Has your printer stopped printing? This can happen with older printers but please try
Go through the 5 step checklist before you discard your printer.
Several things can fix printing issues. Some are simple checks and others are more complicated.
This article presents the five things you can do to repair printing or your printer. After that, you are free to get a hammer and take out your frustration on your device, and buy a new cheaper one. We begin here with an easy check and then progress to the more complex issues to resolve.
Check 1: Printing devices must be powered-on to print. Please make sure that the power is
turned on and that the power-on light is lit. At this time it is best to make sure that all cables
are plugged into the device and that there are no error indicators lit. A quick check of the
paper tray and paper hopper is in order as well. These should have a sufficient supply of fresh
paper in them.
Check 2: Please make sure that you are using the printer you are expecting. To verify this when
using Microsoft® Word, please click on the upper left menu item “File” and then “Print” from
the drop down menu. This reveals the printing panel to the right of the drop-down menu. In the
printing panel on the upper left is the print button. Immediately below that the printer is
identified. If the name of this device is not the printer you are expecting to use, there is a triangle
pointing down on the right-hand side. Clicking on this triangle reveals a drop-down list of
printers to which your computer can send the document for printing. Please make sure you have
selected the printer that you expect to use. There are similar selections computer programs
permit you to verify and to select the printer you wish to use.
You can print on a different printer as a test. When the document prints on the other printer, your
printer has the problem. This helps you identify precisely the problem hardware and software
Check 3: Please verify that the documents waiting to print are not stopped. When a printer
encounters any problem printing a document, it just stops printing. Any document that is
subsequently sent to the printer cannot be printed until the previous document is completely
Check 4: Many printing problems are caused by the loss of connection between the computer
and the printer. To check the printer connection on Windows 7® you again click on the “Start”
button and open “Devices and Printers”. In the devices and printers window you select the printer
you are using, click the right mouse button to open a pop-up menu, and you select “Printer
properties”. The printer properties window should open on the “General” tab. In the lower right
should be the “Print Test Page” button. Clicking on this button is a quick way to test whether the
computer is connected to the printer. It should immediately print a test page on the printer. If it
does not print a test page, then the link to the printer may not be functioning properly.
To verify the computer’s connection to the printer you select the “Ports” tab. The “Ports” tab
identifies the port that connects the computer to the printer. When the printer is connected by a
USB cable to the computer, the port label identifies a USB port. Sometimes unplugging a USB
cable and plugging it into a different USB port re-establishes the connection between the
computer and the printer.
Driver programs connecting Windows to the printer port may not be functioning properly with
Windows. In this case reinstalling the latest printer driver programs can resolve this issue. The
driver programs must typically match exactly the version of Windows on the computer. Often
separate driver programs are used for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows®. The latest
driver programs are found at the printer manufacturer’s website.
If the printer is a network printer, a standard TCP/IP port is checked. A TCP/IP port connection
can be broken when the incorrect printer IP address is used. To reconnect the printer to the
computer, make sure that the IP address on the computer is the same as the IP address assigned
to the printer. When the printer is a wireless printer, verifying the connection becomes more
difficult. Similar to any other network connected printer, a wireless printer must have the IP
address match the address used by the TCP/IP port on the computer.
Sometimes the printer may be identified by name and not by IP address. If the name is correct, a
test page should print on the printer. When a test page does not print, the most direct resolution
of the problem may be re-installation of the printer. This would require the original printer
installation CDs or a download of the installation software from the printer manufacturer’s
Check 5: Wireless printers often lose their connections to the network. This can be verified by
going to the printer and selecting from the printer menus a print out of the network configuration.
An alternate test is to use a different computer to print a test page to the wireless printer.
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