Category Archive Printer Issues

What to Do When your Printouts are Blotchy

Printer Problems In Windows

Common Printer Issues

It is not unheard of for high-performing machines to play up every once in a while. One example of this is laser printers. If a single component fails to perform the way it is supposed to, everything that follows can be a failure as well. While major problems are rare with laser printers, there are times when this can happen, mostly due to the lack of a toner.

One of the common printer problems in Windows is a blotchy printout. This means the page will have smudges of toner on it, which makes words hard to read. Following is how to troubleshoot the printer issue.

If it is a Leaking Cartridge

  • Switch off the printer and pull out the power cord.
  • Remove the toner cartridge.
  • Take a look at the printheads. If they are clogged, that may be causing the problem. Clean it with toner wipes, cloth, or alcohol-soaked tissue.
  • Check how the toner cartridge is holding up. See if you can reuse it, or if you need to get a replacement.
  • Put a toner cartridge, old or new, into the printer.
  • Plug the printer in and power it on.
  • Do a test print.

If the Toner has Built Up on the Drum Unit

  • Laser Printers

    Corona Wire Has Failed

    Switch off the printer and pull out the power cord.

  • Take out the drum unit from the printer, and put this over a clean cloth to prevent a stain or spill.
  • When using a color laser printer, remove the blotchy printout so that you know which drum unit needs cleaning. This will be evident from the color of the blotches.
  • Turn the drum unit around to figure out the spot where the toner has built up.
  • After you find this, clean the surface with a swab until you have removed the buildup.
  • Move the drum unit back into position, and put it back in the printer.
  • Plug the printer in and power it on.
  • Do a test print.

If the Corona Wire has Failed

  • Switch off the printer and pull out the power cord.
  • Let the printer be for some time, so that the corona wire cools.
  • Take out the drum unit, and put it on a clean dry cloth.
  • Wipe clean the corona wire. For this, you just have to slide the blue tab to either side. Do not touch the wires while you are doing this.
  • Push the blue tab into position.
  • Move the drum unit back into position, and put it back in the printer.
  • Plug the printer in and power it on.
  • Do a test print to confirm that the printer issues is fixed.

How To Resolve Printer Offline Issues

Printer Driver Is Unavailable

Printer Offline Issues

The printer becoming offline and unavailable for printing is a commonly occurring issue in most printers, especially those that are connected to a network. It can occur quite unexpectedly and prevent you from taking printouts. This issue can still occur even if you have kept the printer on and ready to print. The device will go offline, which prevents communication between your printer and computer. Several trivial issues such as loose cables or a paper jam can also cause your printer to go offline.

Such a printer offline or printer driver is unavailable issue is also attributed to other serious problems like a driver error. However, you can easily diagnose the problem by checking some basics related to connectivity, and then going for the software and drivers to determine the problem. The following are some effective ways to resolve a printer offline issue, and re-establish normal printing.

Rechecking the Connections

Mostly, a simple connectivity issue with the USB cable that links your printer to the computer can cause your printer to become offline. You first need to recheck such connections. Remove the USB or Ethernet cable from the ports of the printer and computer, and insert it back again properly.

You can also switch the printer USB to another port on your computer to check whether the printer is back online. Also, check if a faulty cable caused the problem, by connecting a working USB or Ethernet cable between the printer and your computer.

Manually setting it Online

Printer Problems In Windows

Common Printer Issues

You can also restore your printer and make it online by manually setting it so that your computer recognizes it. If you are using a Windows computer, click on the Start button and then open the Control Panel. In it, click on Devices and Printers, which will display the connected printers on your computer. Right-click on the printer that is experiencing the issue, and click on the See what’s printing option.

Then, right-click on the menu and select the Printer option appearing at the top left of the window. Click on the Use Printer Online from the drop-down menu to manually enable your printer. You can also cancel the pending print jobs by selecting Cancel All Documents from the menu and then manually bring the printer online.

