10 Most Common Printer Problems And Their Solutions

The paperless office environment is all the rage nowadays. Still, you need to print some documents regularly. Modern printers are also quite smart and fast unlike the sluggish and dumb printers of the 90s and early 2000s. However, a printer is a machine and it can stop working at any time, causing a lot of frustration and problems for you. In this article, we are going to discuss the most common printer problems and how you can resolve them yourself without any hassle.

Troubleshooting Printer Problems

Talking about the printer problems, we will start with the most prevalent of them all.

1.    Printer is Unresponsive

There are many reasons a printer may be unresponsive. Our technicians follow certain best practices to solve this problem. These best practices are as below.

  • Is the printer turned on?
  • Does it have enough paper?
  • Is it connected to your computer?
  • Is the wireless connection working properly in the case of a wireless model?
  • Does the printer have ink or toner cartridges?
  • Do the cartridges have enough ink?

2.    The Printer just Doesn’t Print

Sometimes, the printer will not print without giving any error message. The easiest solution is to restart the printer and most probably it will start printing. But – you must also ensure you have selected the right printer settings. You also need to install all the drivers and software for your printer before pressing the print button. Corrupted drivers are one of the biggest reasons for printer failures. Therefore, download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s page and reinstall them.

The printer should also be connected via Ethernet, USB, or Wi-Fi if it is a wireless model. Similarly, check to be sure that your computer is connected to the right network and the printer. If nothing works, consult the printer’s User Manual or contact tech support.

3.    Frequent Paper Jams

One of the most common printer problems is paper jams. Using the wrong paper is the biggest reason for this nuisance. You may be using paper with the wrong texture or thickness or the quality of the paper is just too low for your printer. Every printer manufacturer specifies the type and quality of paper for all of their printers.

Similarly, loading too many papers in the paper tray will also result in jams. Don’t put more paper in the tray than its dictated capacity. Neatly arrange and align the papers in the tray. Fanning the rim of paper before loading also decreases the chances of jamming.

4.    Wireless Printing is Very Slow

Two main reasons for this problem are too much load on the Wi-Fi network or if the router is placed too far away from the printer. Your Wi-Fi router should be powerful enough to handle multiple devices. Similarly, always keep its firmware up to date. The router should offer 2.4GHz and 5GHz for wireless and wired connections besides supporting up to 802.11 b/g/n. Adding a wireless extender will also improve the printing speed.

5.    The printer cannot Print from Mobile Devices

Printing from mobile devices offers convenience. You can print even if you are away from your office or home. Similarly, you can even print from a tablet or smartphone using old wireless models.

Modern printers are also compatible with apps like Mopria and Airprint that allow you to print from Android and iOS respectively. Just make sure both the printer and the iOS devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.

Some printers even allow you to print from the cloud such as Google Cloud Print. Apps like the Canon Print app or HP Smart app enable you to print from mobile using Canon or HP printers. You can print from a wide variety of printers using third-party apps as well.

Nowadays, two compatible devices can also make a direct Wi-Fi connection using a new technology known as Wi-Fi direct. Unfortunately, iOS still does not support Wi-Fi Direct but Android does.

The bottom line is that you need to install compatible apps for your printer to print from mobile. Otherwise, it will be impossible to print from smartphones or tablets.

6.    Printer Prints only the Half Page

Most USB printers have this problem and it is quite common. What you can do is to turn off and then turn on both the computer and the printer. Now, run a self-test page to check if the problem persists. If you are still getting a half-printed and half-blank page, there could be issues with the toner, roller, drum unit, or printer. The error message you receive clearly explains the problem. Contact tech support or a professional to solve the problem if it does not.

7.    Prints are Missing Some Colors

Most of us wrongly associate this problem with low ink. Yes, it is one of the biggest factors but this problem can occur due to many reasons. For example, a clogged nozzle is the culprit if your cartridges are full of ink. The printer uses a combination of colors such as CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key) or RGB (Red, Green, and Blue). It is the nozzle that delivers these colors and a clogged nozzle will only deliver the wrong colors or won’t deliver anything at all.

The lack of usage can also result in the ink drying up. Try to change the ink if this is the case.

8.    Prints are Very Light

This is another problem related to a clogged print head or a low toner. Similarly, ink can dry down and cartridges can get clogged if you don’t use a printer for a long time. This is especially true for inkjet and ink tank printers.

The easiest solution to this problem is to run the printer’s utility program. Running a program a few times will solve the problem or indicate the error. Issues like fading and streaking are caused by low toners in laser printers and dirty print heads in inkjet printers.

The printer’s utility program in inkjet printers has two cleaning options. The light cleaning option does not waste a lot of ink but clears the problem on most occasions. However, try heavy cleaning if light cleaning doesn’t work.

For low toners in laser printers, the best thing to do is to replace the toner. You can also increase the toner’s life by removing it from the printer and tilting it sideways slowly.

9.    Inkjet Printer Prints Horrendous Photos

Printing on the wrong paper can decrease the quality of photos. It is one of the most common printer problems and can be solved by using the branded paper specified by your printer’s manufacturer. Always select the right paper for photo printing in your software settings. Don’t hesitate to try the highest quality photog setting. Don’t forget to perform print head alignment and nozzle cleaning as well.

Discoloration in the photos may also occur if one color of the ink is running low. You can change the ink tank for that particular color. Replacing old tanks even if they are full is also advisable.

10. You Get a PDF Copy of Your Print

Sometimes, the printer just creates a digital PDF copy of your printer instead of offering a hard copy. The reason for this issue is quite silly and very easy to remove.

It happens due to the existence of virtual printers looking like actual printer to your operating system. For example, there is a “Microsoft Print to PDF” printer in Windows. Sometimes, you may mistakenly send the request to a virtual printer rather than the actual printer.

Open the print view window and double check to ensure you have selected the real printer.

Final Thoughts

We have covered the most common printer problems in our guide. The purpose of this guide is to help you solve these petty issues yourself instead of spending a lot of money on professional help. If you can think of any more problems, let us know in the comments section.

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