Eventually, our printer will stop printing. This can be quite frustrating when we are in hurry to print our boarding pass for our Caribbean cruise. In this case, we should already know basic printer troubleshooting methods. Several things about printers can be fixed easily. We can quickly check them, but others can be much more complicated. Instead of getting a hammer and smashing our printer to let out our frustration, here are things that we should do.
- Make sure the printer is properly powered: Before it can print something, printers should be properly powered on. It means that power-on light is already lighted. If it is not, we should make sure that all cables are properly plugged. We should also check the paper tray and hopper, to make sure that we have enough supply of fresh paper,
- Make sure we use the correct default printer: Our computer designates default printer for printing task. In Microsoft Windows, we could go to File > Print. In the drop down menu, we should make sure that the default printing device has been chosen. This could happen when someone borrowed our computer to print with their compact, portable printer. After the installed the driver, they might change the default printer. In a hurry, they may forget to re-designate our printer as default. If we still can’t print after verifying the default printer status, it is a good idea to try to print with other printers. This will allow us to identify whether the problem is related to software or hardware issues.
- Verify that document printing queue isn’t stopped: The printing task will stop if the printing queue stops. In this case, we should make sure that the document can be printed smoothly one at a time. It’s similar to guiding a herd of cows to cross a narrow path on a stream. If the first cow refuses to cross, the whole traffic will be blocked. It is quite possible that we previously stopped a printing task. It means that subsequent printing tasks are postponed. The queue could also stops when there’s no paper on the printer. After we add fresh supply of paper, we need to resume the printing task. In some cases, stalled printing tasks need to be removed to allow other printing tasks in queue to proceed. In Windows 7 we could clock Start button and open Device and Printers. The next step is to choose the type of printer and by right clicking it, we could choose “see what’s printing”. This will open up the printing queue and we should be able to remove any blockage. It is also possible that the printer was configured to work offline and this will prevent things for being printer. The printer is disabled or set offline if its icon is grey. We should be able to find that Printer menu in the See What’s Printing windows. We could uncheck “Use Printer Offline” item.