How to Fix “Printer is Offline” Error Message in Windows

How to Fix “Printer is Offline” Error Message in Windows

/ James Masterson

Over the years, the technology behind printers has become better and better. From wireless printers to high-speed and high-quality printers, printers have made our lives easier. Although this is the case, it is far from perfect.

Users may still encounter hiccups when using the device. The occasional paper jam might occur here and there, the ink nozzle getting too dried up, and other printer issues may still happen even with the advancements in printer technologies.

One of the most common issues users encounter with their printer is getting the “Printer Offline” message when printing a document. You may be puzzled about why you are getting this error message when you have not changed your printer settings and ask yourself, “how do I get the printer back online?”.

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The good news is, it’s not always a problem with the printer. It could be something as basic as your printer connection not being correctly plugged into the printer or the computer or a simple issue caused by a paper jam or a print queue problem.

On the other hand, if your default printer is showing up as “Offline,” this might be due to a problem with the driver of your printer. This can vary depending on how old your printer is and whether or not you’ve installed any updates in the past few months.

Today, we will discuss the different troubleshooting methods you can perform to get your printer working again. These methods can be used for other brands of printers, and we will also cover how you can fix the default “Printer Offline” issue with Wireless Printers.

How to Fix the “Printer Offline” Issue on Windows

Our troubleshooting methods will start with the basics, such as checking for cable connections between your printer and computer and modifying some settings on your computer. We suggest following our steps and not skipping to the more complicated ones.

You wouldn’t want to spend time tinkering with drivers and software on your computer only to find out there’s just a loose cable on your printer.

First Step – Check the Connections Between Your Computer and Printer

When something goes wrong with your technology, always examine the basics first. Is your printer powered on, and do you have paper in the tray? Is there sufficient toner or ink? Is there anything flashing on status lights on the printer that indicates there is a problem?

Next, look for physical damage to your printer, wires, and ports. Ensure your printer is powered and all cables are securely attached. If you’re using a cable, check it in all of your device’s ports and try a cable one to make sure the cable isn’t the issue.

If you’re using a wireless printer, connect your printer directly to your computer with a cable to verify if it’s working. If that’s the case, the problem could be your network connection.

Second Step – Check on the Status Light on Your Printer

Windows will identify it as “Offline if your printer has an issue.” Checking the printer status light of your printer is a simple way to determine whether or not there is a problem with it. For example, if the wireless printer’s Wi-Fi indicator/internet connection flashes red, then most likely there is very certainly an issue with your wireless network/internet connection.

Additionally, status lights may signal other difficulties, such as a failed firmware update or a jammed cartridge. You can find out more about your printer’s status lights by reading its manual or going to the website of your printer’s manufacturer.

Performing Troubleshooting Steps on Your Computer

Suppose you have already checked on the connections between your computer, printer, and wireless network and they are both in the same Wi-Fi Network but still get the “Printer Offline” issue. In that case, it is now time to perform troubleshooting steps on your computer. We will provide you with detailed instructions and photos to better guide you in our guide.

First Method – Disable the “Use Printer Offline” Option on Your Printer

The quickest and most straightforward method of bringing the printer back online in Windows is to uncheck the “Use Printer Offline” mode option in the Windows settings.

  1. Click on the “Start” button on your taskbar and click “Settings.”
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  1. Click on Devices.
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  1. On the left pane, click on “Printers & Scanners.”
  2. Select your printer and click on “Open Queue.”
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  1. In the next window, click on “Printer” and uncheck the “Use Printer Offline” mode option and wait until your printer goes back online.
  2. If this does not get your printer online again, move on to the following method.

Second Method – Run the Printer Troubleshooter

When you have a problem with your printer, you can use Printer Troubleshooter, which is part of Windows’ troubleshooting package. It can help you fix drivers, connection issues, and a lot more.

  1. Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard and press “R.” This will open a small window where you can type “control update” in the run command window.
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  1. When a new window opens, click “Troubleshoot” and click “Additional Troubleshooters”.
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  1. Next, click “Printer” and then click “Run the Troubleshooter”.
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  1. At this point, the troubleshooter will automatically scan and fix errors related to your printer. Once done, you can reboot and check if you are experiencing the same error.
  2. After the detected issues have been fixed, restart your computer and run the Windows updates to see if the “Printer is Offline” error has been fixed.

