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My setup consists of a Win 10 PC with a printer attached via USB, and a Win 11 laptop that is network connected to the printer via the Win 10 PC. The printer properties on both PC's is set to disabled and I can print from both of them.
It might depend on the printer's settings or the printer itself, as well as what software/hardware you're printing from.
For example, I have a b/w (grayscale) 1997 HP LaserJet 4000n (a business printer) which doesn't work when connected via a bi-directional USB-to-Centronics parallel printer cable (when set in the printer's on-device options, of which there are many), but connecting it to my LAN via an Ethernet cable works fine, regardless of whether the spooler service is running, when the printer itself is set to print from its Ethernet port. The printer has several megabytes of internal RAM (or a flash DIMM) where it stores a lot of things (default fonts, etc.). It works with different drivers (with differing capabilities/resolutions, depending on the driver) because it supports different common protocols (which were probably more common in 1997). Sometimes the driver itself tries to access the spooler service, but I think whether the driver uses the Print Spooler service can be controlled on the computer. (Win 8.1)
Officially, the printer supports Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, windows 3.1x, Novell NetWare, HP-UX, Solaris, SunOS, and OS/2... or, instead, one of the following three from a web server: Windows NT, HP-UX, OS/2.
A modern printer in the same class would probably detect an incoming print job automatically and, if authorized, use the appropriate protocol without as much specific on-printer configuration, but that's just a guess. (a config options listed in my '97 printer's manual are e.g. Network config, IPX/SPX stack, DLC/LLC stack, TCP/IP stack, Apple EtherTalk stack, Novell config, packet sizes, IP address, subnet mask, transmission speed (baud rate), handshaking, I/O timeouts and buffer size, unit of measure, resolution 300dpi/600dpi/1200dpi, which input/output trays to use, which ports to use, many other things... the manual says that the computer's print driver settings override the printer's own hardware configs, though, so most or all of those things can probably be changed without using the printer's buttons and LCD display)
Funny, I have an old HP Laserjet 6MP that works just fine with a USB to parallel cable. I also have several USB to RS232 convertors & only one works with the application I use it with. So not all USB convertor cables are the same!
Using Windows 10 with a network-based printer, I could not print with the spooler service disabled. I could not even see the list of printers. And, yes, that was after I turned off print spooling in the printer properties and opted instead to print directly to the printer.
The description of the printer spooler service says this will happen: "If you turn off this service, you won’t be able to print or see your printers."
I tried that on Windows 7, and no luck. All printers disappear completely with print spooler service turned off. I tried adding a printer and got a message - Print spooler service must be on. What Windows was it?