Troubleshooting Your Windows Printer - dummies

Troubleshooting Your Windows Printer

By Andy Rathbone

When printing problems occur, you need to troubleshoot your printer. You can troubleshoot your printer by following the tips outlined here.

If you can’t print your document, are you sure that the printer is turned on, plugged into the wall, full of paper, and connected securely to your computer with a cable?

If so, try plugging the printer into different outlets, turning it on, and seeing whether its power light comes on. If the light stays off, your printer’s power supply is probably blown.

Printers are almost always cheaper to replace than repair. But if you’ve grown fond of your printer, grab an estimate from a repair shop before discarding it.

If the printer’s power light beams brightly, check these things before giving up:

  • Make sure that a sheet of paper hasn’t jammed itself inside the printer somewhere. (A steady pull usually extricates jammed paper; sometimes opening and closing the lid starts things moving again.)

  • Does your inkjet printer still have ink in its cartridges? Does your laser printer have toner? Try printing a test page: Click the Start menu, open the Control Panel, and choose Printers. Right-click your printer’s icon, choose Properties, and click the Print Test Page button to see whether the computer and printer can talk to each other.

  • Try updating the printer’s driver, the little program that helps it talk with Windows. Visit the printer manufacturer’s Web site, download the newest driver for your particular printer model, and run its installation program.