Printing Problems

Printing is one of the most common problems all computer users have. The best way to handle the problem is to start with the most common problems first, such as,

  • Is the printer plugged in/turned on?
  • Is the printer connected to the computer, correctly?
  • Is there paper in the printer?
  • Does the printer have ink?
  • Did I click the correct button in the program?
  • Did a Windows printer dialog come up, did I click “Print”?
  • Is the Printer configured correctly in the operating system?
  • Is there a paper jam?
  • Is there a problem with a previous print job?
  • If it is a network printer, is there a problem with the network or print server?
  • Is there enough ink in the cartridges or is the printer ribbon okay?
  • Is the printer cable firmly plugged into both printer and computer?
  • If there is a print switch, is it hooked up correctly and set to print to the proper printer?
  • Are there any other devices sharing the parallel port? There could be compatibility problems. Are these devices set up correctly? This is usually not an issue for USB printers.
  • Is the printer cable more than six feet long? Sometimes the signal to the printer degrades if the printer cable is too long.
  • Some printers require a bi-directional printer cable so they can communicate with the computer with messages about low ink, no paper, etc.
  • Is there a printer icon in the printer folder for this printer? Is it configured properly?
  • Are there any leftover print jobs in the print queue?
  • Is the program that you are trying to print from set up properly? Is it compatible with this printer?
  • Try printing a test document from a different program, such as Notepad or Wordpad.
  • If there is another printer cable available, try it, if it works, then there is a problem with the first cable.
  • If there is another printer available, see if you can print to it. This will ensure that, in general, printing works on this computer.
  • If there is another identical printer available, try it, if it works, there may be a problem with the original printer.
  • Check the manual for any printer settings that must be made at the printer.

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