Third Method – Update Printer Drivers

Before you can update your printer driver, you will need to download the appropriate driver package for your printer. The correct and updated printer driver must be installed on the computer to ensure the printer works properly. A disc driver comes together with every printer. However, some customers do not have a CD-ROM drive on their computer to use the disc. Follow the steps below if your computer does not have a CD-ROM or the driver disc.

  1. Check for the model number of your printer and the brand. Most printers have their brand and model in the front so it would not be difficult to find it.
  2. Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for the model of your printer

Here is a list of some printer manufacturers:

·         HP – https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/printers

·         Canon – https://ph.canon/en/support/category?range=5

·         Epson – https://global.epson.com/products_and_drivers/

·         Brother – https://support.brother.com/g/b/productsearch.aspx?c=us&lang=en&content=dl

If your printer manufacturer is not on the list, search for it.

  1. Download your printer driver
  1. Follow the instruction on the setup wizard
  1. Restart your computer and check if this got your printer online again.

Fourth Method – Restart the Print Spooler Service

The Print Spooler is an essential Windows service that allows print tasks to be executed and printers discovered on Windows devices. It is possible that your printer can display as “Offline” if the service is not working correctly. Take a look at the Windows Services Manager to see if everything is working as it should.

  1. Open the Run command line by pressing the Windows and R keys at the same time and type in “services.msc” and press “enter” or click “OK”.
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  1. Locate the “Print Spooler”, right-click on it, and select “Restart”.
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  1. The service will be promptly disabled and restarted by the Windows Services Manager. If the “Restart” option is grayed out, it indicates the Printer Spooler was never started in the first place. To start the service, click on “Start”.
  2. Let the service start automatically. Right-click the Print Spooler service, click “Properties”, choose “Automatic” as the “Startup type,” click Apply, and then OK.
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  1. Restart your computer and check if the “Printer Offline” error has already been fixed.

Fifth Method – Uninstall and Reinstall Printer

Occasionally, uninstalling and reinstalling the printer from the computer and starting fresh is the best solution. Follow the procedures below after unplugging or disconnecting your printer from your computer.

  1. Click on the “Start” button on your taskbar and click on “Settings.”
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  1. Click on Devices.
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  1. On the left pane, click on “Printers & Scanners.”
  2. Select your printer, click on “Remove Device” and click “Yes” to confirm the removal.
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  1. Please continue to the following step after restarting your computer, plugging in the printer wire, or connecting it to your network.
  2. In the same Printers & Scanners window, click on the “Add a printer or scanner” option and follow the installation wizard.
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  1. After adding your printer, close out the Printers & Scanners window and check if you got your printer back online.

Sixth Method – Check for Windows Updates

Drivers for the devices installed on your computer are automatically downloaded and installed by Windows as part of the operating system. Installing the most recent Windows Update may help you fix the Offline printer issue.

  1. Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard and press “R” to bring up the run line command and type in “control update,” and press enter.
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  1. Click on “Check for Updates” in the Windows Update window. If there are no updates available, then you should get a message saying, “You’re Up to Date.”
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  1. If the Windows Update Tool finds a new update for your printer drivers, let it get the drivers installed automatically and wait for it to complete. You may be required to restart your computer for the Windows Update tool to install new driver downloads.
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  1. After installing the latest driver for your printer, close Device Manager and restart your computer to ensure that the updates are correctly installed, and check if you have your printer online again.

Final Words

If you are still experiencing the “Printer Offline” issue, we suggest you contact the manufacturer of your printer. Given that you have cleared your print queue, your network and the printer cable connections between your computer and printer are okay.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with keen attention to detail. He focuses on data-driven decisions, making sure that all decisions are backed up by reliable facts. His key interests include enhancing find-ability and usability of our content related to Windows 10; troubleshooting errors; and tech news. James is also enthusiastic about structured data, which he believes will help the world make better sense of their information in the digital age.