HP Printer Problems

| January 3, 2011 | 22 Comments

You can fix problems with your HP printer if you follow a few steps and pay close attention to printer diagnostic lights and Windows error messages in your task manager. If you have installed the printer using the CD that came with it, you should have all of the maintenance software.

You may need to download the latest printer drivers if you find the printer is not functioning properly. Follow the suggestions below to troubleshoot an HP printer and fix printing problems in Windows 7.

HP Printer Will Not Print

There could be several reason why your printer will not print. One possible reason could be the print spooler service is stopped. To check the printer spooler, do the following:

  • Go to Start>Control Panel>System and Security>Administrative Tools.
  • Double-click Services
  • Right-click Printer Spooler, then select Properties.
  • Make sure the print spooler is set to Automatically start and that it is currently started. You can toggle it off, then back on–this will sometimes fix problems with the spooler.

printer spooler in wIndows 7

You should also clear your printing queue. A queue can become jammed with a single print job that blocks everything else behind it.

cancel HP print job

To clear the print queue in Windows 7 go to Start, then click Devices and Printers. Click on your printer and if there are jobs stuck in the queue, click the Printer menu and then click Cancel all documents. If there are still jobs in the queue, restart the computer and try printing again.

HP Printer Diagnostic Lights

Newer printer will have diagnostic lights. These will use a combination of the power button and other LEDs to flash or blink in different patterns to help you troubleshoot the printer error. Below are a few common diagnostic lights and the problems associated with them:

Slowly Blinking Power Button - If your HP printer has a slowly blinking power button, this means it is in the process of printing a job or doing some type of maintenance, such as aligning the print cartridges.

Power Button Fades On And Off -If the power button fades on and off very slowly, this simply means the printer is in sleep mode. Press the power button to wake the printer up.

Power Button And  Cartridge Lights Flashing – This means there is a severe jam in the carriage area and it needs to be cleared before printing can resume. Power down and unplug the printer, unplug the USB cable and open the printer to reveal the print cartridges. Once the power is off, the cartridges should move freely. If you do not see any obstructions here. Turn the printer around and open the access panel at the back to see if there is paper jammed there. Note: Some printers will have an access panel at the bottom.

If you do not see any paper, try removing and replacing the printer cartridges.

Cartridge Lights Are On – This could either mean you are not using genuine HP print cartridges or your cartridges are low on ink.

Cartridge Lights Are Blinking Slowly – If either the black or the color cartridge lights are blinking, this could either mean the cartridge is missing or the tape on the new cartridge has not been removed before installation.

WiFi Light Is Blinking – If your WiFi light is blinking, this means the printer is searching for a wireless signal.

All Printer Lights Blinking Rapidly – There is a fatal error with the printer. Try powering off the printer. If that doesn’t work, try unplugging the printer.

If none of these solutions work, be sure to visit the HP website and look-up your printer. There should be troubleshooting guides specific to your model. Software issues can usually be fixed by completely uninstalling and removing all references to the printer, and then reinstalling using the current software and drivers from the HP website. Hardware issues may require a trip to the repair shop or a replacement of the printer itself.

Category: Printers

Dave

About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (22)

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  1. Dean Daniels says:

    I have been using HP deskjet printers for 15 years. Now my elderly 895Cse is giving me trouble. The color cartridge will print but the black (HP-45) poops out after printing as few as 15 or 20 pages in draft mode. My ink cartridge supplier tells me that the printing mechanism is wearing out and is contaminating the contact points of the black cartridge. The contaminated (?) HP-45 will not work on my cartridge compatible HP-952C printer either. The supposedly printed pages are completely blank. I haven’t gotten any help from HP technical service. Have you heard of other users having this problem?

    • I suppose it’s possible. These printers really are not meant to last very long. If the cartridge is not working on the second printer after being in the first, then its possible the printer is doing something to it. It’s the printer can get a lot of info from those contact points, and if they’re damaged, they may not read or print properly.

  2. Dean Daniels says:

    Thanks for the input David.

  3. Geraldine Brown says:

    Hi
    We have a HP Deskjet 4350 dtn and we’ve installed a genuine HP cartridge and the display is now stuck on “Genuine HP Cartridge installed” – and not doing anything else. The power and data light are on too (not flashing). Any ideas?? Thanks

  4. Amber Barrera says:

    The message came up that my yellow cartridge was empty. After replacing it twice and also replacing all of the cartridges. I am still getting the error. I have unplugged it, turned it off and let it sit for a while as well. I have cleaned the printhead as well and nothing. Any ideas?

  5. rich says:

    my hp c5280 wont delete a printing. i have hit cance, then tried “restart”.
    it is stuck. I have hit task manager and then started over with no luck
    can anyone help ?

