Monthly Archives: August 2014

  • Most Common Printer Problems -> How To Fix Them?

    Printers are some of the most essential computer peripherals in home and office environment. They are also some of the most troublesome hardware to handle. Anything from a simple paper jam to a persistent driver issue can give one a really hard time. We have listed below some of the most common printer issues that one might have to deal with and solutions that can save you time and several calls to the technical support. We are just going to stick with issues that one might face with their printer hardware and settings, if you are looking for some of the common print design mistakes, that's whole another story. Some of the most common printer problems that make consumers fume with rage are bad output quality, slow operation, ink depleting fast, driver issues, paper jam, etc.

    Woman with printer issues

    Takes forever to print

    There are multiple reasons for a printer to print really slow. One of the most common reasons is higher print resolution. Pictures and files with a lot of graphics might take a long time to print. One can switch the print mode to Draft or Standard to speed up the machine. If you are printing something from a browser, ensure that you are printing printer friendly format to avoid all the useless text and graphics that will suck up ink and your time. There are also several online services like PrintFriendly that can help you convert any web page in to a print-friendly format.

    If in case you are required to print some high-resolution documents and images and don't want to trade quality for speed, you need to check if your printer has the provision to add more memory. Printers have temporary memory that can hold files that are sent to them from the computer. If this memory small, the printer might operate slow. However, there are many printers which can accept additional memory modules, similar to how adding more RAM increases the performance of a computer.
    One more possibility for slow printing is maybe your printer is a tortoise. Some printers are fast and some are slow. Laser printers are usually faster when compared to ink jets and have exceptional print speeds.

    Bad print quality

    If you have brand new ink cartridges or cartridges that still have ink and the text and images are blurry, the first thing to do is clean the printer head. Most of the proprietary software that comes with the printer for Windows, have the option to easily maintain the printer without having to open up the printer. One can perform maintenance tasks like, nozzle checks and printer head cleaning right from the software. This will help get rid of any dried residue of the ink, and accumulated dirt. It is also a good practice to perform these maintenance operations often to avoid issues. It is also advised to use genuine cartridges and toners for best reproduction of text and image on the digital dispaly. Also check the print settings – it really doesn't matter if you are using an inkjet or a laser machine. Using the right paper type and print mode can also help improve the quality if there is nothing wrong with the cartridge.

    It won't Print

    Your printer is not printing and and you have absolutely no clue why it is not. The first thing to check is, if there are any error messages on the printer console. Sometimes the printer will tell you what the issue likely is, most of the time it won't and you will have to wallow in obscurity. However, doing all the basic diagnosis could help narrow down to the actual cause of the problem. If you printer is connected to your computer using a cable, ensure that the printer and your computer are still tethered, sometimes the sucker would just disconnect if under tension. If you are using a wireless printer, you should check the device is connected to the right network.

    Sometimes the printer driver might get corrupt and might not work. If the printer and the computer are tethered, you should probably check if the drivers are alright. In Windows you need to if there is any error in “Device Manager” – in Mac and Linux, you should probably configure the printer again with CUPS utility. Most of the not printing issues are related to drivers and reinstalling will fix the issue, if you are lucky. It is also a wise thing to download the latest version of the driver from the manufacturer's website rather than using the installation disc that came with the printer. If none of this works, you will have to get in touch with the tech support or try to get help from the self-help documentations or community on the internet. You might as well give Google Cloud Printing a try before calling tech support, which helps by-pass any driver issues and lets your print from any device quite easily.

    Paper Jam

    Paper jams are some of the annoying printer errors because they are mostly false alarm – you open up the machine and you see no paper jammed inside. Sometimes, you will find paper jammed inside the printer. Different printer models have a different way to fix the issue. Do check the printer user guide or support website to safely get rid of the paper without causing any damage to the printer. However, if you own a newer model, you might not face frequent paper jams.

    If paper jams happens too often, you will have to thoroughly check the feed mechanism for small pieces struck somewhere. If you could see the bit and find it hard to reach, don't rock the machine and something like a tweezer to remove it. Some printers also come with an access panel underneath to help solve such issues with ease.

    There are also some practices that you could follow to reduce paper jams. One of the most common causes of paper jams is misalignment of paper. Before installing the stack of paper in the tray, make sure your square off the stack on a hard and flat surface. Also make sure that you do not fill the tray to the brim, over filling might also make paper jams imminent.

    It's Blank

    Every time you print a document, the paper is coming out all blank. There could be something wrong with the ink cartridge. Try removing and reinstalling the cartridge. If you seldom print, the ink in the cartridge might have dried up. Shake it well. Before reinstalling the cartridge, try cleaning the head with alcohol cloth.
    If the printed sheets are still blank, try printing a test page not from the computer, but right from the printer. If the test page comes out good, you can ascertain that there is no issue with the cartridge or toner and might be something wrong with the printer driver or the printer is not receiving the files properly from the computer.

    Print Spooler Errors

    If you are on Microsoft Windows, sometimes there might be something wrong with the print spooler. A print spooler in Windows is a software package that will store print jobs in the RAM or the HDD to be sent to the printer. In some cases, the documents might get locked up in the memory for a long time. Windows will let you know if there is something wrong with the spooler. Simply restarting the spooler might fix most software related issues in a Windows machine. Knowing how to restart the spooler, although is simple might give you major geek points.


    Open the Control Panel and then click on System Maintenance and then click on Administrative Tools. Now open “Services”, the UAC might kick in and ask for permission. Grant permission and you will see a list of services. Spot the “Print Spooler” and check it's properties. If the service is not running, start it or restart it if it is already running.

    Printer ink runs out too quick

    Some printers will decide when to stop printing automatically. In some cases, the printer decides that the cartridge is almost depleted even when there is enough ink by mistake. Although it is not suggested by the printer manufacturer, there are certain hacks that you can find on the internet for the printer to use every last drop of the precious liquid in the container. Do not use cheap and low-quality third-party cartridges and toners. You can however, buy recycled/remanufactured ink that are low-cost and also help reduce printer related waste.



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