What Is Printer?
A printer is an external hardware output device that takes the electronic data stored on a computer or other device and generates a hard copy of it. For example, if you created a report on your computer you could print several copies to hand out.
Why Isn't Printer Printing?
Here’s what we’ll focus if we face printer issues:
- Basic problems
- Paper jams
- Ink and toner issues
- Wired and wireless network printing issues
- USB printing problems
- Software upgrades and printer driver problems
Check the Basic Problems
It’s amazing how many times the basics are often overlooked. Even when something such as the power going out occurs. Remember, it’s possible to keep on working on your laptop, and forget the obvious and wonder why the printer isn’t showing up on your laptop.
- Is the printer turned on?
- Is it connected to the computer?
- Does it have paper and toner?
- Does it have power? (Check the power strip if you’re using one. Maybe it’s off or got fried in a power surge).
Printer Stops Working Always Causes of Paper Jams
No matter how easy clearing paper jams are supposed to be, they never are. And that’s often a leading cause of future paper jams.
Often when pulling out the wadded-up piece of pulp that was once a sheet of paper, a small piece will always get torn off and remain in the paper path, waiting for the next sheet of paper to come by, and cause the next jam.
- When clearing jams, be very careful and make sure every little bit of the jammed sheet is accounted for.
- If you still have occasional jams, you can try a good cleaning using special paper that is designed to clean the rollers, platens, and other objects in the paper path. You can find these cleaning sheets at most office supply stores.
Ink or Toner Issues in Your Printer
Ink and toner problems can include streaking and fading (which usually indicate a dirty print head) or toner in a laser printer that is running low.
- For inkjet printers, chances are the print head needs a good cleaning. The printer utility app that came with your printer includes a cleaning option. There are usually two; a light clean and a heavy clean. Start with the light clean, since cleaning uses a good deal of ink. If that doesn’t fix the issue, try the heavy clean option.
- For laser-based printers, the likely cause is low toner, indicating it’s time to change the toner. If you don’t have a toner cartridge handy, you can extend the life of the current cartridge by removing the toner from the printer, and slowly tipping the cartridge from side to side. Be sure the cartridge is closed when you do this. With any luck, this will redistribute the toner within the cartridge and provide you with enough prints to give you time to find and purchase a replacement cartridge.
Wired and wireless network printing issues
A wired networked printer was once the norm. Now, wireless printers from HP, Epson, Brother, and many other manufacturers are common. While they provide an easy way to share a printer with multiple devices, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone, they also introduce another level of troubleshooting difficulty when they stop printing.
If you’re setting up a wireless printer and having problems getting the printer to print, try to network the printer. If the printer worked in the past, you may want to try these tips:
Wired or wireless network printers rely on your home network, which consists of a few different components: the printer, a computer, a router, a wireless access point, and a modem to connect to the Internet. Your network may have additional items or combine some of the items together. No matter how your network is configured, it all interacts, which means that if one device gets hung up, it can affect all the others. Try restarting all the devices to get the network humming again. Do not RESET a device to factory defaults, a common option, but simply restart. Once your network comes back up, try the printer again.
Check network printer connectivity:
Try printing a configuration/test sheet directly from the printer. With network printers, this will usually include information about how the printer is connected to the network, including its IP address, a URL for accessing the administrative page, the type of network connection, plus additional information. If needed, check the printer manual for details about how to perform the local test print. Once the test sheet is printed, confirm that the printer is connected to your network by checking the IP address; it should be similar to the rest of the addresses on your network. If you see an IP address starting with 169, it’s an indication that the printer couldn’t connect to your network and is using a self-assigned IP address.You can fix self-assigned IP addresses using the guide: DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration.
Reconfigure the printer’s network settings:
If you still can’t get the printer connected to your network, you can try starting fresh. Turn the printer off, disconnect it from your network, and then reinstall the printer following the original instructions in its manual. Be sure to keep a record of any printer or network passwords that may need to be created.
Reinstall or reconfigure any special network drivers for your printer:
Once you have the printer able to communicate over the network, you may need to install or configure specialty network drivers for the printer, such as AirPrint for iOS devices or Cloud Print for Android devices.
USB printing problems
If you have a printer hooked up to your company laptop via a USB cable but are unable to print, there are several potential solutions. Not all printer issues like these are related to connection problems, so before proceeding, try printing from multiple applications on your laptop to verify that the problem is related to the printer connection rather than to the program from which you’re trying to print.
When it comes to diagnosing and fixing printers, often the simplest solutions are the most effective. Start by verifying that your USB cable is securely connected both to your laptop and your printer. Verify that the printer is turned on and that its status lights indicate that it is ready to print. Once the printer is turned on and the cable is connected, Windows 8 should display a message and automatically recognize and install your printer. If this does not happen, the printer may already be installed.