  6. ron says:

    dave,

    on my hp psc-1410v printer:
    I cannot print color at all from computer.

    However if I press “start color copy” at the console,it wil print a color picture from the glass as a copy.
    Both cartridges are new

    • Dave Dave says:

      If you right-click the printer and go into the settings, you can actually set the printer to grayscale (b/w). Check that to make sure the printer is not configured to print that way by default. Also, try printing from a different program to see of the program you are using is set to print as a b/w by default. Good luck.

  7. Tim says:

    I’m running an HP Officejet 7000 large format on a Mac. Works fine most of the time, but right now it refuses to print from the black cartridge. the CMY print fine, but no K. The cartridge is new and the indicator lights (not on) say it is full. This problem seems to come and go, but right now it won’t print the black. Disturbing to say the least. Where the black should be is is sort of a gray color – which is the combination of the CMY colors. That is another disturbing part about an inkjet color printer. When the black does print, the other colors are used up at the same time. Any suggestions as to why the black doesn’t print?

    TD

    • Dave Dave says:

      Not sure. I would check the settings in software to make sure they are correct. Also, try printing a test page and see if that prints in black. If you’re printing just black text, the colors should not be used at all. If they are, there is a problem. Have you tried downloading new drivers from HP? You can try uninstalling and then reinstalling using the new drivers and see if that helps. Good luck.

  8. Luis says:

    I have an HP Photosmart C5280. To replace ink cartridges you are supposed to have your printer on, and then open the printer. Doing this releases the cartrdges for replacement. When I open ther printer while on, the printer will not release the cartridges. How can I fix this?

  9. Dawn says:

    Thank you so much for the spooler check option (clicking stop/start). Quite simple and totally effective.

  10. Princess says:

    I have the same problem, and then it says “Document unable to print due to error in the printer system.” Why?

  11. Fawad says:

    HP Office Jet 7000.
    Power= On
    Cartridge light = Blinking one after the other.

    Downloaded the diagnostic utility, it recognizes the level of inks but never prints as the lights keeps flashing.
    To me, there is no communication problem but could this be a Printer Head problem? or is there any such thing as printer head problem?

  12. Gary Spaeth says:

    I cannot print from my laptop either wireless or wired. If I hook the printer to my desktop there are no problems printing. I can print a test page from the HP Solution Center, and my scanner works when working from the laptop. If I try to print anything else nothing happens: The print queue is always empty and as far as I can tell is not clogged up by a document that will not print – even though I have sent dozens of print jobs over the past several months. I have gone this long without solving the issue that I can’t print from this laptop. I have reinstalled from CD the printer software. Nothing I have tried helps and the problem has remained the same all of this time.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Gary, remove all of the HP drivers–either from the Add Remove Programs area or manually delete the HP folder. Unplug the USB. Find the NEW drivers online and install them. Plug the USB cable in when the HP setup asks. The key is to remove any traces of the old files. If that doesn’t help, swap out the USB cable.

  13. Gary Spaeth says:

    Removal and reinstallation didn’t solve it. I did it first from my installation CD and then with the online version, which looked like it was from 2010.

    The USB cable works fine with my desktop. Additionally, I had my laptop setup on a homegroup and was unable to print wirelessly as well.

    When I hit print it is as if I didn’t do anything. There is no error message; it doesn’t spool so that I can find all of the print jobs in queue. When I removed the driver it did indicate that there were unprinted files, which I knew had to be there but it was not obvious to me in any way.

    Is there anything else I can try?

  14. Luke Hurley says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for your helpful site.

    I’ve had an HP 1410 for the past five years which has caused me no trouble until now.
    I’m getting the message ‘connecting to printer’ when trying to print off a document (Word usually). The driver appears in the printer choices and shows up as ‘ready’ before I click on it. I’ve downloaded the latest driver but it hasn’t solved it.

    • Dave Dave says:

      I would completely uninstall the printer. First check the Programs section of the control panel and remove it from there, and then look under the C drive > Programs for an HP folder and remove that as well. I would then unplug the USB cable, reinstall the latest drivers and then plug the USB cable back in. You should see it detect the printer as soon as you plug it in. If all goes well, it will install the driver and then print normally.

  15. Luke Hurley says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve had an HP PSC 1410 for the past 5 years with no trouble until now.
    I’ve noticed that I get a ‘connecting to printer’ message every time I try to print a document. In the printer selection menu it shows the HP 1410 as ‘ready’, so it doesn’t seem to be a problem with the usb connection.
    I’ve installed the latest driver from HP but I still get the same message.

    Thanks for your helpful site.

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