You’ve just finished a report for class tomorrow, or you’re getting ready to head out the door to a client meeting and need some handouts. You click print and dutifully wait by your printer, but nothing comes out. You glance at your computer and see it says the Printer is Offline.
Don’t fret, by following our simple step by step guide you’ll be able to get your papers printed and head out the door in no time.
Fix 1: Check the Power Switch and Cables
It’s essential to check the basics on your printer before getting started on additional fixes.
Check to see if your printer has power. Look for a power light and that the screen lights up if it has one. If there is no power, look for a power switch. Some printers have a toggle power switch near the power plug.
Ensure your printer is plugged into power. Check that the power cord is plugged into the wall and the printer all the way. If it is plugged into a power strip, ensure that the strip is turned on.
Check that the printer’s data cable is plugged into the printer and computer. Most printers will use a USB cable to connect to the computer. Some newer printers may connect wirelessly.
Fix 2: Use an Automatic Repair Tool (Restoro)
Automated tools can quickly find the underlying software cause of many common printing problems. We recommend Restro to solve your printer problem automatically.
Download the Automatic Repair Tool (Restoro) for free.
Open the installer Restroro.exe by double-clicking it.
Accept the license terms and start the install. After installing, Restoro will start a scan automatically.
Click Start Repair to resolve the found issues with your PC.
Fix 3: Print a Test Page
Printing a standard test page will help you determine if your printer is having a problem or if the program you are using is causing an issue.
Open your start menu and go to the settings (Gear Icon).
In the Windows settings menu, click Devices then Printers & scanners. Select your printer.
Click Print a test page.
If a page is printed, there is nothing wrong with your printer or computer connection, try the automated tool in Fix 2 or try printing from another program.
If nothing comes out of your printer or it is garbled, move on to the next fix.
Fix 4: Uncheck Use Printer Offline
You should still be on your printer status page; if not, check Fix 3.
Click Open print queue.
Click Printer then uncheck the option Use Printer Offline.
Fix 5: Cancel all Documents
Sometimes a stuck or bad print job can stop your printer from working. You should be in your print queue, if not follow the steps in Fix 3 and Fix 4.
Click Printer and Cancel All Documents.
Try printing a test page in Fix #3 again.
Fix 6: Reboot Computer
Turning the computer off can clear out small issues that may stop you from printing.
Click the Start icon, the power icon, then Restart.
Log back into your computer and try printing again.
Fix 7: Check Correct Port
Get to your printer options by following the steps in Fix 3.
Click Printer properties.
Click the Ports tab. Ensure that the correct port is checked. In this case, the printer is connected by USB, so this is correct. Yours may require a different port, depending on how it is attached. Consult the documentation that came with your printer.
Fix 8: Let Windows manage my default printer
This feature introduced in Windows 10 can sometimes cause your computer to try and use the wrong printer.
Get to the Printers and scanners menu by following the steps in Fix 3.
Uncheck the box Let Windows manage my default printer.
Fix 9: Restart the Spooler Service
The Spooler service is responsible for taking what the program tries to print and sends it to the printer.
In the windows search bar type “services.” The Services App should be the top result. Click Run as administrator.
Scroll down to the Print Spooler, click the restart icon (green arrow) to restart the service. Wait for the process to complete.
Fix 10: Install Latest Drivers
Your printer’s manufacturer may have released new drivers or software needed to use your printer. It is usually better to go directly to the manufacturer.
Go to your printer’s manufacturer website.
Find their driver and software page.
Enter your printer’s model number.
Download and install the recommended drivers and software for your printer.
Fix 11: Remove all driver software
Sometimes a clean slate can get a problematic printer working again.
Go to your Windows Settings then Apps.
Find your printer software and click Uninstall.
It’s recommended to restart the computer (Fix 6) and then reinstall the drivers (Fix 10) after uninstalling.
Printers that connect to a network instead of directly to the computer can particularly cause issues. Follow the below steps to help with these problematic printers.
Fix 12: Ensure Printer is Connected to the Network and Wi-Fi
Consult your printer manufacturer’s documentation for how it connects to the network.
If your printer is attached by a network cable, check that bother ends are puled in firmly. Look at where the network plugs into your printer, often there will be a green and an amber light to show network activity.
If your printer uses Wi-Fi to connect, check that it has joined the Wi-Fi correctly. Most of these printers will have a wireless indicator light or has a screen that can be used to check the wireless configuration. Check if your Wi-Fi network name or password has changed. You may be able to log into your router to check that it can be seen there.
Fix 13: Reboot the Router
Rebooting a router can resolve small issues that may be stopping your printer from connecting to the computer.
Locate your network router and unplug it from wall power for 30 seconds.
After plugging in your router, wait for it to initialize and for your devices to reconnect. You may need to check the network status on your printer again.
Fix 14: Print Information Page from Printer
Most models of network-attached printers can print a status page listing its network information. Consult your printer’s manufacturer’s documentation. Often this will be in a status or networking menu. These pages will usually list the network name, status, and the printer’s IP address.
Fix 15: Reset Printer Networking
Resetting the printer network may resolve misconfiguration or problems with saved out of date information. Some printers may allow you to only reset all the saved network information; other printers may require resetting them to factory settings. Consult your printer’s manufacturer’s documentation.
Fix 16: Ping Printer from Computer
Find your printer’s IP address. This can be found on the network information page printed in Fix 14. It may also be in the printer’s menu and your router’s connected devices page. An IP address will always be four numbers separated by periods.
Use the Windows search to find the Command Prompt. Click to open it.
In the black windows that comes up, type “ping” and a space followed by the IP address of your printer.
If the result is “Reply from…” then your computer can talk to your printer over the network. If the reply is “Request timed out.” then your computer cannot talk to your printer through the network.
Fix 17: Disable network isolation on router
Some routers are configured to stop devices on your network from being able to talk to each other. It is common for there to be a setting to stop wired network devices from communicating with wireless devices. Consult your wireless router manufacturer’s documentation on how to disable this, the picture below is an example from an ASUS router.
If you’ve followed our guide and your printer is still offline, it may be that there is a hardware fault. Try plugging your printer into other USB ports on your computer or using different cables. You may need to contact your printer manufacturer and request to exchange your printer.