Steps To Fix A Printer That Won’t Print

If your printer will not print, there are several troubleshooting tips you can try to resolve the issue. 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 A Printer

  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

Network Printer Will Not Print

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.

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.

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 your HP printer will not print and you have followed the above directions, join our free forums and ask your question there or read our other printer troubleshooting articles.


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