If your local (meaning not-wireless) printer is not printing there are a few things you can check before calling a tech. These address some common issues and can be performed by most people with basic computer skills. They are ordered with the simpler troubleshooting measures at the top and they get progressively harder as they go down so start from the top and work down. Stop when your are able to print or you are not comfortable with the next step.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS PLUGGED IN AND POWERED ON – Printer cables are sometimes inadvertently pulled out.
- All printers should have a power cable plugged into the printer and the wall. You will see that there are no lights on the printer if it is not plugged in.
- All modern printers have a USB cable plugged in to the computer and the printer.
- If the power and the USB cable are both plugged in as they should be then temporarily unplug the USB cable from the computer. Wait 1 minute and plug it back in. Your printer may be detected and start working.
RESTART EVERYTHING – This is for when the printer appears to not be connected to the computer, is off-line or there are error messages on the computer or printer display.
- Turn off the printer and unplug it from the wall and computer.
- Reboot the computer while the printer is still off.
- After the computer is back up plug the printer back into the computer and the wall.
- Turn the printer back on and check for obvious errors (red lights, etc.).
- Try to print something.
CONFIRM OR SET THE PRINTER TO BE THE DEFAULT PRINTER – for one reason or another a printer can lose the default setting. If this is the case it might appear that everything is working but nothing prints. How to confirm this depends on the operating system but all Windows computers have similar settings.
- Navigate to the Control Panel.
- Find and open ‘Devices and Printers’.
- Look at the printers listed – the default printer will have a check mark in the lower left corner.
- If the wrong printer has the checkmark then right-click on the printer you normally print to and select ‘Set as default printer’.
UP FOR A CHALLENGE? – You can restart the spooler service if you know your printer is just queuing up your print jobs and not printing them. There is not much concern with this breaking things. The probable worst case is that you will need to reboot and the spooler service will be as it was but if you do not feel comfortable with this don’t do it.
- Bring up a command prompt with administrative privileges.
- Windows 8 – On the Start screen, start typing “command prompt”. The Search panel displays on the right side of the screen and results of the search display as you type. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator from the popup menu. (Windows 8 directions courtesy of howtogeek.com).
- Windows 7 and Vista – Click Start, in the search window type ‘cmd’. Right-click on the ‘cmd.exe’ search result and choose ‘run as administrator’.
- Windows XP or before – stop and call Me :). Actually you can do this but the command prompt does not need to have administrative privileges. Click Start, Run and type cmd. Then press enter.
- In the command prompt type the following.
- “net stop spooler” – Wait for it to respond- ‘The Print Spooler service was stopped successfully’.
- Then type “net start spooler” and wait for it to respond – ‘The Print Spooler service was started successfully’.
- type “exit” to close the command prompt.
- Try to print something.
FEELING MORE DARING ? – You can delete the printer and let your computer re-detect it. This may be your last gasp before calling a tech. If it does not get detected then you may be calling someone. Definitely don’t do this if you are not very comfortable with it !
- While you are (still) in ‘Devices and Printers’ – right-click on the failing printer and choose ‘Remove device’.
- Close all programs and reboot.
- When your computer reboots – if the printer is plugged in properly it should be detected and automatically re-installed.
- When the re-install completes (a couple of minutes at most) try to print something.
Good Luck and if these tips don’t work then give us a call at 972-514-7727 or reply below.