Printer Troubleshooting Problems – Step by Step Solutions

By Arindam Roy

Printer Troubleshooting Problems – Step by Step Solutions

A printer is a fantastic device to have. It makes life so much easier by providing easy access to all your documents and photos, but only if the device is working. Unfortunately, printers are one of those things that can break down at the worst possible time.

Whether there’s something wrong with it or you just need help understanding how it works, printer not responding can be a difficult problem to solve on your own. You don’t have to worry about that anymore though because we’ve got your back! We’ve put together this guide on printer troubleshooting in order to help you fix any issue you may come across.

What is printer troubleshooting?

Printer troubleshooting is a process of finding and solving specific problems with your printer. The first step to any good troubleshooting job is knowing exactly what the problem is. That can be almost as difficult as fixing it in some cases, but we’ve made things easy for you!

If you’re not sure what the problem is, our article on printer error codes can help you figure it out. Once you know what the issue is, you can move on to figuring out how to fix it. This guide will walk you through all of the different situations that we have come across and offer possible solutions for each one. If you have a problem that isn’t covered here, be sure to check the troubleshooting page for more.

We’d love to hear your story!

The best part about printer troubleshooting is that you don’t even have to buy an expensive repair kit or call in the repair services if you don’t want to. You can do things like follow our comprehensive guide on how to fix your own printer. Or, if this isn’t something that you feel comfortable doing, we offer a ton of options for printing and scanning services. With all these options, there’s bound to be a solution for you.

Also read: Recycle Printer Cartridges: A Quick Guide

Printer troubleshooting problems & solutions

Below are a few of the many common printer troubleshooting errors that we’ve seen over time. They should offer you a good indication as to what could be wrong and what might fix it. If you find yourself in this same situation and are unsure of how to go about fixing it, follow the instructions provided in our detailed guide on printer error codes. The guide will help you to identify the problem and we’ll give you some helpful advice on how to fix it.

Read more: Buying Guide for a Printer: Expert’s Advice

Shake out a few steps: Black ink jammed?

  • 1. Make sure that your printer is on.
  • 2. If your printer is wireless, go to the wireless network menu and make sure that the wireless printer is selected as your active connection (it should be). If you are using a USB cable or have wired your printer, you do not have to worry about this step.
  • 3. Click “Printing Preferences” from the “File” menu in your application:
  • 4. Click “Printing Preferences” from the pop-up window:
  • 5. If your printing preferences are grayed out, you may need to select a different printer manufacturer. This is to reset the print settings for your specific printer:
  • 6. Click “OK” for the confirmation window:
  • 7. Now click “OK” for the advanced settings window:
  • 8. Make sure that “Print in Grayscale” is selected if you know that your printer can print in black and white only (this may be called “Draft Printing” or something similar): 9. Click “OK”, then click “OK” for the main printing preferences window again: 10. Now you should be able to print black and white documents using this method!

Printers are a necessary evil in the world of office work. They can be slow and prone to malfunction, and they will always have an underlying hint of dread that something is about to go wrong. But when it happens, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and peruse this article on printer troubleshooting. It’s broken down into different sections, containing solutions to common problems like jammed paper or ink drips. With these tips on your side, you’ll be able to get your printer back up and running in no time!

Relevant reading: Difference Between Laser Printers and Inkjet Printers: Detailed Comaprison

    • Jammed Paper: For many people, the most worrying problem is a jammed paper feeder because it makes it difficult for them to print anything at all…and no one likes to be unable to get any documents printed. The first thing you have to do is make sure that nothing has actually jammed the mechanism; try moving the feed dog up and down, or sometimes this means giving it a few taps with a blunt object like a screwdriver or piece of wood.
      If you can get it out just by tapping, then it’s not jammed; though this may not be sufficient solution for many people who have used their printer for a while. For these cases, you will have to either unplug and re-plug the printer, or move everything from the left side of your machine to the right side (which includes taking out all of your media).
      In other cases, the obvious solution is to unplug your machine and restart it; try it out before you continue on to other troubleshooting steps. If you’ve unplugged the printer and are still unable to get it printing again, this may be due to dirty or damaged printheads, which can cause actual “ink” to start squirting all over your computer screen. If this has happened, you will either have to disassemble your machine or take the pieces apart for cleaning.
    • Ink Drip: This is a common problem that requires only simple solutions. If you’ve printed out some documents and notice a drop of ink on your desk, it’s most likely due to your printer being overfilled with ink. This means you have to refill your ink tanks; if your machine is still under warranty, you can take it back to the store and have them do it for you.
      If not, then use the free online resources for refilling ink tanks. Aside from that, make sure that the print heads are clean; this is often a problem when other people have used the printer in its absence without properly cleaning off any leftover residue.
    • Ink Pump: The black ink pump is another common part of printers that can become clogged or misshapen due to inadvertent usage. Unfortunately, the only solutions for this are to buy a new ink pump or try to fix it yourself. The first thing you need to do is

remove the ink tank from its place and then turn the printer off. You will need to use a plastic spudger (or screwdriver) to unscrew two screws holding down the pump, and then pop off the metal cover. This may reveal a clog; if so, clean it out and then put everything back together.

Related article: How To Connect a Printer to WiFi

When troubleshooting a problem is to check the basics. Check that:

The first thing to do when troubleshooting a problem is to check the basics. Check that:

  • 1) The printer is plugged in
  • 2) The power light on the printer front panel is lit
  • 3) Paper trays are set correctly (with paper in them if necessary), and that all cartridges have ink or toner.
  • 4) Printer drivers and the latest software version are up to date on your operating system.
  • 5) Your printer is compatible with the computer you’re using.
  • 6) The type of paper you’re using can be printed on is supported by your printer, or alternatively a different type of paper. If all this checks out and still not working, then it’s time to move on to possible remedies.

BASIC PRINTSYSTEMTEST: [attributed as ‘above’ but for locating culprits in a network/multiple printers]

  • 1) Power off the printer [unplugging it for 5-30 seconds will help prevent potential damage.  The power light is located directly above the print head.  Some printers have a switch to do this.]
  • 2) Check the ink status at the front of the machine with a paper test strip or [if printer has one] in a different color ink cartridge.  It should read full on light.  If not, it’s time to replace an ink cartridge.  Follow the instructions on your printer, but generally remove all cartridges and reinstall them one by one.
  • 3) Remove any wires or access coverings from the back of printer (other than those attached to it).  Check the print head or print carriage that is located near the power cord.  If it is not moving smoothly, check for debris and make sure the printer rollers are clean.
  • 4) Check and replace paper or print head cartridges (if your printer has more than one, make sure to do all of them).  Paper test strips should be available in your office supply center or online [linked above].
  • 5) Check for paper jams on the back of printer.  This can be done through an opening on the back of the machine (usually at top or bottom).  It may require removing a panel/covering to get at it.  If necessary, look for a curved paper path with guides that should be in place.  Remove any pieces of jammed paper you find.
  • 6) If your printer is wireless and still doesn’t work, check the power light above the print head as well as the wireless light on the printer’s front panel.  The power on light should be lit (when plugged in), and the wireless one should be blinking or solid if it’s connected to your computer/device via an access point.
  • 7) Try connecting a different computer to yours to see if problem persists. If it does, you may need to update or replace something more involved inside of printer such as the motherboard or printhead assembly .
  • 8) If all else fails, contact your computer’s manufacturer for some troubleshooting.  If it’s a brand new printer, you may need to contact the manufacturer of your computer as well (which also has its own instruction manuals).


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