Reinstalling the Printer

Another way to bring your printer online is by removing and then again reinstalling the printer. For this, you need to choose Devices and Printers from the control panel. Select the Remove device option in the drop-down menu by right clicking on the printer having the issue. After that, add the printer again into your computer by clicking on the Add a Printer option in Devices and Printers and following the onscreen instructions.

Five Warning Signs of a Faulty Transfer Roller in Laser Printers

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Faulty Transfer Roller

The transfer roller is one crucial component of a laser printer, which transfers the toner from the cartridge drum and imprints it on the paper. The transfer drum is electrically charged with the opposing polarity, to attract the toner particles onto the pattern created by the laser beam. The toner particles are then transferred onto the paper at the specific pattern in order to recreate a text or image. Many of the issues that occur with laser printers are due to the malfunctioning of the transfer roller.

A faulty transfer roller will cause the printer to exhibit certain warning signs. It is always recommended to pay attention to such signs to determine whether the transfer drum caused the issue or not. It is also advisable to rely on a professional technician to resolve the issues related to the transfer drum. Below are some warning signs that indicate a faulty transfer roller in a laser printer.

Recurrent Paper Jams

Recurrent paper jams are likely to be caused by the malfunctioning of the transfer roller. A failing transfer roller can actually prevent the proper intake of the paper. This causes it to lose its positioning and thereby get stuck inside, causing a paper jam. Following the instructions given in the printer’s manual can clear this, but it is recommended to leave it to a technician.

Squealing Noises

The other common sign of a malfunctioning transfer roller is the presence of squealing noises when the printer is functioning. This is usually the result of a misaligned or broken transfer roller. A simple misalignment of the transfer roller can be easily cleared by referring to the printer manual. In case the roller is broken, have it replaced by a printer technician.

Foul Smell

Printer Driver Is Unavailable

Common Printer Issues

The emission of a foul and unpleasant smell during printing is another sign of a faulty transfer roller. It is usually caused due to the accumulation of dirt on the sensitive surfaces of the roller. Doing simple cleaning using a soft cloth or compressed air can usually resolve the issue.

Fade Printouts

A faulty transfer roller can result in the production of faded printouts without legibility in the text or image. A dirty roller usually causes this, and carrying out a gentle wipe over the roller surface can restore normal print quality. Such cleaning should be done with caution, as the drum surface is highly sensitive.

Spots in Printouts

If the printout contains spots and streaks in different areas, it is a sure sign of a faulty transfer roller. Wiping the roller surface and carrying out several test printouts can somewhat resolve the issue. However, it is recommended to contact an expert printer technician to have it serviced for restoring normal printing.

How to Troubleshoot Imperfections in Photo or Monochrome Printouts

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Imperfections In Monochrome Printouts

The Windows Print Wizard utility in Windows 7 enables people to choose a group of photos, select a particular size, and print on a photo quality paper. If you are printing a square format picture from desktop, right-click on it and choose Print. This will reveal the wizard and then you have to choose the image size as 8½ x 11 to print the photo. If you see a white space on a side of the printout on the Print Preview, the image setting is correct for printing with the Windows utility.

If you choose a layout that is smaller than that to print an image, you would see an element of cropping on the print preview. However, if the photo is jumbled inappropriately due to extensive cropping, crosscheck the image size setting in the Windows Print Wizard prior to printing. If you still face more cropped spaces on a print preview despite using the size as 8½ x 11, try updating the printer driver.

 Printer Driver Is Unavailable

Common Printer Issues

For that, go to the printer the manufacturer website, find the right driver of your printer model and download it. Once installation of the up-to-date printer driver is complete in Windows 7, restart the PC to retry printing the photo. Upon system reboot, it is recommended to test print with monochrome ink on a standard paper. If the quality is below par, maybe it is the misalignment or clogging of the printhead that causes lines on a printed page. In that case, it is best to look into the user manual of the printer for details on how to fix the printhead issues.

