My Printer Won’t Print

| May 3, 2009

We have all endured a printer won’t print issue. Whether it is printing out an important report, or wedding invitations, it always seems the printer stops working in the worst of times. Here are some general steps to get any printer that won’t print to work.

Fix Printer Won’t Print Issues

If the printer won’t print, he first thing to do is to check all physical connections. It is amazing how many people skip this step. From a technician’s point of view, checking physical connections is generally the first step to any problem. Usually with my experience however, printer issues are based on the software level, not the physical level. However, ignoring this step can bring many headaches.

The second step is to reinstall the printer with up-to-date drivers. Typically, manufacturers upload updated drivers on the Internet compared to the software that was included in the purchase of the printer. To reinstall a printer, go to Printers and Faxes in Windows XP. Highlight the printer, and click delete this printer. The Operating System will ask you if you are sure you want to delete the printer, and say yes. At this point, if the printer is USB, unplug the printer from the computer.

On a side note, the general practice is to install USB software before the device is plugged in.

Go online to your printer’s manufacturer’s website, and download the drivers for your printer. Once it is downloaded, run the software. This software installs needed information for your printer to talk to your processor, or essentially your computer in regards to printing. Most driver installation software allows you to print a test page after the installation completes. Go ahead and print a test page!

Printer Won’t Print – Hardware Issue

Now, if your printer still does not print, we can then conclude it is most likely a hardware problem. The physical printer could be bad, or the connecting cable is bad, or the port is bad on the computer. Go ahead and change ports on the computer, to rule out the possibility of a bad port. If that does not work, it is safe to say that it is time to purchase another printer.

Printers can be very irritating. With my experience, it was hard to keep a printer installed on Vista before service pack 1. So make sure if you are running Vista to upgrade to service pack 1 if you have not done so already.

If you follow these quick and easy steps, you can resolve most printer won’t print issues.

Jon Brengle
A+, Network +, MCP Certified

Category: Printers

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Comments (17)

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  1. My xp can print my emails, no problem, however, when I try to print any web site the print just ‘freezes’ when I check the print status it says ‘Spooling’
    Any suggestions.
    Ronnie Smyth

  2. lisa says:

    my printer is going through the motions of printing but no ink is on the paper I just put in a new cartridge what could be the problem?

  3. peach blossom says:

    I ran out of black and colored ink catridges so I went to a store to refilled it and when I got home and I put it in my printer and when I try to print a document it wont print and a dialog box appear saying low on ink and when I click ok it said low on ink (not responding) What should I do? Thank you

    • Dave Dave says:

      I hate to say this, but you should buy a new cartridge. Although you filled it, the printer still recognizes it as being the same empty cartridge that was in there.

  4. Dee says:

    Just put in a new black cartriidge. Color cartridge indicates full, but black shows E (flashing on bottom “orange line”.
    Can’t get it to print What do I try now?

    • You DID remove the tape, right? If so, and you’re still getting the error, check the contacts and confirm they are clean both inside the printer and on the cartridge. Is this a genuine cartridge from the manufacturer or a generic? Some printers do not like generic cartridges.

      • Lois says:

        All my colors except black are printing. Replaced with new black cartridge and still won’t print. What’s next?

        • Dave Dave says:

          You removed the tape on the cartridge, right–have to ask, sorry. If you did and it’s still not printing, check the model and see if it has both a cartridge and a print head–that may also need to be replaced. What model is the printer?

  5. laura says:

    I have a lexmark s305 printer. it wont print anything. the paper feeds through and the print head moves but with no ink reaching the paper. I have run a diagnostic and a realignment and replaced all the ink cartridges with no success. can anyone please help me fix this??

  6. Peter V says:

    My Epson BX300F printer decided this morning to stop printing! Everything looked fine; still had ink; I clean the heads, downloaded latest driver. Zilch.

    Then I remembered that the Ink Monitor is ONLY A GUIDE!!! I changed the two inks (black and magenta) which showed that they had less than a quarter of their capacity left, and hey presto! the printer started printing again!

    I must get used to trying simple solutions before going into the complicated ones! Only took me three hours to sort this one out!!

  7. Anji says:

    my Sony laptop refuses to install ANY printer!!! Please can anyone give me advice?

    • Dave Dave says:

      Hi Anji. What Operating System? Is this Windows 8.1? Please post in our free forums and we’ll be able to help you get this sorted out.

  8. somanath says:

    my hp 1108 printer does not work

    • Dave Dave says:

      Let’s talk about it in our forums. Please register and ask your question. Be as specific as possible and we’ll try to help.

  9. Brian says:

    My Lexmark printer sends paper through and the ink cartridges move across the page but no words print on the paper. The cartridges are new. What should I do?

    • Dave Dave says:

      After you’ve removed the tape from the new cartridges and it still doesn’t print, try running the print head cleaner job built into most Lexmark printer software. Depending on your model you can either initiate the cleaning from the printer itself or through Lexmark software on your computer. If that doesn’t work, try reinstalling the drivers.