How to Troubleshoot General Printer Problems…

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Troubleshoot General Printer Problems:

Troubleshoot General Printer Problems

In general, to troubleshoot a printing problem in Windows:

1.      Check your printer’s hardware.

  • Verify that the printer is connected to a working power source.
  • Verify that the printer is online. Some printers have an online/offline button that might have been toggled accidentally.
  • Add paper if necessary.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions to clear any paper jams.
  • Add ink or toner if necessary.
  • Reset the printer by turning it off for 10 to 30 seconds to purge the printer’s memory. Low or no available memory can cause printing problems.

  • Verify that the printer is properly connected to the computer’s printer port. In rare cases, if the printer is daisy-chained through another parallel or USB device, connect the printer directly to the computer and attempt to print again.
  • If you are using a parallel port, verify in your computer’s CMOS that LPT1 is configured with the correct port protocol.
  • If you are using a USB port, switch the printer to a different port, or disconnect it from the USB hub and attach it directly to a port. Also ensure that the printer has its own power source; printers generally cannot draw sufficient power from the USB hub.
  • Replace the printer cable.
  • If printer diagnostic tools are available, perform a self-test on the printer.

2.      Print a test document from the printer driver dialog or from Notepad. If the page prints successfully, your printing issue may be specific to one program. You will need to troubleshoot that particular application. If this is not successful, move the printer and cable to another computer and try again.

3.      If print jobs do not accumulate in the print queue, and you are printing to a shared printer, verify that you have the necessary permissions.

a.     Open the Devices and Printers dialog box.

b.    Right-click the shared printer and choose Printer Properties.

c.     Select the Security tab.

d.    Verify that the user account that is attempting to print has at least the Print permission for the printer. (Keep in mind that permissions can be assigned either to the user account or to a group of which the user is a member.)

e.     If necessary, assign appropriate permissions to the user account.

f.     Close the Properties dialog box and the Devices and Printers folder.

4.      If print jobs do not accumulate in the print queue, verify that drive containing the spool folder (%SystemRoot\System32\spool\PRINTERS) has enough free disk space.

5.      If print jobs are accumulating in the print queue but not printing, clear the print queue and ask users to resubmit their print jobs.

a.     Open the Devices and Printers folder.

b.    To open the queue, double-click the printer.

c.     Click See whats printing.

d.    Choose PrinterCancel All Documents.

e.     Click Yes to confirm.

f.     Wait until the queue window is clear and close the queue window.

g.     Ask users to resubmit their print jobs.

6.      If print jobs are still accumulating in the print queue but not printing, stop and restart the print spooler service.

a.     Open Computer Management.

b.    Expand Services and Applications and click Services.

c.     In the middle pane, right-click the Print Spooler service and choose Stop.

d.    Right-click the Print Spooler service again and choose Start.

e.     Close Computer Management.

7.      Confirm the printer’s properties are set correctly.

a.     Open the Devices and Printers folder.

b.    Right-click the printer you are troubleshooting and choose Printer Properties.

c.     Verify that the settings correspond to those specified in the printer’s manual.

8.      Remove and re-install the printer driver. Obtain an updated driver from your printer manufacturer’s website, or if you are using a printer driver installed from the Windows installation CD-ROM:

a.     Open the Devices and Printers folder.

b.    Right-click the printer and choose Remove device.

c.     If prompted, click Yes to remove all files associated with the printer.

d.    Use the Add a printer wizard to re-install the printer, replacing the existing driver if prompted.

e.     Print a test page from Notepad.

9.      Verify the printer port is working properly.

a.     Open Device Manager.

b.    Expand Ports (COM & LPT) by clicking the arrow.

c.     Select your printer port, right-click and choose Properties.

d.    Verify the Device Status reads This device is working properly.

e.     Select the Resources tab.

f.     Verify the Conflicting Devices List reads No conflicts.

 If another device is conflicting with the printer port, you need to correct the device conflict.

10.    If the port is not working correctly, remove and re-install your printer port.

a.     Open Device Manager.

b.    Expand Ports (COM & LPT) by clicking the arrow.

c.     Select your printer port, right-click and choose Uninstall.

d.    Click OK.

e.     Restart your computer.

The printer port should automatically be detected by Windows when it restarts. Follow the prompts to re-install the printer port. If Windows does not automatically detect the printer port, verify that the port is enabled in the BIOS setup.

11.    Once you have corrected the problem, check with the user to verify that printing is now functioning correctly.

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