If the printouts turn out with horizontal lines or white spots, try cleaning the printhead with Windows utilities. Click on the Start menu and open Devices and Printers. Right-click on the printer driver and choose Printer Properties. In the next window that pops up, select Preferences option under the General heading, and select Features in the pop-up that follows. Then click on Printer Services button, navigate to Device Services section in the next pop-up, and choose Clean the Printheads several times.

Make it a point to print a trial page in between cleaning in order to prevent nozzle damage. Turn off the printer overnight and run the printhead cleaning process again.

Troubleshooting Parallel Printer Connectivity Problems in Windows 7

Printer Problems In Windows

Parallel Printer Connectivity

USB has become the go-to port for printer connectivity since the 2000’s, and hence, many of the relatively new computers do not feature parallel ports. If you are having an older laser printer or a dot-matrix printer with a 25-pin parallel port, you have to use USB to parallel adapter cable to connect it to the Windows PC. If you face any connectivity problems with the said adapter, you may need to troubleshoot it.

Crosscheck a Loose Connection

First, turn off the computer and the printer. After that, ensure that there are no loose connections between the adapter cable’s parallel end and the printer, or its USB end and the computer’s USB port. If the connections are secure, turn on both the printer and the system. Once Windows 7 boots up fully, try printing a file to see if you can print.

If not, reinstall the USB to parallel adapter cable driver in Windows PC. To uninstall it, click Start, right-click on Computer, and select Properties. In the subsequent System Properties window, click Device Manager. In the next window, click Ports, right-click on the adapter device name, and click Properties.

Printer Problems In Windows

Crosscheck A Loose Connection

In the next window, click on the Driver tab and select Uninstall. Click OK if Windows sends a prompt to Confirm Device Uninstall. Upon confirmation, Windows 7 uninstalls the USB to parallel adapter’s driver and removes it from the list of devices under Device Manager.

Reinstall the Adapter Driver

In order to reinstall the device driver, insert its CD into the PC’s disk drive. Wait for a while for the setup or installation wizard to pop up on screen, and once the optical drive detects the CD, click on the Setup or Install button. Follow the instructions shown on the setup wizard to complete reinstalling the said driver in the computer. If the OS prompts you to Restart the PC upon reinstallation, perform a reboot. Now try printing a document to see if the problems are resolved.

If you still experience any connectivity problems on a laser printer or a dot matrix, contact printer tech professionals for further assistance. Note that if your office setup relies on heavy printing requirements from time to time on a printer that relies on a parallel interface, you will need to get the issue fixed as soon as possible so as to ensure further longevity.

How to Fix LAN Printer Connectivity Errors in Windows

Printer Problems In Windows

LAN Printer Connectivity

If you are unable to take printouts on a network printer or a connected printer using Ethernet cables, try the two troubleshooting steps at the bottom to resume productive printing. First, eliminate the probability of two causes as explained.

When a Printer is Frozen, Not Connected, or Off

Crosscheck if the printer is on and a green light at its back denote an active network connection. If a printer is shared in the local network through physical connection cables with another PC, the Windows server system should be at login screen and active in the first place. In case it stays non-responsive or frozen, restart the printer in order to turn it active on the network.

The PC not Connected to LAN

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Enable Network Discovery

Only if the computer is connected to the LAN network, it will show up in Add Printer wizard under Devices and Printers. If you are trying to print from an office PC, verify it is connected to LAN by examining the cable connections between the PC and the printer’s Ethernet port. If you are trying to print from a remote network, ensure a VPN connection is established between a remote PC and the server system.

Enable Network Discovery

This network setting in Windows that influences if the server PC can find other systems or if other PCs or devices inside a LAN network can find the server PC. If Network Discovery is disabled, though, a remote user may not be able to find the printers available in the network. To enable it in Windows, click Start on desktop, and enter Network and Sharing Center to open it. Once its window opens in Control Panel, click on Change Advanced Sharing Settings to the top left side and expand Home or Work (Current Profile). Under the network profile heading, select Turn on Network Discovery and click on Save Changes if Windows prompts.

