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How to Change Inkjet Cartridges

From time to time, you will need to change the cartridges in an inkjet printer. Here are two methods of determining when you need to change the cartridges:

  • The automatic route: Most inkjet printers now on the market have onscreen alerts that appear whenever the ink level of the cartridge is low. Or, your printer might display the amount of ink remaining in a cartridge. (This trick is very valuable indeed, especially with a large print job looming.)

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  • The “Man, I can barely read this page!” method: If you have an older inkjet printer, you might not receive any warning about the ink levels in your cartridges — but when they’re empty, pardner, you’ll know.

After you know that you need to change your cartridges, however, the general procedure is the same for virtually every inkjet printer:

  1. Open the top of your printer.

    This step causes most inkjet printer models to politely center the carriage, to provide you access to the cartridges. Or there might be a button to press that centers the carriage.

  2. After you have access to the cartridges, you may be required to turn off your printer.

    Check your printer’s manual to see if you should switch off your printer before replacing the ink cartridges.

  3. Lift or turn the latches holding the ink cartridge in place.

    Most inkjet printers have at least two cartridges — one for black and one for color — so make sure that you’re working with the right cartridge before you remove it.

  4. Remove the used cartridge.

    At this point, you can opt to refill the cartridge or replace with a new one.

  5. Load the full cartridge, and fasten the latch to hold it down.

  6. Turn your printer back on, and close the lid.

Before you count the job done, print a short one-page document as a test — it’s always a good idea to run a test page to make sure that the cartridge swap went well!

Windows 8 offers a pretty comprehensive printer troubleshooting wizard as well — from the Charms bar, click Search, click the Settings button, and then type Printer into the Search box. Click the Find and Fix Printing Problems button in the Search results pane to start the printer troubleshooting wizard.

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