Over the years, printers have become almost ubiquitous wherever there is a computer. From simple black and white printers for printing basic letters to the latest multifunction devices that incorporate scanners and offer remote printing through Wi-Fi networks.
However, printers can be temperamental and often fail when you need them the most. What should do you if you are having trouble with your printer? In most cases, the printer manual will contain some basic troubleshooting steps to try. If you no longer have the one that came with the printer, try the manufacturer’s website – they often allow you to download copies of the manual.
As always, when you are having printer problems start with the basics. The first question to ask yourself is “Is the printer plugged in and does it turn on”? If it does not, try another electric device in the socket and see if that works. If the printer is at fault, try replacing the fuse before taking a trip to the shop to get it fixed.
If the printer has power, try to print a test page – most printers have a way to do that from the printer function buttons. This should rule out any problem with the printer itself, although it is not impossible that you might need new ink cartridges if the ink levels are low.
Once the printer allows you to print test pages, it is time to try from your computer. If you normally use a wireless connection, then it would be a good idea to try a direct connection to the printer using a USB lead. This would help to rule out a problem with the wireless network that prevents the printer from working.
One other thing to check is that the computer is set to print to that printer. Many office computers can print to a selection of different printers, or even to PDF files, and sometimes you experience problems because the prints are going somewhere else!
Sometimes, the printer mechanism traps paper inside the printer. This can be frustrating, especially with complex printers, but the key to resolving a paper jam is to be methodical. Open the printer carefully, and pull out all the paper. Sometimes this can require a lot of force to free bad blockages, but it is important to get all the bits of paper out. Once cleared, the printer will start working again but you might need to reprint your documents.
The other major cause of frustration with printers is the software on the computer that you want to print from. Sometimes, this can have bugs that cause problems, so downloading the latest version of the printer software might resolve your problem – some manufacturers also offer diagnostic software that can help to locate the problem.
Well over 50% of the time when a printer has worked and then intermittently goes offline in Windows, it has to do with how the printer is configured. If its a network printer, do yourself a favor and change the printer port from WSD to TCP/IP. In our experience, this clears up close to 90% of printers going offline without warning.
Unless you are actually using SNMP to communicate with the printer from your PC (unlikely) you should also go to the printer ports configuration page and disable the SNMP Status option.
BlueSodium is a New Jersey based company that provides IT support for many Companies, small , medium and large.