10 Most Common Printer Problems and How to Fix Them.Despite the promise of a paperless future, there’s a good chance you’ll still need to print something from time to time. While today’s printers are better than those from the 90s or 2000s, they still don’t seem as smart or reliable as other modern devices. Below are some of the most common printer problems you may encounter, and most of them can be fixed without too much trouble.
1. The Printer Is Offline
At some point, you will press the print button and receive a message that the printer is unavailable or not connected. Assuming the printer was already set up and working, there are a few things you can try:
- Make sure the printer is turned on and shows that it is ready without any errors.
- Make sure the connection (USB, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) is working.
- If possible, try printing from another computer to determine whether the problem is with the computer or the printer.
- Restart the printer and the device you are trying to print from.
- Uninstall and then reinstall the software and printer drivers.
In most cases, rebooting all devices involved in the print request will resolve the issue.
2. Wi-Fi Printing Is Sloooow
Shared Wi-Fi printers are quite popular these days as it means you only need one printer in your household. However, if there are problems with the Wi-Fi signal, you may encounter a situation where your Wi-Fi printer takes a long time to start working, or even pauses in the middle of printing, waiting for the buffer to refill.Problems with a printer’s Wi-Fi signal are no different than problems with any other device, so check out 10 ways to strengthen a weak Wi-Fisignal for advice. You should also check out the Troubleshooting Wi-Fi (Wireless) Printers section.
3. “Ghost” Paper Jams
“Ghost jamming”, unfortunately, is not some kind of creepy music genre. Instead, it occurs when the printer reports that it has a paper jam, but upon investigation, you are unable to locate it.While a technician can fix some causes of jams, the most common cause is tiny pieces of paper or other debris stuck between the rollers.Open the printer according to the manual and make sure there is nothing in the print rolls that you might have missed. If possible, try gently spinning the paper rollers to see if they move freely and if anything is falling out.Turn the printer off and on again, or see if a factory reset helps if the printer has this feature. A standard “printer reset” usually involves unplugging the power cord for 30 seconds and plugging it back in.
4. Misaligned or Weird-looking Text
This is a problem specific to inkjet printers. Many modern inkjet printers do not have permanent print heads. Instead, every time you install new cartridges, you also replace the printheads. While this means you always start with clean nozzles, it also means you need to calibrate your printheads.Check the printer utility for head alignment functionality. Some printers can do this automatically, while others print the chart and then ask you to choose which text alignment setting looks best. Even if you did the alignment when you first installed your current cartridges, they may shift over time, so it’s worth a try.
5. The Printer Says New Cartridges Are Empty
When you install new cartridges in the printer, it usually automatically detects that you have done so and resets the ink counter. This is especially true if you install new cartridges using the printer utility software. Different printers may have different ways of measuring ink usage or determining ink levels, but if your printer suddenly reports that its tanks are empty when you know they are not, start by unplugging the power cord, wait 30 seconds, and then turn off the printer will turn on again.Alternatively, check your printer’s utility software to make sure there is no manual control.
6.Prints Are Streaky, Wet, or Just Ugly
Unless you are using third-party ink cartridges and printheads, streaking or wet printouts are usually a sign that you are using paper that is not suitable for the print mode you have chosen. For example, if the printer thinks you’re using photo paper, but you have regular old copy paper in the tray, it will use the wrong amount of ink and just create a mess.The answer, of course, is to make sure the paper type and print settings match!
7. Print Colors Look Different Than On-Screen
The science of color is complex, and getting your print to look the way it does when previewed on screen is a lot harder than you think. Professional print publishers use specially calibrated, color-accurate screens that are set to match the same color space as their printers. This ensures that what the designer sees on screen looks the same as the final print.Getting a color print that matches the screen preview is not a realistic goal for most home users. However, you can try to get a closer match. First, try previewing your work on a factory-calibrated device or screen. It is desirable that the display reproduces about 99% of the sRGB color space. You can also perform a manual calibration to further fine-tune the screen or return it to the exact factory settings.
8. When You Print, Nothing Happens or a PDF Save Dialog Opens
This may catch a lot of people off guard, but receiving a digital PDF of your printout instead of a paper copy is for a stupid reason, and it’s an easy fix.It’s all about the existence of virtual printers. They look like a real printer to your operating system. Windows has a virtual printer called “Microsoft Print to PDF” and there is a good chance that you have sent a print request to this printer instead of the real one.Double check that you have selected the correct printer in the print preview window. It could be that your real printer went offline for some reason and the next available “printer” was moved to the front of the queue, which happened to be the virtual one.
9. Print Quality Isn’t What You Expected
If your print looks more like Ecce Mono than Ecce Homo, the most likely reason is that the print quality settings were changed by the last person who used the printer, and you forgot to check them before printing.
10. Constant Paper Jams
If you feel like your paper jams every second or third page, the main culprit is the paper you’re using. If you use poor quality paper, the wrong thickness, or the wrong texture, you increase the likelihood of problems.Double-check that the quality and type of paper you are using matches the printer manufacturer.Do not load too much paper into the input tray; Make sure the sheets of paper are neatly aligned before placing them in the tray. You can also leaf through the stack of paper before putting it down to make sure none of the pages are stuck together.
10 Most Common Printer Problems and How to Fix Them
10 Most Common Printer Problems and How to Fix Them