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Elevity Technical

Why Won’t My Printer Print? 10 DIY Printer Problem Fixes

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When an office printer doesn’t perform its one job, it’s easy to feel frustrated. And if that faulty device is a multifunction printer (MFP) that also acts as your scanner and copier, you lose precious time and productivity suffers.

It's enough to make you want to throw your printer against the wall and exclaim, “Why won’t my printer print?”

The good news is that many printer problems can be solved with a little DIY know-how. To help, we compiled a list of 10 common printer problems and troubleshooting tips to address them.

  1. Printer is unresponsive
  2. Printer won’t print
  3. Bad print quality
  4. Printer security concerns
  5. My printer won’t scan anymore
  6. Too many paper jams
  7. Prints too slowly
  8. Using too much toner & ink
  9. I can’t print from my mobile device
  10. Wi-Fi printing takes too long

1. Printer is Unresponsive

Before we get too deep into specific common printer problems and solutions, consider the best practices that our Managed Print technicians follow first. Make sure the basics have been checked before trying to solve common printer problems:

  • Is the printer status on?
  • Does it have paper?
  • Are all necessary cables connected?
  • Are all wireless printer connections working properly?
  • Have you checked the printer ink or toner cartridges?

If you’ve answered yes to those questions and still can’t get your printer to print, explore the following solutions.

What is Managed Print Infographic CTA Tall


2. Printer Won’t Print

Are you getting error printing messages on the control panel or simply feel like your print job is stuck in cyberspace? Check that you've selected the correct print settings, preferably before you send numerous unnecessary copies of your document to another device located down the hall. Also check the print queue in your device manager to ensure that someone else’s print job isn’t held up in front of yours.

If your printer driver has two-way communication, you may be warned about an issue before you even go to the printer (only to find nothing waiting for you on the print tray). Luckily, these warnings often tell you what the problem is and will recommend troubleshooting tactics. If all else fails, turn your printer off, wait a few minutes, then restart your printer and software application.


3. Bad Print Quality

It may seem insignificant, but the paper itself makes a major difference in your final print quality. Generally, higher-quality paper will have fewer issues than cheap, generic printer paper. But what’s even more important? Match the printer settings to what you’re printing.

This means more than making sure the correct type of paper is selected; it also means choosing the appropriate print quality settings for your printed pages. Do you want to print on photo paper for a presentation or is it just a copy of an email you plan to file away? If you’re printing high-quality photos on glossy paper, draft-quality and plain-paper settings will not suffice. Furthermore, mixing brands and types of paper within one printer tray can cause further issues.

Another print quality issue is when blank pages are printed. This could be caused by the document setting itself having margins that are too narrow. Or, the printer settings may indicate the use of separator pages. If that’s the case, simply open the printer window on your computer, select “settings,” then “preferences,” and deselect “separator pages.”


4. Printer Security Concerns

Most printer manufacturers come with security features already installed to protect against unauthorized access. However, if certain measures aren’t taken, a hacker could use your printer as a back door to breach your network. The biggest steps you can take to prevent this include changing the default password on your printer and ensuring the latest security updates have been installed.

If you’re unsure how to do that, ask your IT manager or Managed Print Service (MPS) provider to configure your security settings. They’ll ensure you have a digital lockbox and updated security settings. They can even set up confidential printing modes to protect against potential internal threats.

RELATED: How to Protect Your Printers from Hackers


5. My Printer Won't Scan Anymore

When an MFP no longer scans, corrupted scanner software is often the culprit. To get your printer scanning again, reinstall the printing software package. If that’s not successful, read through the user manual's troubleshooting section, or look online at the manufacturer’s website to find your specific printer model. There may be a hardware issue that needs to be repaired or replaced.


6. Too Many Paper Jams

While the obvious paper jam culprit may be foreign objects inside the printer, there are several lesser-known culprits, including an overfilled paper tray or improperly inserted paper. Try fanning the stack of paper to reduce any static and dust, and re-insert the paper while keeping it flush with the guides. When using thicker paper, it’s often better to manually feed each sheet into the printer through a bypass tray.

If you don’t see a paper jam, it may be a “ghost jam” — a mechanical error that occurs when too much lint from paper accumulates on the gears and paper feed mechanism. The printer only “thinks” there’s a jam when there really isn’t. In this case, a good cleaning is in order. Preventative maintenance from a Managed Print Service provider can help eliminate this issue.


7. Prints Too Slowly

Inkjet printers can be notoriously slow with ink drying times, but laser printers can have issues, too. Just as printing in “draft” quality for detailed photos can result in poor print quality, so can printing in “presentation mode” for simple black-and-white text documents.

The lesser the standard for print quality, the faster it will print. Also consider whether your print job is printing in duplex mode (using both sides of the paper). In this case, the printer has to take time to flip each sheet of paper over. If your goal is speed, the simpler the printer settings, the better.


8. Using Too Much Toner & Ink

Before you pay for another set of ink or toner cartridges, consider the following:

  • Can the majority of your documents be printed in “draft” quality?
  • Do you need every page of the document, or maybe just a few?
  • Can you print in black-and-white instead of color?
  • Are your ink cartridges truly made for your device and are they being purchased from a reputable vendor?

Clogged print nozzles and sub-par ink quality are two common complaints associated with lower-priced, third-party ink. Inevitably, you’ll likely have to make more frequent ink orders and won’t save any money in the long run. Making sure all employees adhere to common printing standards can also save money and further your green initiatives.

Improve Your Organization's Green Initiatives


9. I Can't Print from My Mobile Device

Almost every major printer company offers an app that allows you to connect your mobile device with your printer to enable wireless printing. Your wireless printer might not even require Wi-Fi connectivity and, instead, might need a wireless access point that allows you to install the necessary software.

If you’re having trouble printing from a smartphone or other mobile device, check for any app and software updates and make sure they’re compatible with your print device.


10. Wi-Fi Printing Takes Too Long

If your printer speed is fine when connected via USB but wireless printing is painfully slow, your printer is likely an innocent bystander. It’s how the print data is being transferred that’s the guilty party. Try moving the router and printer closer together.

If moving your printer closer to the router isn't possible, make sure your router is well-equipped for Wi-Fi printing with 802.11n support, up-to-date firmware, and that it offers both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Switching to a wired connection, then back to wireless, can sometimes work as well.

Persistent print problems might be a sign that it’s time for a new machine. Use our print audit checklist below to help you assess your printer condition, settings, security, supply and repair costs.

You’ll also want to consult with a business technology expert who can help with your printing concerns and share options. Contact Gordon Flesch Company for a free, no-obligation Managed Print Services needs assessment.


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