. and now it worked…. once thanks a lot for sharing this useful info! cheeeeeeers! 🙂

  • Hero-type

    Thank you so much. I was very near tears with this problem. I simply restarted my Print Spooler and the file that was hanging for literally HOURS suddenly saved.

    Ridiculous! But yes, thanks again!

  • chris

    an easy fix for this problem is to set Microsoft Document Writer as the default printer in the ‘Printers and Faxes’ control panel…

  • Sarah Keyes

    Holy crapnoodles thanks so much for that. I use CS5 at work, which autosaves like the awesomeness that it is, and forgot to save on my old CS3 at home, and on top of that I start getting this garbage that crashes every time I try to save. Stupid spooler.