Disable Printing And CUPS.

I don’t print much of anything these days, and haven’t for a long time, and on older hardware I’d disable printing by disabling CUPS. I’ve also found printing enabled on server installs. That doesn’t seem like a good default to me, but I’m definitely not an expert. 

If you don’t need to print, you don’t need the CUPS services running. Today, we’ll discuss disabling it. We could mask the services, like we did in the article about disabling sleep/hibernation. Instead of doing that, we’ll use this as an opportunity to show how to disable a service. That seems like a reasonable choice.

If you don’t know, Linux printing is (usually) controlled by CUPS. CUPS is developed by our friends at Apple. CUPS has actually been around since the late 90s and has pretty much become the default printing system. If you check the man page, it defines itself like:

cups – a standards-based, open source printing system

And the description:

CUPS is the software you use to print from applications like word  processors, email readers, photo editors, and web browsers. It converts the page descriptions produced by your application (put a paragraph here, draw a line there, and so forth) into something your printer can understand and then sends the information to the printer for printing.

If you don’t print from your system, you don’t need the service running. Back when I cared about optimization, this would be something I’d disable. I’m not sure that it ever did much good at making things run faster, but it definitely made me feel like I was doing something!

Disable Printing/CUPS:

Like many other articles on this site, we need an open terminal. You can open a terminal with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T. That should do it!

Now, with your terminal open, we just need to enter a few commands. Just in case, we should first make sure to stop any of the printing services. To do that, you run the following:

If you did it right, you’ll get no feedback. We also need to stop ‘browsed’ (the daemon that broadcasts/receives broadcasts from remote printers) with:

Again, nothing should show up on your screen. You’re also done stopping any of the printing services and the next step will be to disable those services. It’s pretty easy – you just replace the stop with disable. It looks like this:

And again for the daemon:

That should do it, actually. You should now no longer be able to print from your device. This could even be an additional security setting for times when you don’t want basic users to be able to print sensitive information while still keeping a printer up on the network. If the system can’t print, you don’t have to worry about them acquiring the print credentials. For those who’ve covered the costs of a ‘print room’, you might even see some benefits on the bottom line!


See? That was a nice and easy article. It’s not even all that long! Heck, the stuff around the commands is more complicated than the commands themselves! Now that I think about it, that kinda describes a bunch of these articles. I can’t write essays every day! Besides, who would read them?!?

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