I’m having some problems with my printer, but I’m just not exactly sure what’s causing it. What can I do to troubleshoot and figure it out?

With everything computer related, there’s always a series of things you can do to troubleshoot your problems and the printer is no exception. Your problem could be more in depth and need some extra work or it could be something as simple as making sure it’s hooked up correctly. Here are some things you can experiment with to try and figure out why your printer is on the fritz.

1.) First of all, read through the manual that came with your printer. If you don’t take the time to at least skim through it, you may be missing out on some important information. You can gather up some symptoms of what your printer is doing and look for answers in the manual. You never know what you may find in there.

2.) If you’re still having problems, the next thing you may want to do is check the manufacturer’s Web site for some help. They may have a common problems or a FAQ section that might be just what you’re looking for. The Web site address should be in your manual as well.

3.) Okay, now for the simple tests. Check to make sure your printer is plugged in to a live outlet. (Also, check to see if it’s plugged into a plug that is operated by your light switch. If it is, you may want to change it, because your light will always have to be on when you’re using your printer. This happens quite often actually). Also, if you have your printer plugged into a surge protector, make sure that is on.

4.) Another quick thing to check is that your printer is actually turned on once it is plugged in. If you’re receiving a “Printer Not Found” error, make sure it’s turned on and there are no error lights. If there are error lights, you can then refer back to your manual to get that problem solved. This is obviously the easiest of the problems.

5.) If you haven’t found the solution to your problem yet, the next thing you need to check is if your printer is online or not. Most printers have LED lights that go along with the button for the online status. If your printer is not connected to the correct cable between the computer and itself, it cannot communicate to the rest of the system to get the print job done.

6.) Next, check to make sure you have enough ink left to complete an actual job. You should check both the color cartridge and the black one to make sure they are full enough. You can also check to see if the ribbon on them is installed correctly. If you run into any problems regarding the cartridges, look in your manual for help. Also, make sure your print heads are clean. Read this tip for some information on that.

7.) The next troubleshooting step deals with the actual paper in your printer. Do you have paper installed in the printer and is it in there correctly? Make sure you have enough in there as well, because sometimes one or two sheets isn’t enough and the printer has a hard time recognizing the paper. Also, check for a paper jam. This is a pretty common problem with printers. Paper can get jammed or wedged up in the printer, causing it to malfunction. Even a small rip or tear can cause a jam, so be sure to look for little pieces of paper as well.

8.) If you’re still having problems, you should next check on all the connections again. Make sure you have the correct cable that’s supposed to go with your type of printer, make sure the cable is in good condition, check to see if the cable is connected correctly to the printer port, etc. Also, ensure that nothing else is hooked up in the printer port’s spot. If there is, you’ll need to uninstall the device drivers for it to remove it from your system.

Okay, so there are some things you can look out for when you’re experiencing printer problems. When you think you’ve gotten things figured out, do a quick test print just to make sure everything is working properly again. If I didn’t cover a problem solver for you in this article, you may want to check with your manufacturer by phone to receive additional technical support.

~ Erin