Ultimate Guide To Fix Common Printer Problems

fix common printer problems

If your printer will not print, there are several troubleshooting tips you can try to fix common printing issues. Since there are so many reasons why this might happen, run through the following options until you find a resolution that matches your problem. It’s often faster and easier to simply uninstall the printer and install it again. If you have a USB printer and a modern Windows Operating System, usually all you will need to do is plug in the USB cable and the printer will automatically install. In most cases, however, you will need to install the model-specific drivers for your printer.

Steps To Fix Common Printer Problems

  1. Reboot all devices
  2. If rebooting the computer and printer fails, unplug the printer’s USB cable.
  3. Plug the USB cable into a different port and see if it is re-discovered.
  4. If the printer is seen but doesn’t install properly, unplug it again.
  5. Visit the printer manufacturer’s website and download the driver software and install it.
  6. Plug the USB cable back in.

HP printer will not print

Fix Common Network Printer Prblems

If this printer is a network printer, you should first try using the ping command to test your connection to the device. For instance, if the IP address of the printer is, you would go to Start>Run and type cmd and hit enter. At the prompt, you would type ping and hit enter. If you do not get a response, you can try turning off the printer, wait a few minutes, then turn it back on. if the printer is connected to the switch or a hum, you might try unplugging the hub and plug it back in. it’s not uncommon for a network device to go stupid for no reason. If you still cannot ping the printer, toggle through the settings to confirm the printer’s network settings are correct.

Tip: Set the IP address above the routers DHCP range. You set the DHCP range in the router’s configuration. The range are the IP addresses the router will dynamically use. For instance, if you only have a maximum of 20 networked devices in your home, you might set the DHCP rage from to You can then set your printer’s static IP address to Additionally, you can set any other networked printers on the network to the to range so you always know where to find your printers on the network.

Note: If your printer appears offline, there are other network issues that might cause this: A computer could be sending large files to the printer (like PDFs or images) and the printer cannot buffer them. Or a computer is attempting to send a print job to a computer that can’t handle the paper size.

Local Printer Will Not Print

If your printer will not print and it is physically attached to your PC, try unplugging the cable and plug it back in. USB devices will show when they are connected or disconnected down by the system clock in the lower right hand corner. If you do not see it being recognized as you plug it back in, you probably have a driver issue and will need to completely uninstall the printer and any software associated with it. You should look for a newer printer driver on the manufacturer’s website.

If the printer is recognized when you plug in the USB cable, open the printer options in Windows and see if your printer has jobs stuck in the queue. If there are stuck jobs, remove them all. You can sometimes clear the jobs at the printer, as well. You may need to hit Cancel Job several times until all of the print jobs are canceled.

Make sure the printer is “online.” Some printers will have a button to take it offline. The printer status will usually be shown in the printer’s display as well as within Windows.

Clear Print Jobs From The Queue

To open the queue, go to Start>Settings>Printers or just look in the control panel for the printer icon. Double-click on your printer and it will open the active jobs. If there are more than one in the queue, you can normally get away with deleting the top job, as that is holding the rest of them up.

Error Spooler Subsystem App Has Encountered A Problem And Needs To Close

Fix common printer errors that may frequently occur if you are getting pop-ups. If you start up your computer and receive the error “Spooler subsystem app has encountered a problem and needs to close,” it’s likely you have a problem with your printer driver or service conflicting with a newly installed printer. If you receive this error, you can take steps to resolve it by removing any trace of previous printers and their services. When you remove a printer from the Printers section of Windows, it may not remove services installed along with that printer during the installation process.

Remove Printer Services in Windows

To shut down services that might be causing you to get the spooler errors, click the Start button, then right-click My Computer and select Manage. Under Services and Applications, scroll down until you find something that resembles your old printer. For instance, if you had a Lexmark printer installed, you might see the LexBce Server service running. To shut this service down, right-click the service and select Properties. Under the Startup type, choose Disabled. Under Service status, choose Stop and then click OK.

Spooler Subsystem App Has Encountered A Problem And Needs To Close

You can now try restarting your Print Spooler Service. Locate the Print Spooler service from the same area, right-click it and select Properties. Under Startup type, choose Automatic. Under Service status, select Start.

start print spooler

You should no longer see the error Spooler Subsystem App Has Encountered A Problem And Needs To Close when you restart the computer or try to install a new printer.

cancel print job

Fix Common Print Quality Issues

Printer quality problems can be caused by a number of things, ranging from dirty heads, low toner or even cheap paper. Determining the cause of the problem is the first step. Learning how to fix print quality problems is the second step. Most quality issues can be quickly resolved by running any maintenance tasks in the printer’s menu options. The maintenance option will typically clean and re-align print heads and this is often enough to resolve the problem. But if you are experiencing different issues, like malformed characters or gray backgrounds, you may need to service your printer or adjust the settings in software.

Light or faded print – This can usually be fixed by replacing the cartridge, or if this is a laser printer, you can remove the toner and shake it. This re-distributes the toner and allows you to resume normal printing until the cartridge can be replaced.

Toner Specks on the paper – This problem is often caused by spilled toner. Open the printer, carefully remove the cartridge, and give it a few bursts of compressed air. Often running several pages or type through will also fix this. If it persists, replace the toner cartridge.

Streaks or lines – Streaking can be resolved by either cleaning the inside of the printer or by replacing the cartridge.

Crooked type– Check to make sure your guides are set properly and that all rollers and other driving mechanisms are functioning properly. Also, check to make sure the correct paper stock is being used.

printer quality problemsWrinkles in paper – This can be caused by high humidity. You can also try flipping the stock over and see if that helps.

Other printer quality problems problems can be corrected through the printer settings. In Windows right-click the printer and choose printing Preferences. From here, you will be able to specify the quality (DPI) or orientation and scale of the print jobs. Incorrect settings here can override the printer’s hardware settings. So if one computer can print without a problem while another is having issues, then a software setting is probably the reason.

Service Printer To Fix Printer Quality Problems

While you can fix common printer quality problems using the above techniques, some printers will need to get serviced based on the issue. if you have a problem with a gear or roller, you can order parts, but replacing those parts is often a complicated task. If this is the case, you need to weigh the cost of repair versus the cost of replacement. Older printers become too expensive to fix and maintain, and as technology improves laser printers are getting less expensive and replacing sub-standard ink jet models.

Printer Only Prints Gibberish

Another printing problem is if your jobs come out in gibberish–which is usually ASCII characters consisting on shapes and symbols instead of text, then you need to make sure the printer is setup to print postscript. Unless otherwise set, high-end laser printers will have their personality set to AUTO, which means it has the capability to switch between postscript and non-postscript mode. It is also possible to install a driver that is not postscript, so if you problems occur when you first install it, look for a different driver that specifies PS.

If you are still troubleshooting printer problems, try completely uninstalling the printer within Microsoft Windows. Go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver, then reinstall the printer using the latest driver and test again. Chances are, the driver has not been updated, but it might have been updated since your printer shipped and the problem you are experiencing might have been corrected in the update.

Printer Jams Frequently

You can fix common printer issues, such as paper jams, by narrowing down the source of the problem. Paper jams can occur if you’ve had jams in the past and have a piece of debris still stuck in the printer. Use a flashlight to examine the entire mechanism to ensure no paper is still inside. This can also happen if an internal gear is damaged. You will often notice one side being fed faster than the other. Unfortunately, home printers are not made to be serviced and are commonly cheaper to replace than have professionally serviced.

If you need more help troubleshooting printer problems, check out our other printer articles. We tackle issues with devices like this on our tech forum. Join our free tech community today to get help with your computer issues.

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