To check whether the laptop has already installed the printer, swipe to the right edge of your screen and click “Search.” Enter “Devices” in the Search box, click “Settings,” and then click “Devices.” Your printer should appear in the list on the right side of the screen. If it doesn’t, click “Add Device” and choose your printer on the list to install it.
Reboot and Update Windows
You can remedy many printing problems in Windows 8 by downloading available updates for the operating system. Move your cursor to the top-right corner of your screen, click “Settings,” and then enter “Windows Update” in the Search box. Click “Check for Updates,” accept all updates, and then reboot your computer again. When the laptop has fully rebooted, connect your printer’s USB cable and see if you can print.
Install Printer Software
Some printer manufacturers require you to install manufacturer-specific print software before their printers will function as they should. If you have not yet installed this software, insert the CD or DVD that came with your printer, and then proceed with the automated prompts to install the software. If your laptop does not have an optical drive, download the software from the printer manufacturer’s website. When the download is complete, open the downloaded software file and proceed through the prompts to install the software.
Windows 8 has a dedicated device troubleshooter designed to help diagnose and fix printing issues. To launch the tool, swipe to the right edge of your screen, click “Settings,” and then click “Find or fix problems.” Click “Use a Printer” under the “Hardware and Sound” header, and then proceed through the automated prompts to have Windows diagnose any printer problems.
How to Upgrade Your Printer Software and Firmware
What is Firmware?
Printer firmware has the OS, a core software that controls the primary hardware functions of the printer. Other printer software stacks up over firmware. As such, the firmware has stored in the primary logic programmable memory of the printer. In layman terms, the firmware is the go-between the printer driver and the hardware itself.
Printer software and firmware need regular upgrades or changes has it ages. Manufacturers release new versions systematically to counter newly-found issues. These releases range from bug fixes to printer enhancements and everything in between. If your printer supports it, you can upgrade your software or firmware to not only add new features or enhance printer performance or fix existing firmware or hardware bugs.
Wondering what you need to know before you upgrade? For starters, you need to ask yourself if upgrade is best for you. There are two schools of thought in this respect. The first believes that if it isn’t broken, there is no need for a fix. Truth be told, printers work fine without these upgrades or changes. But some printers experience problems right from the outset. A firmware update could be your best shot at solving these issues. Of course, the other group of pundits believe that upgrades are supposed to be executed as soon as they are available.
Upgrading Printer Software and Firmware:
Apart from firmware, there has a raft of other software available for your printer in the manufacturer’s website. Check which versions are available for download. Knowing the kind of software you need is the first step in the right direction.
All control cards for each component are included in the update file. So, it’s best to know which version you are at. Firmware version information is detailed in the configuration sheet of the printer. The sheet can be printed out from the info menu. It’s found under configuration menus in a typical printer. Check under Device Information tab. HP printers, for instance, don version numbers like 20090812 09. 008. 01. What does it mean? The first part is software release date while the second part is the version. Take down the number.
With the information, search manufacturer’s website for the upgrade file. There are different ways to change/update the printer. On one side, you can download the file to your PC or laptop then send it over the USB port when the machine is in the “ready mode.” Some manufacturers provide robust UI that will walk you through the upgrading process.
The other way is ideal for computers that are attached to an active internet connection. Just connect your printer to manufacturer’s server and the rest takes care of itself. This way, the upgrade file has sent over FTP channels.
When the change or upgrade in done, you need to check the printer for any errors. The printer should print without any glitch if the upgrade is successful; otherwise, you might need to revert it to the previous software of firmware.
Common Printer Driver problems:
If your printer driver develops a problem, you may not be able to print a document or some of your printers features may not work as desired.
Below are two common printer driver error messages:
- Error 1 – Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Meaning – The above error usually signifies that the installed printer driver is an older version.
Error 2 – Spoolsv.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Meaning – The above error usually occurs when the installed printer driver is not compatible with your Windows operating system.
What can I do to fix Printer Driver problems?
Install the latest Printer Driver using a driver management tool
You can easily resolve printer driver problems using a reliable driver update tool such as DriverDownloader (software approved and certified by AppEsteem).
Install and open DriverDownloader, and click the SCAN button. The software will automatically identify your printer, locate the latest Printer Driver for your printer in its database, and install this Printer Driver.
Although you can usually install the latest driver manually, the process can be time consuming, depending on the driver you are looking for. The steps given below are the ones you need to follow to manually install a Printer Driver:
Install the latest Driver from the Printers folder
If the latest driver is stored on your Windows computer, perform the following steps to install it:
- Open Control Panel
- Click Hardware and Sound
- Click Printers
- Right-click the printer whose driver you need to install, and then select Run as administrator
- Click Properties
- Then Advanced
- Click the New Driver tab, and then follow the onscreen instructions to install the driver
Download and install the latest printer driver from the manufacturer:
Visit the printer manufacturer’s website, locate the latest driver for your printer, and then download it. Install the driver by following the instructions given on the manufacturer’s website.