Printer Won’t Print
and other troubleshooting woes
It’s 2018, and we still can’t create a machine that replicates a digital file. Maybe it’s time to raise the white flag and start to work together with the printers of the world. I’m sure we can work this out.
Printers that fail to respond when you send them output data can prevent you from meeting company deadlines or achieving workday goals — not to mention the frustration they cause as you stop working and put on your troubleshooting hat. Just because your powered-up printer looks like it has a by-the-book data connection doesn’t mean everything’s happy in output land. Add some basic items to your diagnostics checklist and you can work your way to a resolution of your printing problem.
When it comes to data connections between printers and computers, looks can be deceiving. The cable you pulled from a desk drawer or supply cupboard to connect a new printer may be the same cable you meant to discard when it proved incapable of proper performance. The printer you plugged in to a USB hub on a system with too many peripherals to accommodate a direct connection may refuse to work that way. Even if your configuration seems to be set up correctly, substituting a new cable or reconnecting your printer to a port on your computer may solve the problem.
Many printers enter offline mode when they run out of paper, ink or toner. You may be able to check ink levels with the onscreen print manager you use to monitor output jobs and other printer functions, but the ultimate source of status information comes from the device’s front panel display. Look for a paper tray alert, blinking ink or low toner message, and replace the supplies as necessary. Even a full set of consumables can’t rule out a paper jam or misfeed, which will also take the device out of service until you correct the problem.
Your printer’s onscreen management software enables you to cancel queued output jobs and place the entire print function on hold. Those pauses persist until you cancel them explicitly. With your print queue in limbo, every project you print lands at the end of the list of pending jobs, none of which proceed to printing status. If you bring up the printer’s management software, you can check for and remove holds that prevent your hardware from responding. Additionally, take a look at the device’s front panel for signs that someone manually placed it in standby mode, and press the relevant key — labeled “Online,” “Go” or the equivalent — to put in back in service.
Print driver software manages the communication relationship between your printer and computer, making it possible for your applications to send document data for successful printing. If you’ve installed the wrong, or an outdated driver, or you’ve upgraded your operating system without giving your driver an equivalent update, the software that’s supposed to manage output may interfere with it instead. Even a driver that worked one day may stop working the next because of data corruption. Visit your printer manufacturer’s website for an updated driver download.