Same way, File and Printer Sharing shall be enabled as well on the printer server in order for other PCs to access the printer drivers installed on the server. For that, Turn on File and Printer Sharing under Network and Sharing Center and click on Save Changes upon prompt. If the feature is not enabled, nobody else can connect or view to the printers in the server including LAN printers.

Tips for When your Printer Won’t Print

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Choosing Right Printer

Printers are one of the boons we have received from technology. These things can print anything from your e-tickets, to multiple page project reports. When a printer works, it is great; but sometimes, problems can come up in the way it operates. Following are some tips on how to fix a printer that wont print the way it’s supposed to.

Sometimes, the problem boils down to overuse or underuse. If you don’t use your printer frequently enough, there can be the issue of dried up ink blocking the nozzles. Overuse, on the other hand, can lead to small things like paper clips falling in and causing paper jams.

Choosing the Right Printer

It may sometimes happen that your printer is not printing because you have a software that has ‘virtual printer’ set as default. Therefore, when you hit Print, the thing you wish to appear on paper gets saved as a file instead.

To see if this is the case, go to the Start menu and choose Control Panel. From there, go to Devices and Printers, and find and right-click on the right printer to set it as default. Furthermore, check if the status of the printer is set to Ready, because if not, then that could be a problem as well.

After this, make sure that the right printer is chosen inside the program that you are printing from. This option will be available after you give the print command.

To troubleshoot, you can use the printing troubleshooter provided by Microsoft. There, hit the Fix It button, then download and run the program. After that, follow the steps outlined in the wizard. To troubleshoot from the Control Panel, go to Devices and Printers, then right click on the printer, and hit Troubleshoot.

Printing From your Phone or Tablet

Printing Troubleshooter

Common Printer Issues

If you are printing from your iOS device, the printer should have Wi-Fi and AirPrint support. Note that there are still many printers in the market, which don’t have the latter option.

If you are printing from your Mac, HandyPrint is a great option to turn the printer into an AirPrint printer. Another app for printing out of wireless printers directly is Printer Pro.

For printing from an Android phone or tablet to a printer connected to a PC, install Cloud Print on the device from the Google Play Store. Open Chrome on the PC, go to Advanced Settings, and choose Manage. After this, add the printer attached to the PC. Keep the PC and the printer on, and you will be able to print from the Android device.

How to Troubleshoot Issues with Printing a Web Page on Firefox

Printer problems in Windows

Printing Web Page On Firefox

If a web page prints incorrectly on Mozilla Firefox, you might need to make certain changes in the browser’s page settings. To do that, open Firefox, click on the three horizontal lines to the right corner, and choose Print in the next drop-down list. The Print Preview would pop up subsequently. In that window, ensure that Scale is configured as Shrink to Fit and that orientation is set as Portrait mode. After that, click on Page Setup and wait for its window to appear on screen. Once it pops up, click on the tab titled Margins & Header/Footer. In that section, ensure the margins are configured correctly; the default Firefox page margins are 0.5 inch or 12.7 mm.

Click OK in order to close the Page Setup window and return to Print Preview. Click Print again on Firefox, and ensure that the right printer name is shown on its respective field. Moreover, ensure that the setting is not Print to File, which will give you a digital copy of the to-be-printed web page. If the changes to the Firefox settings fails to resolve the printing issues, follow the below steps for advanced troubleshooting.

Find the Root Cause of the Printing Issue

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Common Printer Issues

You need to ensure that if the inability to print the web page occurs only on Firefox, and figure out whether it is something wrong with the printer or the web page that you are trying to print. To know the latter, try taking a printout of the same page on a different web browser like Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. If the web page prints correctly on another browser, you can strike out the possibility that the issue happened due to any printer error or web page issue.

If you can print the web page without running into any errors, you will have to reset the printer settings on Mozilla Firefox. To do that, key in about:config in the address bar of the browser and hit Enter key. Then, a warning reading, “This Might Void your Warranty!” may appear on the screen. To proceed ignoring that onto the about:config page, click on “I Accept the Risk! Then, enter print_printer in the field titled Search. Right-click on the setting and choose Reset. After that, click the Firefox menu button denoted by three horizontal lines and click Exit.

