DIY Printer Troubleshooting

Has your printer decided to stop working randomly and you need it ASAP? There are a few steps to follow which may help you to get it up and running, on your own.

Step 1: Restart the PC

In many cases, a simple reboot may sort out your problem. Not only printer problems, but the majority of hardware related problems.

Step 2: Power

Check that the power cord to the printer is securely connected and that the switch is turned on at the power outlet. It may happen that somehow a power cable may have come loose due to external, domestic forces. This may very well be causing the problem. Also make sure that the printer itself is powered on. This is generally indicated by a small light found either in the front or, in some cases, on top of the printer.

Step 3: Connection

Check that your parallel, USB or other printer communication cable is firmly and correctly connected to the PC. Also make sure that it is connected to the correct port at the back end of the computer, some ports may look alike but have subtle differences. Please take note, even is the cable is perfectly in place as it should be, the cable may still be damaged. Try using a new cable if you have a spare lying around in your spares cupboard.

Step 4: Readiness

Is the printer status indicated as ‘Ready’ in the Printers and Faxes option (found under your start menu). Also, check for an ‘On-Line’ indicator light on the printer itself. Some printers will have this, it is not common in newer model printers, but some do still have it.

Step 5: Windows Test Print

Check your printer documentation to see if the printer can do a self-test print. Alternatively use the Windows Test Print. If it prints, then the problem is not mechanical or communication related.

Step 6: Paper

As strange as it may sound, check that the printer has paper in it. Sometimes we overlook the basic problems, such as a printer being out of paper. Also make sure that the paper is correctly inserted. It can happen that the paper is skew or slightly bent. This may confuse the PC that it is out of paper. Another paper related problem is that the printer may be jammed. Check the manual for instructions on resolving paper jams. It won’t take much for you to damage the printer or for the printer to damage you, for that

Step 7: Does it have ink

Is there Ink in the cartridge, the ribbon installed correctly or toner in the laser cartridge? An ink jet printer generally has a black as well as a color cartridge. Check both, or at least set the printer to use a cartridge with ink in it. You can generally lengthen the life of a laser cartridge long enough to order a new one by removing the cartridge and lightly shaking it side-to-side, thereby, redistributing the tone. Sometimes you can get a ribbon going temporally by removing from the printer and physically advancing the ribbon past a damaged section by turning the sprockets.

Step 8: Smudged, blurred, faded or ghosted Printouts

Most ink jet printers have a simple cleaning procedure for the print heads. You may have to clean them after the printer has been idle for an extended period of time, as well as the occasional periodic cleaning. If you see unusual colors or print-outs are missing colors, a cartridge may be empty or be dirty. You may have to clean a head many times to get it working fully again.

Step 9: Documentation

Refer to your user manual. As I type this paragraph I can almost imagine your facial expressions. Makes you wish that you didn’t throw out that seemingly useless little booklet. I bet you don’t even know where the Driver CD is… No matter, if you cannot find either the booklet or your Printer’s CD, log onto the manufacturers website. Drivers, User Manuals as well as printer specific troubleshooting guides are readily available on the internet. Surfs up! 

Finally: Call in the cavalry

If you have run through the preceding steps and can confidently say that they did not solve your problem, call us. LPF Systems is available and has the knowledge and skill to get your printers up and running. Or at least we will do our best to solve the problem. Alternatively, we can arrange a brand new, competitively priced, replacement that will suit your needs. Feel free to contact us, LPF Systems is there for you.


3 Responses to “DIY Printer Troubleshooting”

  1. Troubleshooting a Slow PC Says:

    […] DIY Printer Troubleshooting […]

  2. Windows Vista Says:

    I am using vista for over a year now, still not okey with it. I surely miss XP. Anyway looking forward for SP2 to be released. 🙂

  3. computer--tips Says:

    it nice and informative

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