Basic Printer Troubleshooting Tips for Your Office
Printers are often one of the most useful tools in your office, yet can also be the one of the most frustrating! In an endeavor to make your life a little easier, here are a few steps that you can take to save you time (and from going nuts).
Go to Start | Control Panel | Printers and Faxes and look for your printer in the list. Does the icon for your printer say offline under the name or is it grayed out? If so, the printer is not able to be reached for communication.
If the printer icon shows it is offline:
- If you have a USB printer, skip to step C.
- First check to see if your computer has network connectivity, by going to www.google.com and running a search to see if you get results. If not, check out our blog on Network Connectivity Troubleshooting Tips.
- Walk up to the printer, and see if there is an error message on the LCD screen or any flashing amber/red lights. This will tell you if there is a problem, such as a paper jam or the printer being out of ink.
- Check the printer to see if the power light on the printer is lit up green.
- If it is amber or unlit, the printer is powered off or sleeping, so turn it off and back on.
- If there is no light, check the power cable and then look for the power switch/button to turn it back on.
- Green means you are good to go.
- Check you printer’s network/USB cable connection by unplugging it from your computer and the printer and then plugging it back in.
- Power cycle the printer by unplugging it, waiting a full 30 seconds, and then powering it back on. This may also require you to press a power button or switch to turn the printer back on.
- As a last ditch effort, go for the good ole restart your computer.
If the printer icon appears normal:
- Right-click the printer icon and the select See what’s printing or Print queue, depending on what software you are running. You may also have to double-click the printer and then select a print queue option.
- Are there print jobs stuck in the queue? The top of the list gets printed first, so if that one has an error try removing it first by right-clicking it and selecting Delete or Cancel.
- If there are no errors, walk up to the printer, and see if there is an error message on the LCD screen or any flashing amber/red lights. This will tell you if there is a problem, such as a paper jam or the printer being out of ink.
- Clear out all of the print jobs (found in step i).
- Restart the print spooler service by going to Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services.
- Scroll down the alphabetical list until you reach Printer Spooler.
- Right-click Printer Spooler and then select the Restart option.
- Restart your computer.
I have no printer icons at all!?!?!?!?!?
- Is the print spooler service running?
- Start the print spooler service by going to Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services.
- Scroll down the alphabetical list until you reach Printer Spooler and check to see if it says Started in the Status column.
- If it does not indicate Started, right-click Printer Spooler and then select the Start option. If it does say Started, select the Restart option.
- Restart your computer.
For advanced troubleshooting at home, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling your printer driver; however, if you are in a business environment, I would definitely recommend contacting your IT support provider before changing any drivers.
Also for home users, if your printer is not showing up at all in the list of printers, then you have a different issue entirely, which will require a reinstall of the printer. Check your stash of computer CDs to see if you have the driver CD from the printer manufacturer or try their website for a download of the driver. If you need to know whether to get the 64bit or 32bit driver, just go to Start | Control Panel | System and it will be listed under operating system on the new window that pops up.
Article by Joe Reava