Now start a new browsing session on Mozilla Firefox, try to take a print out of the same page that showed the problem, and see if the issue is resolved.

How to Fix Printer Connectivity Errors on Mac

Printer Driver Is Unavailable

Printer Connectivity Errors

When a printer on Mac shows offline, despite the printer staying online on the network or connected to the PC, you need to find out why the printer is unavailable on Mac OS. Of course, once you reestablish a connection with the PC and verify the driver software is not corruptly installed, you can resume productive network printing.

While you try to get the printer online on Mac, it is best to start with basic troubleshoots and see if the printer comes back to the network following each fix as listed below. If the printer stays offline despite basic troubleshooting, you should reset the printer and add it to the network again.

First Basic Troubleshoots

Ensure that the cable connections are safe between the printer and the computer or the network router, based on the printer connectivity method you use in your office setup. Make sure that the cables are not loosened and that the printer stays powered on just in case. Further, you should check the tray of the printer is devoid of paper jams.

In addition, ensure the tray has sufficient paper to print and that the paper is positioned in the printing direction. In case you see Low Ink error on the device, replace the empty cartridge of the printer.

Update Printer Driver

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Update Printer Driver

This works similarly as on Windows. To update the printer driver on Mac, go to Software Update in order to install Mac updates through Apple’s official website. If the OS is up-to-date, click on the Apple logo and choose Restart. Once the system reboots, click System Preferences icon through the menu and choose Print & Scan option. Double-click on the printer in the list of printers that appears if a yellow light pops up next to its name. Then, click Resume.

Reset the Printer

Click System Preferences icon on the Dock or access it via the Apple menu. Choose Print & Scan subsequently. Press down Ctrl key and right click at the printer in the list. Chose Reset Printing System. To add the printer again, click the plus icon and choose the printer if it pops up; if you do not see the printer listed automatically, click on Add Printer or Scanner to proceed. Choose the printer from next list and click Add.

How to Ensure Printer USB Cable Works Fine

How To Fix A Printer That Wont Print

Examine Physical Damages

When you face any printing issues unexpectedly, even a faulty USB cable of the printer may be to blame. If the printer starts and then stops if you move the USB cable, it is likely to cause a disruption in printing. However, wait before buying a replacement for the existing USB cable of the printer and confirm if it has operational faults following the below steps.

Examine Physical Damages

Switch off the printer and detach the connected cable from the USB ports. Check if the USB cable has damages such as cuts or crimps. Additionally, check if the USB connector’s point that is attached to the rest of the cable is safe. Replace it only if damages exist.

Measure its Length

If the USB cable of the printer is over 6 feet in terms of length, then it is likely the cable is a faulty one. If you face printing pauses, measure how long is the printer’s USB cable and replace it with a shorter one only if need be.

Confirm Cleanliness

Check if the cable connectors at both ends have accumulated dust or dirt alongside computer’s USB port and that of the printer too. If so, clear the connectors and ports using a handheld compressed air duster.

Ensure Connection Is Right

Printer Problems In Windows

Common Printer Issues

It is advised to connect the printer to the PC without using a USB hub or any other intermediate device. Make sure that both ends of the USB cable are firmly inserted into the computer’s USB ports. Switch on the printer and retry taking a printout. If that fails to resolve printer connection problems, try changing the USB port on the computer.

Reverse the USB Port

Connect the printer’s cable to another computer or a different printer to the PC using the same cable in order to eliminate connection as the underlying cause or a faulty USB cable. If it works fine, be sure it is not the cable’s fault.

If so, switch off both the computer and the printer. Detach all of the USB peripheral devices such as USB mouse and keyboard. Reboot the PC and turn the printer back on to see if Windows detects the new hardware. Check for Safely Remove Hardware icon in the notification bar below the desktop. If it exists, printing disruption is unlikely to be caused by connectors or faulty USB cable.

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