Why Isn’t My Printer Working? 5 Steps to Troubleshoot a Printer

Printer problems seem to be pretty common and are so frustrating to deal with. And, of course, it always breaks when you need to print something important. We’ve been there! Most of the time, printer problems can be fixed with a few simple steps. We’ll go over how to troubleshoot a printer in this article and give you some tips on how to make your printer last as long as possible.

Common Printer Problems

Printers can experience problems fairly frequently. The good news is it rarely means you need a new printer! Let’s first talk about a few common printer problems we see.

Paper jams.

Although tempting, you shouldn’t try to rip the paper out of the printer when it jams. It could end up damaging the printer. The printer’s manual should provide some guidance for fixing the issue relative to your specific printer. It’s usually caused by misaligned paper, so make sure to align it before loading the paper into the tray.

Nothing is printing.

The first step is to make sure you selected the right printer on your computer! Although obvious, you’d be surprised how often this happens! 

Assuming you’ve selected the correct printer, check to make sure the paper is loaded into the tray. Next, ensure your printer is connected to WiFi. Sometimes it can get disconnected, so your pages don’t get sent to the printer.

Poor print quality.

Have you ever had smudging, fading, or poor image quality when printing? It could be related to the printer’s settings or damage to the ink cartridge. In settings, make sure the paper loaded into the tray is the same as the paper type selected in your settings. Smudging is usually cleared by printing several pages in black and white.

how to fix a printer

Printer Troubleshooting 

Alright, now that we’ve covered a few common problems (maybe you’re even having one right now!), let’s talk about troubleshooting. There are many ways to troubleshoot your device. These five steps should give you a few things to try before contacting an expert. We hope they solve the problem!

1. Restart your printer.

You know the first question any troubleshooter asks: “Have you turned it off and back on?” There’s a reason that’s the first step! This fixes so many problems. You should also unplug the printer for about 30 seconds to ensure the device is fully shut down. 

2. Check your wireless connection or cables.

If you have a wired printer, check that the cables are connected properly to your PC and printer. For wireless printers, make sure the printer’s wireless option is enabled. You can run a connectivity test to confirm it’s set up correctly. This article can help if your printer is having issues connecting to your WiFi network.

3. Uninstall and reinstall your printer.

The next step is to remove and reinstall your printer from your laptop or desktop. There may be an unknown connectivity issue causing your printer problems. 

Here are the steps to uninstall and reinstall for Windows computers:

  • Uninstall: Start > Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners > Find the printer > Remove device
  • Reinstall: Start > Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners > Add a Printer or Scanner > Choose your printer > Add Device

These are the steps for Macs:

  • Uninstall: Apple menu > System Settings > Printers and Scanners > Control-click the printer > Remove the printer
  • Reinstall: Apple menu > System Settings > Printers and Scanners > Add Printer, Scanner, or Fax > select your printer > Add

tips to fix a printer

4. Install the newest printer driver.

The printer driver is software on a computer that converts the data you want to be printed into a format the printer can understand. It’s important to keep it up to date to avoid printer problems.

5. Reset the print spooler.

The print spooler manages the printing process. It could be full of previous files that are taking up necessary space. You can clear it with these steps:

  • Start > Type Services > Find “Printer Spooler” in list > right click > Restart

Here are the steps for Apple devices:

  • Apple menu > System Settings > Printers and Scanners > Control-Click the printer > Reset Printing System

If your printer still isn’t working after going through these steps, give us a call. We’re experts in repairing and fixing problems on all your home office devices. We can either come to your home or office or attempt to repair it virtually. The choice is yours! We’ll troubleshoot the printer and get it up and running in no time.

About Tindall Tech

At Tindall Tech, we provide IT consulting, maintenance, and repair to clients nationwide. We provide onsite (in-person) support in Kansas City, Raymore, Lees Summit, Belton, Raytown, and surrounding areas. We’re not just here to fix your tech problems – we want to help you solve your tech problems! We have experienced IT professionals with a history of success in Healthcare IT and Corporate America. We now specialize in serving Small Businesses looking for dependable, affordable, effective, and knowledgeable IT services. You can expect to receive quality service from our dedicated and talented team of IT experts.

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